In This Article
- 1 How to Work With International Virtual Teams
- 2 What is it? A Definition:
- 3 How to Work with International Virtual Teams from Different Cultures Is Not Easy
- 4 The Benefits and Pitfalls
- 5 How to Beat the Competition?
- 6 Want to Learn More?
- 7 Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
- 8 Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
How to Work With International Virtual Teams
What is it? A Definition:
There are many ways of defining what a multicultural team is. Still, I couldn’t find much of a definition on Wikipedia, so I’ll come up with my own 😉
I would consider three areas:
- Cross-Cultural Management
- How to work with International Virtual Teams
- Global Management
They all huddle around the same thing: have people with different cultural backgrounds conduct work harmoniously and effectively in different locations. What I mean by a multicultural team is a team that works in different locations around the world. This could be within one organization or between different organizations. Within one organization you can have different locations across the globe where people with different cultural backgrounds work. That’s where Global Management comes in.
But how to work with International Virtual Teams in the most effective way?
How to Work with International Virtual Teams from Different Cultures Is Not Easy
Research shows time and again: Managing people from different cultures is not easy. Cross-cultural management is hard and working with International Virtual Teams is a real challenge. A lot harder than people sometimes think.
Below is an overview of a management survey done by Price Waterhouse Cooper:
“Challenges US and European senior executives say they face when managing teams across different countries around the world“
- Changing individual behavior 69 %
- Cultural differences 65 %
- Business practice differences 52 %
- Headquarters too remote 44 %
- Labour law differences 41 %
- Accounting and tax differences 36 %
As you can see, managing multicultural teams around the world ranks second. Hopefully, that’s not a surprise.
The Benefits and Pitfalls
Let’s start with the negative pitfalls first. In my 20+ years of experience, most people in global management positions tend to focus on the so-called “hard variables“: Accounting, rules, and regulations. Things like that.
The saying goes that “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast“. In other words, only focusing on systems, tools and rules will not (!) lead to a successful cross-cultural management operation. People will find workarounds to beat the system.
Now let’s look at the benefits. There are plenty of organizations, like Google, Apple (and smaller ones too) that have mastered the way to work successfully in their international virtual teams by managing those teams well. What do they get in return?
When managed well (and this is the crucial part!), diverse teams (compared to homogeneous teams):
- Are more creative
- Generate more and better alternatives
- Generate more and better criteria for evaluation
- Perform better on complex decision-making tasks
How to Beat the Competition?
If you work for an international organization and you value global management and you’re doing a good job in managing International Virtual Teams teams, you know that:
Your team has to become culturally competent.
Cross-cultural management involves taking the responsibility as a manager to make sure your people understand not only others but also themselves. Telling people to simply work together won’t work.
Often perceptions of each other have been shaped and set. That is very hard to offset.
However, if you provide people a framework within which they can place their stereotypes, their perceptions, and their frustrations, you can slowly peel the layers of the misconception away that often have been around people in teams that don’t really understand each other. In other words, you need to train your people (and yourself …) to become culturally competent.
So if you want to beat your competition, pay attention to cross-cultural management when you’re managing multicultural teams. Engage in global management and invest in yourself and in your people.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to learn more, below are three links to podcasts I have recorded that will help you better understand this topic.
Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
Call Direct: +32476524957
European Office (Brussels) Whatsapp: +32476524957
The Americas (USA; Atlanta, GA; también en Español): +1 678 301 8369
Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
If you're looking for an Engaging, Exciting, and Interactive speaker on the subject of Intercultural Management & Awareness you came to the right place.
Chris has spoken at hundreds of events and to thousands of people on the subject of Cultural Diversity & Cultural Competence.
This is What Others Say About Chris:
- “Very Interactive and Engaging”
- “In little time he knew how to get the audience inspired and connected to his story”
- “His ability to make large groups of participants quickly and adequately aware of the huge impact of cultural differences is excellent”
- “Chris is a dedicated and inspirational professional”
In addition, his presentations can cover specific topics cultural topics, or generally on Cultural differences.
Presentations can vary anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours and are given World Wide.
Book Chris now by simply sending an email. Click here to do so.
Read more about what Chris can do for you.
- Percentage of People Rating a Presentation as Excellent 86% 86%
- Rating the Presentation as Practical 89% 89%
- Applicability of Chris' presentation 90% 90%
About Peter van der Lende
Peter has joined forces with Culture Matters.
Because he has years and years of international business development experience joining forces therefore only seemed logical.
Being born and raised in the Netherlands, he has lived in more than 9 countries of which most were in Latin America.
He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) with his family.
You can find out more at https://expand360.com/
Or find out what Peter can do for you here.
- 158 Cultural Differences Between North & South America - 5. October 2021
- 157 Peter van der Lende and Chris Smit Interviewed by Leonardo Marra - 9. September 2021
- How International Business Schools can Benefit from Cultural Competence - 9. August 2021