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Leading a global team April 7, 2009

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Getting what you want, Management, Management Principle, Team basics.
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Do you have to lead global teams? Many companies are expanding globally to take advantage of the basic economics of hiring workers. While some of us may not agree with that strategy, it is widely adopted. It is not the purpose of this entry to discuss the viability of international outsourcing. It is my purpose to give you some tips and techniques on how to be more effective in that environment.

 Some of the most common challenges facing managers and leaders in a global environment are:

  • Staying connected
  • Time differences
  • Alignment or mis-alignment of goals
  • Language
  • Culture differences
  • Expectations of senior management
  • Managing performance

 Not everyone can be successful as a global manager or leader.  Effective global leaders typically have:

  • A willingness to communicate, form relationships with others, and try new things
  • Good cross-cultural communication and language skills
  • Flexibility and open-mindedness about other cultures
  • The ability to determine if a global worker is performing up to expectations

 The principles that guide us in becoming an effective team leader with co-located teams also apply in the global arena. However, the effective global leader is aware of four factors that affect their performance in a global situation.

1.      Pay more attention to time. Things just take longer when you are acting globally. It is sometimes difficult to convince senior management of this concept, but it is true and the global leader must consider it. In addition, the effective global leader understands that not everyone lives in the same time zone.

2.      Have more patience. Since things take longer and people do things differently across the globe, the effective global leader has more patience. I once had a manager tell me, “I know I need to learn more patience. How long will this take?” Learn how to breathe deeply or learn the art of Zen or something to increase your patience. You will need it.

3.      Make effective use of technology. The purveyors of technology are rapidly working to close the global gap. Global leaders have telephone and visual technology available to access people in any part of the world. Learn the technology and use it to help you close the global gap!

4.      Adapt to different cultures. When everyone shares the same building, it is easy to interact culturally. Once you go more than 50 miles, nuances start to creep into the culture. Just imagine the cultural differences when the person is over 5000 miles away. It is the responsibility of the global leader to create a team culture. That culture must not violate any of the cultural taboos of the global community.

 Using these four factors as a foundation, I will be writing a series on leading global teams with emphasis on communicating, building rapport and getting results.  Stay tuned.

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Team basics May 16, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Team basics, Uncategorized.
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p5130012.jpg  Want extraordinary results? Create a team! The Big Dogs use teams to solve their most difficult problems. Teams can be used to increase profits, improve employee engagement and to raise morale. Let’s look at what makes a team.

 

Most people think a team is a group of people, working together, for a common goal. The Big Dogs know there is one more element to making a group a team. That element is dependency. For a team to exist there must be a dependency that is acknowledged and committed to. Knowing the dependency exists is not enough — there must be a tacit acknowledgment and a firm commitment to the dependency.

 

Think of a group of mountain climbers who are roped together. Now that is a visible, acknowledged and committed to dependency. If you are to have a team that will create extraordinary results, then you must learn about dependency.

 

The Big Dogs also know that there are five principles that must be adhered to for a group to become a team. Here they are:

 

  1. Differences make a difference. In strong teams the people on the team come from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. It is not necessary that the people look different. It is necessary that they think different.
  2. Everyone contributes. Everyone on the team performs a significant function that is recognized as significant by the others on the team. People not only need to belong to groups, they need to contribute to those groups. There are no slackers on teams.
  3. Share information. In order to keep everyone up to date and to build trust, people on teams communicate all the information they know to each other. There is no information hoarding. When a team member is behind in their tasks, they ask for help. When they are ahead, they volunteer to help others. No secrets and no cliques are the rule.
  4. Trust is everything. People on teams make and keep their agreements. There are no games where I say one thing and do another. Your word is your most important currency on a team. If the trust is violated, all chance of teamwork diminishes. Commitments are not made lightly.
  5. Belief in achieving the extraordinary. Every member of the team believes it is possible for the team to achieve its goal. That goal is perceived as worthy of effort and will in some way distinguish the team from all other groups. Everyone is excited about and focused on achieving the goal.

 

Do you want to have extraordinary teams in your organization? Do what the Big Dogs do; create dependency into your group and follow these five principles.