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Leading Global Teams

July 8, 2014

Why did our global team miss the target? Why didn’t we achieve our objectives? Our shared competencies were unquestionable, and yet we failed. Only when I came across the intercultural field, did I begin to understand what often makes the differences between failure and success of global teams.

Members from different nations, functions, and organizations with different cultural backgrounds create the diversity of global teams. The impact of the diversity can lead to a high level of performance, if managed. If not, it can keep the team from reaching their objectives.

Diversity based on functionality, business unit, and organization is addressed by considering standard group dynamics. Differences in national culture, however, usually affect the dynamics at a deeper level and must be dealt with differently.

Although all cultures use teams, cultures differ quite widely in terms of how they work in teams. One of our primary tasks when leading global teams is to create a shared set of behavioral rules – a shared identity. This is then the basis for continuous and open dialog, for building trust – for our ability to achieve our objectives as a global team.

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