How To Keep Diverse And Dispersed Teams Collaborating

1/13/2015

When colleagues are not only culturally diverse but are working on a project from different locations, team leaders are faced with some of the challenges that come with diverse and dispersed teaming. These challenges range from the existence of cultural gaps to practical difficulties brought about by employees being based in different time zones and having different technological capabilities. Yet despite the difficulties inherent in working on diverse and dispersed teams, they are increasing in prevalence as globalization continues to change the world’s economy.

But there are effective strategies for managing diverse and dispersed teams. As an example, team leaders at Intel devised a strategy based on work by Morten Hansen titled “Collaboration.” The key is engaging users across three foundational needs: Know Me, Feed Me and Connect Me. Here’s a look at each of these needs and how they can be addressed:

  1. Know Me

Leaders are encouraged to engage team members in role-based collaboration that has a unique format, sequence and context. These collaboration sessions should include features that engage team members across multiple aptitudes, generations and cultural preferences. Leaders must set expectations from the start so that team members know what to anticipate and can envisage an outcome of the collaboration. The COI can be used here so that team members can gain deeper insights into their own cultural preferences and review individual results, gap reports and group aggregate reports.

  1. Feed Me 

The content of the collaboration sessions should also be delivered over the web so that it is available when and where team members want to access it. It should take context into account and be up-to-date so that attendees can understand and easily find what they are looking for. 

Team leaders should provide micro-social environments that enable team members to share new ideas and information in bite-size chunks and preserve the content for others to learn from. All of this should be done while offering ample support for enhanced performance by actively managing, and providing resources and mentoring.

The Cultural Navigator supports this with unique content on 108 different countries, over 500 learning components and robust comparison features that allow individuals and groups to leverage their COI results.

  1. Connect Me

Finally, leaders must build collaboration at both the internal and external levels by providing collective and social engagement that is topic-based, focused on information exchange, and that fosters a community of helping others.

The Cultural Navigator enables paired work, team collaboration and broader community engagement with a neutral, inclusive vocabulary to help describe and ultimately leverage different work-style preferences. It is a perfect resource for leaders and members of diverse and dispersed teams.

Ila Gandhi