As a leader in a global environment, it is essential for you to set the example and create communities where people unite around a common purpose and values. Working collaboratively to accomplish a shared vision that makes a powerful and positive impact on the global business is absolutely vital to your success!
Can true collaboration occur in cross-cultural and virtual environments? Absolutely, IF you, as a leader, are intentional about building collaborative environments, modeling collaborative leadership practices, and creating opportunities to bring people together for both organizational and personal benefit.
Your job, as a leader, is to champion the global vision, provide resources across the board and remove the roadblocks that working across boundaries and borders unavoidably incurs. But how can you possibly do all this? Think about the recommendations below as if they were the pieces to a global puzzle and you will see how a pattern emerges that is quite different from traditional co-located leaders.
As A Global, Collaborative Leader, You Must…
1. Create Networks & Connections:
Flatten the traditional hierarchy to create interconnected systems that promote open communication and the sharing of resources worldwide – even when it is not the easy thing to do.
2. Encourage Informal Leadership:
Despite common myth, you do not need to be in control all the time – it is okay for leaders within the team to emerge as the nature of the work shifts. Encourage informal cross-cultural, cross-functional leadership to develop within the group according to what is required for a specific aspect of the work being done.
3. Know Your Business & The Broader Landscape:
Keep abreast of what is going on in your area and in the broader organization. However, also track global events and ideas from outside of your area of expertise in order to see trends, possibilities and the potential for global innovation amongst your teams.
4. Embrace The Bigger Picture:
Consider the bigger picture along with the long-term implications of your global goals and objectives. Ask relentless questions of your teams that open up possibilities and encourage collaborative communities. Seek information from diverse viewpoints and sources… and encourage your teams to do the same. Most teams focus internally, however successful teams embrace the “bigger picture” and consider it’s implications o their work… and vice versa.
5. Leverage Your Talent:
Recognize the cross-functional, cross-cultural expertise you have at your disposal. Know your limitations and realize you have a “world” of talent available if you leverage global collaboration to fuel growth and development.
6. Respect Begets Respect:
Earn global respect and trust through the integrity of your character and your work ethic. Hold yourself accountable for overall results and be willing to take a stand to make tough decisions. At the same time, always remember that respect and trust beget the same in return. The more you connect and collaborate with people at a personal level, regardless of the role they play in the organization, the more they will come to know you and feel comfortable with exactly where you stand.
7. Create A Reliable Global Infrastructure:
Require an open flow of information and communication between regions, functions and divisions – as well as the distribution of power and decision-making. Make use of all your resources to open global channels, leveraging creative uses of technology to engage in virtual conversations and information sharing with those across boundaries & borders.
8. Facilitate Global Dialogue:
Bring people together across cultures to engage in meaningful discussions around mutual goals and objectives. Identify commonalities long before your point out differences or points of contention. Provide opportunities to develop global collaboration, insisting people develop the skills and are enabled to engage in productive, collaborative talk that promotes innovative problem solving.
9. Expect Creative Solutions:
Equip your global teams with the tools and techniques to seek creative solutions that embrace cross-cultural, cross-functional collaboration that is aligned with a global vision that benefits the organization as a whole, rather than the individual.
10. Value Diversity:
Leverage differences and use diversity as a strategic advantage. Facilitate innovation through your global workforce and bring people with diverse perspectives and unique insights together to collaborate to find creative solutions.
11. Inspire Global Collaboration:
Set the standard and collaborate across functions, cultures and the organization as a whole. Partner with customers and partners, even competitors – freely sharing information while maintaining clear signs of continuing independence for all. In other words, you trust and respect other communities (even when competing) and see them as a part of the bigger picture – part of an expanded global community.
Collaborative leadership in a global context is based on respect, trust and the wise use of the power you have been given. Create opportunities for people to think together, emphasizing your team’s ability to see value in each other’s perspectives and contributions. In order for innovation to emerge, people at all levels must learn to collaborate effectively. Help your teams to understand that collaboration isn’t magic – it’s a mind-set and a skill-set… both of which can be leveraged to make a huge difference to your bottom line.
Being consistent in the design, application, and assessment of collaborative work ensures that your teams have a clear understanding, not only as to what they are to accomplish, but how… greatly increasing your potential for success.
Collaboration Is Not An Option – It’s An Imperative.
How Will You Enable Global Collaboration Across Your Organization?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will enable successful collaboration in your organization. Do you need an expert to help you leverage global collaboration in your organization? Contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.