The global economy is constantly in a flux that oscillates between populist isolationist tendencies and open collaborative alliances. Irrespective of your political leanings, an objectively economic viewpoint seems to agree that the global economy has consistently proven to thrive under collaborative efforts because of economic and commercial interdependence. Interestingly, as the global economy becomes more interwoven, the need for fast-paced communication and stronger collaborations across national borders can’t be overemphasized. This piece provides insights into five proven tips for creating seamless cross-border collaborations in your organization.
- Avoid the “Us” VS “Them” mentality
If you are collaborating with teams in different countries; there’s the possibility that you’ll be dealing with people are have different business cultures, traditions, viewpoints, and experiences –even when you are in the same organization. There’s then the risk that people start to highlight their differences and the differences engender an “us” VS “them” mentality which leads to competition instead of collaboration. It’s impractical to suggest that you should ignore the differences; but rather than letting the differences divide the team; the differences should provide a richness of experience that spurs the team to achieve its goal and objectives.
- Constantly remember why you are collaborating
When people are collaborating across borders, it is quite easy to become enmeshed in unending arguments over systems, processes, and methods. If you are the team leader, you also run the greatest risk of insisting that things be done your way; and rightly so, if you bear the pressure for the success/failure of the project.
However, reminding the team about why you are collaborating and the goals that you intend to achieve could make it easier for them to be more open to exploring the merits of unfamiliar processes.
- Don’t underestimate the roles of counterparties to your interdependence
In large global teams, there’s the tendency that some people will be tasked with the seemingly important jobs that have a material effect on the success/failure of the project while others will be tasked with handling tangentially relevant responsibilities. However, the main essence of working in a team is to unlock synergy for achieving exponential results.
You should acknowledge the importance and contributions of other stakeholders in other locations irrespective of the perceived significance of their contributions.
- Make sure the team has the right resources to succeed
Global teams won’t work unless there’s a concerted effort to make them work. You may want to start with innovation management software that helps people to brainstorm, collaborate, and transform ideas into results. Communication tools such as Zoom, and Slack are also essential for keeping everybody in the loop.
A project management tools such as Asana is also important for whiteboard collaboration and for keeping track of workflow, milestones, and deliverables. Regular meetings and touchpoints (even when done virtually) can enhance trust and entrench the common vision.
- Avoid information asymmetry
Information asymmetry refers to a situation in which decisions in teams are flawed because one party has better or more information than the other parties. There’s the natural tendency that there will be information asymmetries between teams with members in different locations. You can’t get rid of information asymmetry, but you can make concerted efforts to reduce the incidences of information asymmetry. Many of the most successful global teams often make deliberate efforts to force the transparent sharing of information and ensure that the different teams don’t end up working in silos that could lead to the duplicity of information.