There are three data points. Let’s call them facts. There are differences between cultures. The differences are in foundational areas. The differences influence collaboration within and between global teams.
Whenever we take a closer look at the influence of culture on cross-border collaboration, we always address the same three questions, and in this order:
Where do we differ in how we think, and how we work? Our logics, approaches, methods, beliefs, traditions, mindsets.
What influence to do these differences have on our work, on our collaboration, on the success of our collaboration?
How do we get the differences to for, and not against, our collaboration?
The minute we decide to make a serious effort to understand the influence of cultural differences on our work we have decided to enter into three conversations:
With ourselves, in self-reflection: “How do I as an individual think, therefore work?” You with yourself.
With colleagues in our own culture, in co-self-reflection: “How do we as a culture think, therefore work?” You with same-culture.
With colleagues from the other culture: “How do we as a cross-border team want to collaborate?” You with other-culture.
Whether you are in management or a subject-matter expert or an individual contributor in a global company, you most likely are engaging in three kinds of relationships, and on a constant basis.
With your colleagues. In the company. From different departments. Working together in order to get things done in the right way.
With the company’s customers. These are the people you are serving. By delivering a product, a service, in most cases both.
With the company’s suppliers. These are the people who are serving you and your colleagues. With products and services they provide.
Three Good Things
When you as colleagues better understand the influence of cultural differences on cross-border collaboration three good things happen:
You get the job done. On schedule. Within budget. Quality results. That’s good for the company, the team, and for you as individual colleagues.
You sleep better at night. Literally and figuratively. The stress of working in a cross-border context is reduced dramatically. That’s good for you as people.
You contribute to the relations between countries. If you get along at work you will have a favorable impression of each other’s country. That influences you as voters. That’s good for mankind.
Back to Thoughts.