Quick SummaryIs historical cultural context affecting your team?
Coaching Virtual Multicultural Teams
During the first 6 months of coaching, I visited both parts of the team several times as we successfully worked on elements that would help facilitate work between the two halves of the team.
We established a base for mutual understanding of differences in working context and culture. Everyone established a profile, including pictures on a shared portal, to facilitate relationships.
The team worked together and established shared ways of working, and clear communication plans. Despite the fact that the original plan for in-person meetings was prohibited due to lack of budget, things were looking good.
Then at a coaching session in Brighton one of the English project managers asked me â€œhow do we make sure that they [the Indian half of the team] do what we say?â€
I referred him to the values of their newly implemented network-based organization, where mutual trust was at the center. The English project manager looked at me and repeated the question with an added â€œyes, but ... how do we make sure that they do what we say?â€
Clearly the next part of the coaching process would be focused around the implications of that question.
The process started in Mumbai. We worked through the challenges they saw and what it would take for them to trust the good intentions of their English colleagues. We looked at the cultural and geographical distances and the behaviors they would need to experience to build trust.
The English team members then worked through the same process. However, the further we got in Brighton the more reluctant they became. I wasnâ€™t experiencing the same positive and engaging atmosphere that I had seen in Mumbai.
The process finally ground to a halt for no apparent reason; at least, nothing was said directly. We did go through the expectations the Indian part of the team had, and to a certain degree defined the English counterpart, but it never really seemed authentic.
At the time, I concluded that the cost saving aspect and the potential capacity transfer to India was what drove the lack of motivation from the English side of the team. So when at a later coaching session with the Indian team leader, he pointed to the historical relationship that runs deep between England and India, my curiosity was aroused.
Could the historical relationship be responsible for the two sides of the teamsâ€™ inability to build a trust-based relationship?
When we work in global teams, we may not consider the historical context of the cultures working in them. Even though we believe we have moved on from the basic assumptions of our ancestors, could they still be influencing our global teams when we least expect it?
Your thoughts matter to others - more than you can imagine.
More Articles published by Peter
3 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers
Team BuildingEver experienced an 'unbuffered' learning experience? The kind that develops global competences? 50 | 833 | 2 min
Corporate CultureWinning organisational cultures are built on social contracts that outline the agreed rules by which we play. 52 | 880 | 3 min
Cultural AwarenessIf you want to develop global competencies you need to seek out an unsheltered first-hand experience 50 | 728 | 3 min
More 'Team Building' Articles
13 more Articles that may interest you, too...
By Tyler H.
Countless leaders struggle to get their teams to participate authentically in discussions. The typical pitfall is in their approach because they do not consider several key components that dictate a group's openness to actively participating in a discussion. We will explore those components here and see how truly easy it can be to get your group talking.3.45 K | 50
7 Steps to Building a Business Case for Team Building2.02 K | 50
Team and Organizational Survival Strategies for Turbulent Economic Times3.84 K | 50
After extensive research (of my own personal, and others' motivations) I have discovered that in order to produce 'self motivation' in others, a manager should concentrate on four key factors.5.43 K | 51
By Peter B.
Ever experienced an 'unbuffered' learning experience? The kind that develops global competences?833 | 50
By Albert E.
Two of today's buzzwords are Team and Teamwork. Those with a particular desire to conform to the spirit of the age portray them as the polar opposite of individual achievement, which embodies everything that is bad and "out", whereas teamwork is good and "in".9.26 K | 50
Unfortunately, many managers do not get the necessary training or coaching in this area of team development and as such teams go through a lot of stress and turmoil when perhaps this could be minimised quite considerably.50.8 K | 212
Team building is not a cure-all but it is an effective tool to help executives harness the expertise of team members.900 | 50
Using results-based leadership (RBL) framework1.35 K | 60
Team fun? For the right group this could be a blast... tons of laughs. Exercise? Absolutely. Team building? I don't think so.2.02 K | 60
What are the challenges that managers face in developing their teams and what can be done to support them?3.24 K | 50
A major advantage a team has over an individual is its diversity of resources, knowledge, and ideas. However, diversity also produces conflict. As more and more organisations restructure to create teams the need for training in conflict management will continue to grow.5.41 K | 50