Globalization and rapidly changing technology continue to sweep the world. Organizations working across international and cultural boundaries face significant challenges as they seek to reach and maintain market leadership – however, inherent in those challenges are often unrealized opportunities. One such opportunity, Multicultural teams, offers a wealth of leverage to the discerning global leader. Our research repeatedly identifies the following advantages when multicultural teams are leveraged effectively:
- Global economies of scale and scope are realized
- Effective global learning & knowledge transfer takes place
- Global strategic capabilities are enhanced
- More innovative products and services are developed
- Better understanding of customers across multiple geographies is achieved
- Strong cultural intelligence fostering competitive advantage is accomplished
In today’s complex global marketplace, success depends on a company’s ability to work effectively across different geographical locations and cultures in order to drive innovation and capture market share. Leaders must go beyond motivating people from very different cultural backgrounds, experiences and leadership styles – they must create an environment that facilitates multicultural teams to collaborate effectively across boundaries and borders. There is simply no better better way to understand and strategically exploit the global marketplace.
The truth is that most organizations under-utilize their multicultural teams as strategic assets. When properly developed, such teams contribute significantly to the growth and success of the organization and to its bottom line. In fact, multicultural teams are one of the most consistent sources of competitive advantage for any organization who deploys them – they are effectively the bridge between the workplace and the marketplace.
Multicultural teams are, at the same time, both the most challenging teams to bring to high performance and the highest performing teams when properly developed. Indeed, multicultural teams can be considerably more creative and effective than same-culture teams, but only when they are built and managed knowledgably. This requires the global leader to consciously and intentionally build diverse multicultural teams to drive the best results for the organization and its clients.
Despite the layers of complexity inherent in multicultural teams, such groups offer their companies distinct advantages. They provide diversity of thought and perspective that leads to ongoing innovation, which ultimately drives better business results. The philosophy and uniqueness of diverse cultures brings richness to problem-solving. The different methodologies used in product and service development and an openness to diverse methods leads to better products and services, leveraging cultural differences for innovation, collaboration, and ultimately, organizational success.
As a global leader, what then is your responsibility? It is simple, but not easy: You must leverage your multi-cultural, global teams as strategic assets – use them to gain competitive advantage. Invest in global innovation and diversification through your people to create blue ocean strategies instead of continuing to fight in bloody seas for small pieces of marketshare. Leverage the diverse knowledge that is inherent in your organization. For you and your organization to succeed, you must continually find ways to maximize the contributions of all of your varied workforce. Multicultural, global teams are the seldom leveraged keys to unimaginable success, because diverse people are truly the only sustainable competitive advantage in today’s global economy. The effectively leveraged multicultural team will certainly add up to more than the sum of its parts, revealing a wealth of Hidden Treasure just waiting to be discovered and appreciated.
You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation on Global Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.