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Cross-cultural Intelligence 1.0: Engage your worldwide team

Created on 25 June 2008 Written by Karina Jensen
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You’ve developed the global project plan, polished the strategy, won approval from the sponsoring executive, and presented it with great fanfare to your worldwide team. As you wait for the accolades, the plan surprisingly draws mixed reviews from your stakeholders and team members around the world. Team Europe directly voices its discontent with the lack of local adaptability and elects to create its own game plan. Team Asia congratulates you on the new plan and quietly continues its own course for the project planning phase. What went wrong?

When there’s a lack of cross-cultural checks and system reviews, many project managers will start feeling the painful effects of a global backlash. This is often the result of a US-centric focus without local input and participation. Symptoms include the lack of a global vision, difficulties in communicating across cultures and functions, poor response from international team members, and increased delays in project timelines. According to the Global Minds Launch Survey, there are typically six warning signs or challenges that companies experience prior, during, or after a global rollout:

• Lack of effective international planning
• Loss of organizational mindshare across regions
• Inconsistent project management across cultures
• Lack of localized tools
• Delayed delivery worldwide
• Inadequate global and local response

When the cross-cultural intelligence factor is ignored, team performance and project results can suffer harmful consequences worldwide. Without an effective international roadmap and culturally appropriate tools, it becomes difficult to execute the global strategy. Frustration and anger then leads to a communication breakdown around the world. Global and local stakeholders no longer feel a strong connection to the project and become easily distracted by competing priorities.

Global project management requires the ability to build and nurture relationships based on trust, respect, and consideration around the globe. This requires local participation and input from the planning phase to the implementation phase. Engage every country team member by soliciting their input and feedback on local needs and requirements for the global project plan. Align regions through a project management process that offers a globally consistent structure yet local adaptability. Develop a communication strategy that ensures knowledge transfer across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. With early involvement and support from key stakeholders, you can ensure the successful rollout of a geo-centric plan that incorporates a multi-culturally diverse audience.

What’s your global readiness quotient? In the coming week, read the next article and get a cross-cultural check-up for evaluating your global project best practices and lessons learned. A bientot. Auf wiedersehen. Hasta luego. Sayonara.


About the author:


Karina Jensen is an international management consultant, instructor and facilitator with nearly 20 years of experience in launching business and education initiatives across cultures. She is the founder and principal of Global Minds Network, a consulting firm that facilitates global market success through effective planning and execution solutions. Click here to see her full profile in LinkedIn.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 August 2012 22:43
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