If the Gartner Group is correct, and we are looking at a workplace that is more dynamic, more disconnected, more virtual, and involves us working with many more people that we are not very familiar with, are you prepared? Do you know how to work with a team that might come together in a short period of time and disband a few months later? Do you know which people in your company you like working with, and perhaps more importantly, which ones you don’t?
The idea of swarming teams that come together for projects and then disbanding them is one of Gartner’s predictions for the workplace over the next decade. I met someone recently who works at a company that is trying some of these techniques. People are working in virtual teams, and it seems to be working well.
Some time ago I was giving a talk on the Modern Resume, and someone asked me what they should do on LinkedIn or any social networking site. This person had signed up and didn’t know what to do after that. My response was to start networking with people, which is a hard thing for many people. I had to go back and spend some time thinking about what networking really is, reading a little about the topic, and coming up with a list of things that you can do to build your network online.
I think social networking is an interesting skill that might become more valuable as we interact with an ever increasing number of people in a virtual sense. Whether your company decides to implement swarms and virtual teams, there are plenty of opportunities to meet other professionals in your field outside of work, and many of these opportunities are over social networks like LinkedIn or Twitter.