What Does “Diverse And Dispersed” Mean?


In our globalized and highly connected world, there are more and more teams that describe themselves as diverse and dispersed. While we may hear the term “diverse and dispersed teaming” often, what does it really entail, and what do diverse and dispersed really mean when it comes to work teams?

Diverse refers to teams comprised of persons from different national, organizational, functional, team, affinity group or individual backgrounds. Dispersed refers to colleagues regularly conducting business via means other than face-to-face communication, from holding teleconferences with partners on the other side of the world to instant messaging someone down the hall.

Professionals often view this reality of diverse and dispersed teams and organizational structures as a handicap, a requirement of business today that must be tolerated but that they avoid as much as possible. Many actively resist the trend toward modern digital communication with such excuses as, “My camera isn’t working on my computer,” or “I don’t have time to talk to anyone outside of my team.”

But the fact is, virtual teaming and communication are an inevitable part of business life now, and they will be in the future. If business leaders can alter their frame of reference to what business communication will continue to look like, and if they deliberately work on the skills necessary to be effective in the digital workplace, they can connect authentically at the human level while maximizing their efforts to achieve business goals.

To achieve this, entrenched behaviors need to be addressed and team members inspired to dedicate their full enthusiasm to building their work communities and maximizing their efforts.

The Cultural Navigator is of great use here. As a virtual learning tool, it is available on any kind of device, anywhere and at any time. It is full of interactive and engaging activities that teach users such valuable skills as how to communicate and collaborate across physical and cultural distances. It also hosts the industry leading and psychometrically validated Cultural Orientations Indicator assessment, which helps users learn about their work-style preferences and learn how to connect with others who have different preferences.

Diverse and dispersed teams are here to stay. Organizational leaders can leverage the Cultural Navigator to help make virtual collaboration among culturally diverse team members much more effective.

Ila Gandhi