Going Global – Building Cultural Competency
Are you hitting cultural or process walls as your group is going global? Realizing that local solutions may be misfits for offshore or multi-national groups?
Leaders want to know how to effectively:
- Work with people from different cultures, with varied value systems and work schedules
- Build and manage virtual teams, often across conflicting time zones
- Collaborate and share over continents or oceans
- Support team members who are challenged to settle and assimilate into a new country culture (without missing a beat)
- Build cultural competence in managing overt and covert diversity
- Bring together global leaders for dialogue, planning, visioning and building alignment around organizational strategies
Continuum offers solutions targeted to meet the needs of our “going global” clients. Read through some case studies below and, as each case and solution are unique, call to take advantage of our free consultation.
Going Global Case Study: “Global Leaders Meeting”
Challenge: An international NGO brings 100 organization leaders and Country Directors from around the world together every two years for a week-long summit. They needed high levels of engagement, dialogue and action focused around clear outcomes. NGO executives asked Continuum to work with an internal team to maximize results through design and facilitation of the event.
Continuum Solution: To ensure maximum engagement and heighten awareness on both the executive and attendee sides, Continuum led a series of global focus groups with meeting participants to define critical outcomes. Partnering with the NGO’s internal planning team, we crafted the summit framework, then selected organization leaders to design and facilitate the different segments. Continuum coached and guided the individual presenters to develop their content and identify ways to enhance attendee interaction. During the summit, Continuum orchestrated all aspects of the event to ensure seamless movement and maximum engagement, to capture key learning points and to stay on track to meet summit objectives.
Outcome: The NGO executive team noted a significant rise in onsite engagement and discovery of key learning points. Feedback from attendees and later from affected department heads led the NGO to call upon Continuum to provide further customized services to assist the C-suite. Additionally, Continuum has now designed and facilitated three of their global meetings to date.
Going Global Case Study: “Hi-Po Coaching”
Challenge: A global pharmaceutical company client had identified a high potential employee as part of their program to develop top talent. The woman came from Italy to work at a U.S.-based site and was having difficulty understanding and navigating the local culture. She was unhappy, her former stellar performance was dropping, and the company feared they would lose this valuable employee.
Continuum Solution: A Continuum Coach developed a six-month coaching program focused on cultural assimilation, to help the leader gain greater understanding of both U.S. and site culture, learn how to navigate team politics, rebuild confidence and re-engage with team members up, down and cross the chain. The customized program included input from the leader herself as well as key members of every team or audience the leader touched.
Outcome: Peers and management marked a great improvement in her interactions and her goal attainment swiftly returned to high levels as the leader’s new understanding of her environment increased her confidence and positively affected her ability to navigate the culture and politics of the local site. She has since progressed into a leadership role at one of the company’s new U.S. sites.
Going Global Case Study: “Global Team Dysfunction”
Situation: A large pharmaceutical company had multiple Manufacturing Science and Technology department teams located in various countries around the world. Common goals of the global teams required collaboration and sharing of information to achieve results, but the groups were experiencing conflict, competition, lack of trust and breakdown in communication. Results were sub par.
Continuum Solution: Continuum worked with an internal team to survey key members and gain a better understanding of situation dynamics. The first priority was to improve work relationships between a specific U.S. team and one in Ireland. The Continuum Consultant designed a nine-month intervention that included multiple components:
- Feedback surveys –each team provided confidential feedback and expressed what they needed from the other team to be more successful
- Virtual meetings – used to facilitate discussion and increase understanding of core issues (both common and site-specific) and to allow shared responsibility for solutions
- Cross cultural training program – including personality and conflict profiles for the groups and its individual members
- Individual team retreat – one each for the U.S. and Ireland sites, to confidentially surface issues and educate each about common cultural differences and working styles for the other site
- Combined U.S./Ireland team-building retreat – pulling together all components, the retreat focused on building trust, communication, collaboration and cultural understanding. Specific problem areas were identified for the group to discuss and create strategies for improvement.
Outcome: At the end of the initiative, the groups crafted an “Ongoing Engagement Plan,” a list of shared agreements for working together, a process of accountability, and agreed methods for addressing potential conflict or lack of understanding before negative effects are manifested. In addition, the groups designed Action Plans, including timelines, laying out the groups’ recommendations for improvements to present to management.
Upon reviewing program outcomes and the teams’ new working processes, their MS&T leader stated that the increase in communication and trust were already evident. At this time, informal reviews show positive results have been maintained.