While I write this blog, the tunes of the song Motherland from Nathalie Merchant sound in my headphones. It reminds of the conversation I facilitated with a group of amazing women from eleven different nations in the MENA (Middle East, North Africa) region, and of a wonderful Ted Talk I recently watched. It led me to think about identity and how I often notice how people are ‘reduced’ to one single identity when we address people as coming from a certain nation/homeland. I like to advocate for a much more nuanced approach in our global workplaces.....Read More
The term VUCA has become fashionable recently. As you may know, VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Indeed, many of our customers describe their organizational reality as being VUCA: job responsibilities are unclear, relationships are diffuse and collaboration is often virtual. What does this mean for leadership of change?Read More
Currently I am participating in an online course that is shaking up the thoughts in my head in a good way. The course is titled We Will Dance with Mountains, and I recommend it for those who want to think about their place and impact in the world. One section covers our generally accepted assumptions, and analyzes the impact of these assumptions on bringing change.
In this article, I would like to share some of the assumptions I encounter, which seem harmless, but may become a hurdle to becoming the creative, fun, trusting team where everyone feels like contributing their best.Read More
By: Nita Korsten and Kathy Czako
Once upon a time… Mrs. Snow, the CEO of an international company, led her quarterly sales meeting on the 46th floor of a giant glass and concrete skyscraper in a country far, far away. Her seven devoted staff members surrounded Mrs. Snow. They had gathered from various countries from all over the world. “This will be great”, Mrs. Snow thought. “All this knowledge and experience in one room!” Except something was wrong..
by: Theresa Sigillito Hollema
How effective is your communication with your virtual team? Does bad news come to you quickly or are you often surprised? Successful leaders of virtual teams consciously create a communication channel with employees who are not co-located. Have you invested in creating effective communication channels with your virtual team ....?Read More
by: Robert Paul Schwippert
We work with leaders who make decisions every day. Often, they must decide on complicated issues which involve many stakeholders and consequently they struggle to make effective decisions. On the one hand, they want to engage their stakeholders/team members to build upon various inputs. On the other hand, they want timely decisions which avoid endless conversations of differing opinions. So how do we reconcile this dilemma and come to high quality decisions that are supported by those involved...?
By: Theresa Sigillito Hollema
Have you heard a good story lately? Most of us love to hear a good story, and we all have a great story to tell – our own. Barker and Gower show through the Narrative Paradigm Theory that story telling is a cross-culturally accepted communication tool and a quick method to build relationships, especially in a diverse environment. Fortunately storytelling has also proven to be a great way to let your virtual team thrive!
Let’s imagine about how this would work for a multi-cultural virtual team. The team comes together (preferably through video) and each person ...
by: Robert Paul Schwippert
Often I observe managers and leaders in conversations, and to be honest… sometimes they talk a lot. I notice the more they speak the less they listen. The less they listen the less they learn. This is because when we give our opinion we provide our perspective; the perspective we already know. We tell it to others since we want them to understand.
Asking (the right) questions could bring value. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” ...
by: Nita Korsten
Recently I designed a leadership development program for chairs (the most senior professors) of one of world’s highest-ranking universities. I used the McKinsey influencing model to build a program that helps their leaders and managers navigate the organization in new directions. The importance to turn professionals into professional leaders does not only count for universities, but for any expertise-focused organization like hospitals or research centers, and also for consultants, investment bankers, accountants, architects, and lawyers.
For most, the scenario of an organization full of intelligent experts does not ...
by: Theresa Sigillito Hollema
Why do so many managers of virtual teams forget that their team works virtually? When the manager sets aside the time and money to focus on a team building session, why do they fail to put ‘building virtual competence’ on the agenda? Perhaps because they do not realize that to work virtually is more than an onsite team who turn on their computers. Working virtually requires a new way of collaborating, building trust, brainstorming, making decisions and influencing, which has a major impact on the team success.Read More
by: Robert Paul Schwippert
When Jim – a US manager working for a global IT company - approached me he was to the point, very efficient and straightforward, just as his question was: ‘I got this new team, consisting of UK based staff and Southern Europeans. We are responsible for running the IT Operations for Europe but I don’t think the right dynamics are there.’ . ‘Ok, give me an example what is happening?’ I asked, becoming curious. He continued: ‘I see lack of ownership and drive – and misunderstandings between people in terms of communications. I think by better understanding each other we could improve service to our customers! Can you help me out..?’Read More
I love vacation! In my case, that is not because it means I can cease to think about work! On the contrary, I constantly get new views on various cultures, a subject I am professionally passionate about. Encountering other cultures provides me with the opportunity to incorporate new viewpoints in my own life. This summer I had the chance to travel to Iceland and embrace the “Petta Reddast” motto of the Icelandic people!Read More
You are leading a virtual team with people scattered in different locations and perhaps you wonder – is it really possible to do team building online? Do I have to wait until we all get together in the same place? Often when I am facilitating a workshop about working virtually across cultures, the question will arise regarding team building online. Is it really possible, and is it really fun? My answer is yes, and yes.Read More
Sometimes we are so busy focusing on the impact of culture on the business environments that we overlook where differences in culture really get personal and heated – between two people in love. Wendy Williams has put a microscope to these relationships by interviewing dozens of multi-cultural couples and has written a funny, insightful and recognizable book called the Globalization of Love. I also attended her TedxTalk in Vienna. Read the Highlights and watch the TedTalkRead More
Have you ever been in charge or involved in a corporate culture change program? Then you might recognize the optimism at the start of such a program. Often, a very smart 3,4, or 5-step approach is presented to change the company’s culture from A to B! To avoid disappointment and increase the success rate, it is essential to design a more cohesive program based on a realistic idea of Corporate Culture Change.Read More
‘I am not sure how to explain this clearly’ – John - a 52 old seasoned executive -sighed when he took a seat at his office. Having held previous positions in financial firms in London and Stockholm John was recently appointed as Internal Audit Manager of a global firm based in Amsterdam. Talking about his new team he continued: “Individually they are highly talented professionals, but it seems I cannot get them to working together properly. I get the impression not all is said in the open and there is a lot of second guessing and side conversations going on... Surely I have dealt with cultural differences before, but this time…”Read More
In research by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 50% of respondents admit that communication misunderstandings have hampered major cross-border transactions, incurring significant losses for their company. A majority of executives surveyed say that an improvement in cross-border communications will have a beneficial impact on financial indicators, such as profit, revenue and market share.Read More
Is it standard practice in your organization for people to send out Email messages in carbon copy to their boss in order to cover their back? In that case, people don't feel safe! Last week I went to a presentation of Simon Sinek. I want to share with you some of his new inspiring ideas around the Circle of Safety!Read More
The importance of an integrated approach to leading change
‘It’s just too much, I cannot cope anymore’. David – a soft drinks Category Manager of a global Fortune 500 company - shared his thoughts openly. ‘How can I work with these diffuse new responsibilities and at the same time be expected to work with colleagues from different cultures who - by the way - I can only communicate with via Skype or email…?! ‘Read More
“While project managers may feel like magicians, we all know successful projects don’t just happen by magic.” PMI (Project Management Institute)[i]
What makes international projects even more challenging? The answer is the way people deal with concepts varies across cultures Forget magic, the International Project Management Professional surely must feel like a wizard!Read More