Frequently Asked Questions

 

FAQ

Overview

What is V-Teamwork?

Developed over the last eight years by Phillip Crockford and his team, V-Teamwork Core Skills is an intensive game-based learning program that coaches high performers to level up their leadership and teaming skills.

V-Teamwork builds competency in the skills that are essential for leading, managing and participating in effective business teams. It develops your ability to drive change and deliver outcomes by cultivating the soft skills and dispositions that you need to accelerate your career: the advanced social-emotional skills for connecting with, learning with, coordinating action with and building trust with other leaders and teams in fast-moving business environments.

Delivered virtually, it is specifically designed for busy leaders who already have a full calendar and workload. Our unique and revolutionary approach uses immersive online environments to create the combination of challenge and psychological safety needed for accelerated development of leadership and innovation. It works whether your collaborators are in the next room or halfway around the globe.

After onboarding and meeting your team, you go through two four-week intensive learning blocks. Each week you work in your small team of 4-6 other high performers with our trained professional coaches, using tools like Zoom and Discord. Between weekly team game sessions you put your skills into action to produce real-world outcomes at work. You and your teammates benefit from mutual support, encouragement and focused feedback, every step of the way.

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How do I apply to V-Teamwork?

Please find the application form here.

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What is the schedule like?

V-Teamwork is for busy people: it’s the most time and cost-effective way to develop dispositions for leading and teaming. Most weeks, the coursework is 1½ - 2 hours of your own time plus 2 hours with your team and coach. You can then put your learning into practice on the job for 10-15 hours each week as you engage in your everyday workplace conversations.

Phase 0 / onboarding: (1-3 weeks) begins after your acceptance into the program. You prepare your technology and have your initial interview. Allow 3-5 hours total for this work.

Phase 1 launches when you meet your team and start planning, scheduling and coordinating together for two weeks.

Phases 2 – 9: you and your teammates settle into this rhythm for eight weeks:

  • In the day or two before your team session, you prepare by downloading and reading through your learning brief and your assignment brief. This may include short videos and there is extended reading available. Allow 1 - 1½ hours to prepare thoroughly so you arrive in your team session ready to give and get maximum value.
  • The scheduled activity is a two-hour team session each week. You meet online and engage fully with your coach and teammates, approximately:
    • 15 minutes sharing: what you’ve been noticing, experimenting, practicing and accomplishing at work over the previous week
    • 75 minutes in the game-based simulation: receiving coaching and feedback as you do project work with your team of four or five (everyone gets a turn at leading); and
    • 30 minutes team debrief: reflecting on what you noticed and learned together, and committing to specific action at work in the week ahead.
  • The rest of the week you put into practice what you’ve learned in your team assignment session. In a 20-day work month, most people average around three meetings per day, so counting your one-to-ones and group meetings, each week you are likely to have 10-20 hours of opportunity to build your conversational competency and improve your outcomes at work. In this timeframe you also post a 15-30 minute written reflection between sessions, and support your teammates by reading and commenting on their posted reflections.

Around the mid-point of the program, between phases 5 and 6, there’s a one-week break when you have an additional one-to-one with your coach to assess your progress and fine-tune your goals.

Phase 10 is where you reflect together on what you’ve accomplished and design your ongoing learning. We recommend you join our community of practice: continue your experiential learning at a relaxed pace with your teammates and other like-minded leaders in the Teaming Dojo, our flexible program for graduates.

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What’s the curriculum like?

Leading and teaming in the digital economy requires more than technical know-how and the ability to get along with people. It’s as much about developing our dispositions for learning, building trust, managing mood, coordinating commitments and solving problems together as it is about technical brilliance or individual charisma.

Our 21st Century  world of accelerating change and disruption has two features of strategic importance to any successful career.  They are ‘hidden in plain sight’ and depend on thriving workplace relationships

  • The  value added by individuals entails collaboration in networks of relationships
  • Collaboration involves learning together as we coordinate our actions.

To develop relational skills we need a deeper kind of learning: dispositional learning. It requires motivation, a great deal of recurrent practice, feedback and self-reflection.

That’s why V-Teamwork is entirely practice-based. It’s designed to cultivate your skills and dispositions for successful interaction: at first in the weekly team session, then in your workplace, where every conversation becomes your training ground and an opportunity to progress your projects and make your relationships flourish.

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What are the dispositions and skills developed in the program?

Dispositions and sensibilities we focus on

  • Listening with understanding and empathy
  • Thinking about our thinking (metacognition)
  • Interdependent thinking to solve problems creatively with others
  • Emotional awareness: aware of our own and others feelings.

Skills and practices we cultivate:

  • Observing oneself in action – two things not one. You need to be in action and you need to cultivate the capacity to observe yourself and reflect on your action.
  • Coordinating commitments. Speaking and listening to a shared narrative of value; and making effective requests, valuable offers and reliable promises that will produce a shared future. This is the heart of coordinating productively with others.
  • Building and repairing trust by managing commitments accountably over time. The ability to be accountable and to be able to hold others accountable is always at the top of individual and organisational wish lists.
  • Raising morale by producing individual and organisational moods for success. More and more research is uncovering the importance of moods in the workplace and yet it is largely ignored by management and only usually noticed by exception.
  • Connecting, blending and moving well with the physical energy that others bring to the team. This is a huge challenge, particularly in geographically distributed teams where we cannot usually see those other bodies.
  • Giving and seeking opinions and assessing performance. Being able to do this in the moment in ways that open up productive futures with others is a characteristic of many high performing individuals.
  • Actively cultivating respect for diversity. When we face differences in culture, gender, language, generation or geographical location, we can cultivate respect by developing the capacity to observe our own history and how it interacts with the histories of others.

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Applying

What can I expect?

V-Teamwork Core Skills is different from any other type of online or face-to-face learning that you are likely to have encountered. It’s not about knowledge acquisition, there are no multiple choice questions, webinars, case studies, capstone projects or research.

Instead, V-Teamwork is action-based group learning. You learn by doing projects with a team and a skilled professional coach in an immersive virtual environment, where you are free to learn from mistakes as well as from success.

Your learning accelerates because, whether you are succeeding or making mistakes, you are constantly learning from your teammates and they are learning from you. This supportive deep learning environment equips you with the skill and confidence to then put your learning into practice in real life: in the 10-20 hours you spend in workplace interactions each week.

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Who is the ideal V-Teamwork participant?

In the 21st Century, the future belongs to those who can thrive on change and disruption by expanding their ability to learn and collaborate with others. The ideal V-Teamwork participant is someone wants to level up and work with others to create positive futures. Someone who understands that collaboration, leadership, and teaming skills are fundamental to success.

V-Teamwork is for leaders, entrepreneurs, executives, and managers: people who innovate, make decisions, design, build and get things done.  Here’s a snapshot of some of the people who’ve already done the program:

  • Software and devops managers delivering complex products and deployments
  • Founders in early stage startups
  • Mid-career professionals seeking more rewarding and challenging assignments
  • Doctors with senior roles in hospital intensive care units
  • Young high-potentials accelerating change in not-for-profit environments
  • OD and HR professionals with major responsibilities for managing culture change
  • Leaders in the public sector and higher education tasked with coming to grips with new realities in systems, privacy and procurement
  • Seasoned executive coaches and consultants working in disruptive spaces
  • Senior managers heading up newly formed cyber-security units in financial services
  • Product managers with demanding release schedules who need to get their teams working smoothly across multiple geographies.

Our graduates have worked for organizations like Autodesk, RioTinto, Effective Altruism, Nike, Leica, NASA, Apple and Facebook, as well as numerous startups and public sector organizations.

From millennials in their early 20’s to boomers in their late 60’s, they joined us from the United States, China, Singapore, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France, Russia, Poland and Ukraine.

No matter the profession, industry or job function, V-Teamwork is for leaders who thrive on change. It’s for people who want to expand their ability to motivate, influence and bring out the best in those around them.

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What does V-Teamwork stand for?

The V stands for virtual.

The program is not designed as a team-building program, although it could be used for that purpose. It is specifically for individuals who want to build their ability and identity as someone who is highly effective at leading and participating in teams. Particularly teams that need to form rapidly around projects.

More and more, technically skilled people are required to work in global teams: across geographies, cultures and generations. This course is designed to directly and powerfully address the challenges that these individuals face throughout their career. Having said that, in many enterprises, people on the next floor up or down may as well be half a world away, so our program builds thriving relationships in face-to-face situations too.

The other answer to the question “what does V-Teamwork stand for?” is much bigger.

We think that humanity has created a global civilization that, in many ways, we are not thriving in. Human beings’ greatest biological adaptation is their ability for adaptive cooperation, yet divisiveness and separation appear to be on the rise.

V-Teamwork is our small contribution to equipping us (the “greater us”, not the “us vs them”) to expand our collective opportunities and create positive futures together.

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Who should apply for V-Teamwork?

V-Teamwork practices are based on some of the most advanced research in effective leadership and teaming behaviours, but it’s not for insight junkies. It’s for people who want a real, lasting transformation in their work: people who are prepared to do what it takes to reach a new level of effectiveness in their workplace relationships and their career.

We find that when most people go to a workshop or training on communication and collaboration, they tend to come away with insights and inspiration, but these often fade fairly quickly. Developing embodied, high performing leadership usually requires years of life experience, often with a good mentor or two along the way.

This is why we bring together leaders who don’t have time for the slow route into an accelerated learning environment. Using intensive practice, psychological safety, peer feedback and professional coaching, we give them the access to transforming their leadership. Whether they are new leaders or experienced executives, they are people who want to level up in months, instead of years.

V-Teamwork is for people who want all the insights and inspiration of a great workshop, but also need the powerful skills that can only be achieved through deep experiential learning. Our participants include managers and team leads, directors and executives, founders and entrepreneurs: people who want to level up their leadership, build thriving workplace relationships, drive change and reliably deliver outcomes.

Many of our participants say that V-Teamwork has given them the leadership leverage to realise additional value from their previous professional and technical training. If you are ready to level up your leadership, learn by doing, and connect with like-minded agents of change, then we’d be delighted to receive your application.

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How much does it cost?

  • A monetary investment of US$3,650 (AU$4,850)
  • A time investment of up to 3½ to 4 hours per week in dedicated learning activities, plus time every day at work consciously applying your learning for improved outcomes.

Both are important to consider. Here’s why:

The time: V-Teamwork is not informational learning. You can get information from books, Youtube, MOOCs and MBAs. It’s transformational learning. It takes recurrent practice, intensive engagement and focused coaching. It’s high touch.

The money: the course fee allows us to provide a uniquely powerful learning environment, giving you the focused attention from professional coaches as you work in a small team with other high achievers. That’s what’s required for transformational learning of career-boosting leadership skills.

It takes real commitment to undertake this kind of deep, action-oriented learning: the insight to see that when it comes to advancing your career, your skills for leadership, collaboration and trust are way more important than your technical prowess. It also takes the humility to see that your own leadership skill-set can be developed to the next level, and the determination to generate breakthrough results.

We understand that if you’re not up for this level of transformation, learning effort or financial investment. V-Teamwork probably isn’t for you. On a more positive note, the “information” part of our program is widely available in other forms and we encourage you to continue to read, watch and learn by regular means.

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What does an applicant need to be accepted?

We are looking for people who are driven to deliver on their vision and commitments, and are willing to develop themselves to be more empowering and effective within their workplace relationships. We encourage applications from those who want to learn with others and contribute to their growth; people who may or may not have leader /manager in their title, but who are leaders in their life.

We are looking for people who thrive on innovation. People who also know that sometimes you have to summon grit and determination to keep your promises, and to have the conversations you don’t want to have. We want people who, no matter how technical their role, know that the key to success is thriving relationships.

In a world of disruptive change, diversity is an advantage. We want people who want to build their capacity to work productively with people from other cultures, disciplines, generations and geographies.

Many people (but not all) who do our programs work in agile environments and want the skills for embodying the essence of agile, not merely going through the motions. Some have advanced qualifications, but they have been accepted into the program because they are pursuing a practical, hands-on way to transform themselves.

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Will my application be successful?

We take the application process seriously. We want people with heart, who really want to make a contribution and are truly open to being contributed to; people who are hungry to expand their horizons and humble enough to know that working on themselves never stops.

The basic requirements are very straightforward: you need to be proficient in listening, speaking and reading in English, and you need to have the technology requirements of a desktop or laptop computer with around 70GB of free disk space, an internet connection (DSL or better), and an adequate webcam and headphones.

Most of all, you have to have the motivation and commitment to undertake and complete the program, and to be there for your teammates every step of the way, as they will be for you. Given that you’ve read this far into the FAQ, you probably have that sort of commitment.

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Should I ask my boss?

Progressive employers value employees who are willing to step up to better themselves, especially when their efforts are directly focused on making workplace relationships more productive. The V-Teamwork program works and it requires a serious commitment of time and money. We’re keen to include people whose employer will support the effort they are putting in. Financial support makes an even bigger difference. Here is a template you may like to use to ask your boss.

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If I am not accepted into a program, can I re-apply for another session?

If you are not accepted, you are welcome to have a conversation with us and we will give you our reasons. In general we encourage you to re-apply.

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The Experience

What are the technical requirements?

You will need a computer on which you can load World of Warcraft. It needs around 60GB of free space, and you should have at least 15% of free disk capacity after installing it.

You also need an good quality headset or earphones with built in microphone that you can connect to your computer.

You don’t need a super high speed connection. You need an Internet connection with DSL speed or better. If you plan to play through your corporate network, check with the IT system administrators that they are able to open the ports that allow the game to work. We can provide additional information about technical aspects if you need help.

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How are the team game assignments scheduled?

Using the VOiP and chat app Discord, each week your team will coordinate to find a time that works for everyone and schedule it subject to a coach being available, and it not clashing with another team’s assignment time. While this doesn’t have to be the same time every week, we ask you to decide on your assignment times at least 2 weeks in advance.

We link you with timezone conversion and scheduling tools to facilitate your conversations..  

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Where in the world can I participate from?

Anywhere on earth, as long as you have internet connection, can sit comfortably with your computer free from distraction, and speak and listen using your headset. You need to be able to speak, read and write English competently. And you need to be willing to make efforts to accommodate the time zone differences of the other participants.

People usually participate from:

Home: A lot of people coordinate their team game sessions from their home - after they put the kids to bed, early morning before work, or on the weekends.

Work: Many companies are happy for their employees to participate during working hours, particularly if they’ve shared with them the difference in will make to their work (although they may need to use mobile tethering if their company has a corporate firewall).

Other possibilities...

Vacation: Our participants have been there for their team game assignment from all manner of places while on vacation, including a ski lodge in New Zealand, an Australian campground {in the middle of the night), a village in India, and on the beach in Australia’s Gold Coast!

Business travel: People doing the program while on business travel have done their team game assignments from numerous hotel rooms, on-site in a South African copper mine, and from a train on the Trans-Siberian railway.

I have a family and other time commitments. How will I manage?

All of our participants have significant commitments, including serious family responsibilities. They all said it was do-able and worth it. Two things to keep in mind: 1. if you aren’t willing to make and keep a scheduled two-hour commitment to be online with your teammates, plus up to a couple of hours total preparation and post reflection time, then you shouldn’t apply. 2. Remember that outside of the aforementioned 3½ to 4 hours, all the rest of your practice is in the workplace conversations you were going to have anyway, no extra time required.

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Do you offer support if I’m finding the course difficult?

The kind of learning available in V-Teamwork comes directly through support with all of the material. Everyone is challenged, no-one sails through, and that’s what makes the program what it is. Your coaches facilitate your learning, your teammates support you during and between sessions. If you’re having trouble with any of the course material, it’s your job to bring it to your team: they relish the opportunity to support you because that’s what we’re learning here.

Most learning experiences use “summative assessment” to test you (and stress you). That doesn’t work so well with the dispositional learning in V-Teamwork. Instead, we base the program on “formative assessment” which is about coaching you and bringing out your best.

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What are the challenges some participants face with V-Teamwork?

We’ve found that some of our students find it hard to abandon their habit of last-minute inadequate preparation. They fall into “school learning” mode of cramming on the fly, until they see that their lack of preparation reflects directly in their team’s performance, and they can identify the parallels in their work.

Some are initially reluctant to ask for support, or to offer support to their teammates.

The design of the program is such that these challenges are addressed directly by coaches and peers. Numerous parallels to real-world challenges are easy to identify; and the practices of the program ensure that each participant is fully supported in discovering better ways of collaborating and learning as they level up their leadership.

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What is your attendance policy?

Your team and your coaches are relying on you to be present for all of every session. It’s not like a meeting where “go ahead without me” or “I have a hard stop and have to leave early” is good enough. For both four-week sprints, we ask you to allocate sufficient time in your calendar, keep your promises to attend, and take your learning seriously.

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Can I miss sessions and catch up?

No. Do what it takes to attend all sessions as this is not a course where you can listen to a recording. We can promise the competency if you promise to put in the practice. If you know that you can’t manage your life to be able attend all sessions, then don’t do this course.

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What if I’m traveling and/or have a busy schedule?

V-Teamwork Core Skills is designed to suit busy and often traveling professionals.Participants in the past have managed to do their two hours online from coffee shops while traveling internationally, from a mine site in Africa, and even on a family vacation in the middle of the night at a campground. You will find that both we and your teammates are very supportive in helping you make it work.

Is there any travel involved?

No. You will be working intensely with people you may never meet face to face.  However some of our participants have connected in person and in other cases, some incredibly productive virtual relationships have also developed.

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What’s included

What does the course fee include?

The tuition fee covers: all coaching, (both in team game assignments and in one-on-one coaching), all course materials, required e-books and software licences.

No travel or accommodation is required because the program is entirely virtual.

Your course materials are available for download in PDF from our portal. You can print them out or view them on screen.  For some parts of the course, we link you to online videos, audios and readings.

We provide you with gift certificates and redeemable vouchers for the paid software licences and e-book you require to participate.

There are no service charges, surcharges, or any hidden costs. It’s all included.

After the program, we have opportunities and encouragement to stay connected to the community of practice. Some of these involve payment, many don’t.

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Can I get reimbursed?

Some states, provinces and countries offer a form of tax deduction for the cost of training. This may also apply if you are a freelancer or entrepreneur.  Many employers are recognizing the ROI multiple they receive when they support employee-driven learning and we will provide a certificate of completion that may help you obtain full or partial reimbursement. Here’s a sample letter to send to your boss.

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Is V-Teamwork accredited?

V-Teamwork is not an accredited program. It is informal, entirely non-traditional and has no bureaucracy to support. Apply to V-Teamwork if you value expanded ability over official course credit.

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What types of payment are accepted?

We accept payment through all standard credit card options, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, as well as PayPal. We can invoice your company if you provide an official PO, otherwise  you may expense this if your company allows.

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What is your policy about refunds, deferral etc?

We offer a satisfaction guarantee. Details are in our terms and conditions.

Payment in full is due before the course starts.

DEFERRAL: Deferrals are a major inconvenience for us and the other participants. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, you’re unable to start the program, you can defer one time to another program within twelve months. We need at least ten days notice before the program launch date, otherwise no deferral is possible.

WITHDRAWAL: We’ll let you know if, in the considered assessment  of our coaches, you’re not contributing to the learning of your team. After this conversation, if you’re still not contributing, we’ll suggest that you withdraw from the program. In this eventuality, we will not issue a refund and we will donate the balance of your fee to The Life You Can Save.

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Finishing on a positive note...

Here are some other questions we get asked. The answer to all of them is YES….

  • Will I get to work with people from different time zones?
  • Can I apply if I have don’t have a lot of work experience?
  • Can I apply if I have many years  of work experience?
  • Can I apply if I don’t work at a large or well-known enterprise?
  • Can I apply if I have a full-time demanding job and a family?
  • Can I apply if I’m in the middle of a major transition?
  • Can I apply if I’m content in my current role?
  • Can I apply if I don’t really have a business background?
  • Do I have to show up for all sessions?
  • Do you read each application carefully?
  • Is there a coach in every session?
  • Can there be more than one coach in a session?
  • Is there a lot of group work?
  • Can people from my work team do V-Teamwork at the same time?
  • Can I keep in touch with fellow participants after the program finishes?
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