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
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
Photo: Arnold Pannenborg
Text: Nita Korsten
This month many students will be leaving their home countries to study abroad, joining an ever-growing number of international students. Nita Korsten shares her 5 tips for international students to develop their intercultural sensitivity, which they’ll need to succeed both at university and in their international careers.Read More
We’ve all become accustomed to English as the “lingua franca” of international business, but what does that really mean? Are good grammar skills enough to make you a good communicator? Or is there more?
Last week I went to a Wereldveroveraars, or “World Conquerors”, meeting organized by Business News Radio (BNR) about the most important export countries for The Netherlands. The panel hosted Janneke Niessen from Improve Digital, Martijn Bos from Boska and Taco Carlier from Van Moof, who all have valuable experience expanding their businesses internationally. During the panel discussion the question was posed to the panelists how they deal with cultural challenges when doing business overseas. When I heard their answers I asked myself: “Who is culturally the most competent of these people?”Read More
By Theresa Sigillito Hollema
"When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible."
Howard Schultz, Chairman & CEO Starbucks
Drumbeat, rhythm, spirit - Imagine the drumbeat of purpose, the rhythm of why your team exists, the spirit of the purpose expressed in the actions of the team members. Drumbeat, rhythm, spirit…beat ... beat… beat…Read More
By: Nita Korsten
Recently I attended a greatly inspiring talk at Baruch College in New York City. Ian Cook, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Colgate-Palmolive, disclosed how the company does its business globally. He is a highly genuine, driven and convincing leader who needs potential global leaders to understand what they should do to succeed in the global corporate world:
“Get out of your comfort zone and live and work in cultures other than your own!”Read More
Have you ever found that despite speaking in a shared language such as English, some things get lost in translation? Do you walk away from a meeting wondering, “I’m not sure how that went – did I say something wrong?” Or does your international team have subtle frustrations that keep coming up?
In an illuminating workshop led by Nita Korsten, we will talk about cultural competence in a global workplace, a critical issue for international managers.Read More
By Theresa Sigillito Hollema and Nita Korsten
One of our international clients recently aligned with a strategy of globalization of the supply chain and standardization of their processes with the goal of improved customer satisfaction and cost savings due to efficiencies. This seemed logical and reasonable, until looking deeply at a very decentralized, country driven organization. How would this transformation towards a more interconnected organization happen and was the leadership team ready to become international?
By Julia Root
As many CEOs know (and greatly enjoy the challenge), managing an international business is a complex, multi-faceted operation with demanding stakeholders. On top of keeping oversight of competitive strategy and diverse client needs across the globe, corporate leadership also needs to stay in tune to what’s happening inside the organization and the company culture.Read More