I am often asked about the key elements of effective international collaboration and whilst there is no secret recipe for success, these ten points might help you to navigate through the complexities of international cross-border working. The list is not exhaustive but I hope these hints and tips are a good starting point:
1. Avoid making instant judgements or assumptions about colleagues or clients from different cultures with regard to their working style.
2. Try to do some research on the culture of each team member when you are working with a culturally diverse group.
3. Try to understand how your style might be viewed through the eyes of colleagues or clients from different cultures – they may view your style as confusing.
4. Remember that not all challenges encountered in cross-border situations are the result of cultural differences – the issues could be personality-based, technical or commercial.
5. If something happens when working with somebody from a different culture, step back and try to work out if the challenge is cultural or more business-process focused – your solution might be different depending on the answer.
6. Remember that your colleagues in other offices want the best outcomes for your company as well – you are all working together to a common goal.
7. Just because people do things differently in another country does not mean that they are necessarily wrong in their approach – it’s just a different way of doing things.
8. A good idea is a good idea regardless of where it originates – one country does not have all the answers.
9. When communicating with team members who are speaking a second language, do not over-estimate their linguistic abilities. Just because they are good at a second language does not mean they are perfect.
10. Teams and organisations which are at ease in cross-border situations and co-operate well across the cultures will prosper in an increasingly global economy.
You can probably think of many other ‘Golden Rules’ but these are a good starting point to a more open and culturally aware approach.
Global Business Culture works with clients all over the world, helping them develop greater levels of cultural fluency within the organisation.
If you would like to discuss how we might be able to assist you or your business contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org