Leveraging Differences to Maximize Globally Dispersed Work Teams


Teamwork and work teams are an increasingly crucial part of any business or organization. Teams are entrusted with major tasks, projects and deliverables in every kind of business, and they play a pivotal role in helping organizations exceed revenue targets and accomplish corporate goals.

The global economy has redefined traditional team models to incorporate the dynamics of working with diverse employees, both in the local and global marketplace. Yet in the modern workplace, teams are often distributed at sites around the globe, and members come from many different cultures. This makes collaboration difficult, especially due to real and imaginary boundaries.

In order to maximize a team’s efforts, the successful leader must leverage the diverse backgrounds, values and perspectives of the emerging workforce. He or she must address and acknowledge these boundaries so that teams can surface the issues, have a dialogue to overcome them, develop strategies and move forward. Then only can they commit to the hard and sometimes uncomfortable work that lies ahead.

The literature around diverse teams has proven time and again that:

  • 90% of team failures are caused by support-system problems
  • 80% of the value of using teams comes from within teams as they find a way to bridge differences and work together. 

All that is required is a little nudge in the right direction to continuously leverage the differences in our work teams to accomplish, and perhaps exceed, the business goals.

Ila Gandhi