Archives For Multicultural Teams

While nearly everyone in today’s global workplace recognizes the need (and appreciates the value) of collaborative work, it is not easy – especially when cultural differences, time zone challenges, work and communication styles enter the equation. Despite this, true global collaboration is simply too valuable not to take advantage of because it provides you, as a leader, with a significant opportunity to leverage learning, negotiate meaning, and share aptitudes – creating high potential sources of competitive advantage.

The rapid pace of globalization and the growing number of collaborative technology solutions have enabled virtual work while the demand for skills from around the world have made it a necessity. However, collaborative teamwork in virtual environments is not intuitive. It’s far more than dealing with technology and time zones – it is about people and the value that cross-cultural, virtual collaboration can bring to the organization.

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Over the past several weeks, I have communicated to you what I believe are some of the most challenging aspects of leadership today.  These are the facets of business, that because we do not do them well, we repeatedly see decreased motivation and loyalty, less than competent leaders and, ultimately, poor business results.  I began to think seriously about these challenges long ago – perhaps fifteen years ago!  For twenty years, I was a leader in global business and now, two decades later, I am still hearing of the exact same challenges from my clients as an Executive Coach, International Speaker and Author. Do you think we have a problem?

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 Over the past several weeks, I have communicated to you what I believe are some of the most challenging aspects of leadership today.  These are the facets of business, that because we do not do them well, we repeatedly see decreased motivation and loyalty, less than competent leaders and, ultimately, poor business results.  I began to think seriously about these challenges long ago – perhaps fifteen years ago!  For twenty years, I was a leader in global business and now, two decades later, I am still hearing of the exact same challenges from my clients as an Executive Coach, International Speaker and Author. Do you think we have a problem?

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Did you know that an estimated 70% of international ventures fail due to poor cross-cultural interactions?  When individuals from different cultural backgrounds don’t understand each other, it inevitably leads to failed projects and suboptimal results.  Culture forms the way we think and act – across all spectrums – often causing members of our organizations to perceive reality very differently across boundaries and borders.

All organizations have the capacity to generate significant results… if they follow the four golden rules of cross-cultural communications. In order to mobilize the cross-cultural power in your organization, you need to invest in cultural integration from 4 critical angles: Continue Reading…

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Communicating is probably this single most important thing we do – yet we often pay little attention to how we communicate. While basic communications are important, in the business world cross-cultural communications have become essential.  Even if you do not work across regions, it is highly likely that the person in the office next to you, or perhaps even your boss, is from a culture different from your own. Even though you may speak a common language, communication goes much deeper.  In the spirit of understanding that different cultures espouse different worldviews, here are just a few of the orientations that often differ and may help you gain some perspective as to why it is often difficult to communicate across boundaries & borders: Continue Reading…

Becoming an Extreme Global Leader is more than just a title or buzzword – it is hard work.  It requires unprecedented levels of innovation and a commitment to the organization and its constituents across the globe, as well as the ability to continually inspire and motivate others to succeed. One key way to achieve ongoing innovation and global results is through the creation of an execution culture.

Every leader has an opportunity to accelerate progress in their global organization through the deployment of Rapid Result Initiatives (RRI’s), which can be used to:

  • Increase current performance
  • Strengthen collaboration
  • Facilitate innovation
  • Demonstrate success in the process of executing a winning game-plan

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Poor management, communications breakdowns, unsuitable or badly integrated team members, ill-equipped staff, personality clashes — there are many reasons why virtual teams fail. Not surprisingly, despite years of research on how to do virtual teams better (not to mention the development of great technological tools), virtual teams still fail at an alarming rate – varied research results suggest that failure rates for virtual teams may be as high as 70%.

While virtual teams create the opportunity to bring together the best and most appropriate individuals based on their expertise and skills, it is often the inability of these individuals to work together towards a common goal (in a virtual context) that results in failure. In order to perform well, virtual teams have to work harder and use distinct methodologies, processes and behaviors to build communication, trust and a sense of team cohesiveness. But what happens when they don’t? Usually… epic failure!

From my experience, here are a few of the key reasons virtual teams continue to fail in a bit more detail:

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