A global team working seamlessly together is a dream come true for organizations and worldwide businesses. Every team member has their role and every team member is on point with the tasks at hand that lead to the ultimate goal of company and customer success. Are there hiccups to the process though, and how do you fine tune a global working environment when language, culture, and time zones become a factor?
The culture of a global team environment can be exceptionally productive due to the knowledge of working partners, collaborating with people who are experts in their field, and on-call resource centers at your fingertips 24 hours per day. A geographically dispersed workforce offer the best functional savvy of worldwide markets with an expertise derived from around the globe.
Assembling a team with varied work experiences and different perspectives on strategic challenges only adds to the benefits of working with multinational companies competing in the overall business environment. Drawing on the international expertise of every team member to gain successful outcomes does present stiff obstacles, however if quality team leadership is in place, the entire operation rises to the challenge.
Best Practices for Effectively Working Together
While individuals may view a global team as more productive and benefit personally, it’s still a good idea to have organized practices in place for each person to understand more fully their role and to get on the same page with desired results.
Following are best practices for a healthy coordination and collaboration of the global team:
1. Build Trust with Each Team Member
When team members come from different functional backgrounds and countries, and are working in multiple time zones, communication can breakdown and overall cooperation can result in distrust. It’s essential to create an understanding from the hiring and onboarding of each new employee that oftentimes there will be in-person meetings to enact structure, language, process, identity, and technology. Keeping up with the social fabric of the company will aid in building trust and alleviating dysfunction.
2. Create a Positive Mindset From the Top Down
If a leader employs–and abides by–their own attitude of integrity, respect, and kindness, chances are the entire global team member mindset will follow suit. Avoid a power imbalance by having smaller groups be managed by a regional leader who can oftentimes visit the team sites. It gives each person a chance to have an up-close-and-personal observation of who they’re taking responsibility and accountability orders from.
3. Become a Virtual Think Tank
From the initial stages of global team communication, have every person define who they are, what they do, how being available for questions is of utmost importance, and dial down the dominant personas for other’s to offer openness. A think tank is beneficial to the global team as it provides specific solutions to problems in the current economic atmosphere.
4. Offer Consistent Feedback
Feedback, whether positive or negative, becomes the root of growth, learning new ideas, productivity assessment, and the opportunity to take the connected path towards success.
5. Be Accessible to Team Members 24/7
Once every team member knows their job outlines, it is key to ensure that team leaders are accessible, and other collaborators on each project is sensitive to accountability around the clock. Time zone awareness plays a role, as does team motivation and social networking.
6. Raise the Empathy Factor
Engaging with global team members requires processing and possessing empathetic skills. To reduce the social distance between the language barriers, cultural snafus, and time zones, send strong signals about a willingness to be more vulnerable and humble. When a team member senses each connection to the successful outcome as a “real human being” the remote environment becomes more relaxed and approachable.
7. Schedule Meetings with Consideration
Rotate scheduled meeting times that are doable for everyone involved. Working outside of the traditional 9 to 5 routine requires making exceptions for each team member.
8. Employ Active Listening Skills
Learn as much as you can with every global team member by asking questions then allowing space and time for the answer. Healthy communication from the onset shows every person their opinion is valued, which can also help present the company in a more favorable light.
9. Outline Goal Objectives Clearly and Concisely
Understanding what deliverables are expected from each team member is vital to the success of the company or organization. Clearly outline objectives using spreadsheets and modern technology for everyone to add their input, their timelines, and their finished projects.
Getting a head start in building a global team that works effectively together brings forward new opportunities that benefit everyone.