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Going Global #3: Build Your Global Network

Created on 28 May 2008 Written by Karina Jensen
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It’s a global initiative just waiting to happen. You’ve got the plan and you’re ready to go. But where’s the team? How are you going to recruit, dazzle, and motivate your international team members? All of a sudden, you may find yourself spinning circles around the globe. Don’t get lost in foreign territory. Get your world map out of the closet and locate your global network.

Whether you’re introducing a new vision, implementing an internal process, or launching a new product, a successful outcome is always dependent on team alignment. Building your network of team members across functions and regions takes careful planning and relationship building. So where do you start?

Create a networking strategy! Bring out the organization chart and identify your key drivers and influencers for the following:
1) Strategy Team (Executive sponsors)
2) Core Team (Functional and Country members)
3) Project/Launch Management Team.

Then you’re ready to assess your networking space. Do you have the appropriate foundation to build a network across the organization? Is everyone aligned with your new mission or vision? Is your core team onboard and committed to the project? Is the project management team aligned with influential groups within the organization? And finally, are the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions aligned? If you answered no to any of these questions, you will need to apply your networking strategy.

While it’s important to get global input, you also need to assemble a diverse team that can cover all aspects of launch and key touch points worldwide. Expand your global knowledge base through a capable team with international experience and understanding of local requirements.

The key challenge for meeting worldwide launch goals is increasingly shaped by external market demand for timely delivery, localized product, customer focus, and sales readiness. The success or failure in meeting global sales goals is dependent upon internal capabilities to execute on local market needs. In the Global Minds Network Global Launch Report, several participants acknowledged the persistent challenge of moving from a US centric mindset to a global mindset in order to capture mindshare across the organization and around the world.

The Global Launch Report further showed that effective launch management and coordination was often hampered by the lack of consistent processes and failure to support regional needs. When evaluating organizational capabilities in achieving global marketing and sales goals, participants provided the lowest ratings for team collaboration and communication, global training programs, localized sales support tools, and international experience of US teams. Corporate culture and organizational communication played key roles in achieving alignment, accountability, and actionable results across functions and cultures.

The art of networking is based on the ability to build and nurture relationships based on trust, respect, and consideration around the globe. Keep in mind that you need to add value for international team members. Share your thoughts on the new project and welcome advice and feedback from country participants. Engage team members by recognizing their local implementation issues and welcoming their ideas at project meetings. Simple advice for aligning your global teams and ensuring project success!

The next piece of advice requires a healthy dose of communication to keep the network alive and buzzing on the worldwide tour. Language lessons to follow in the next article …

 

About the author:

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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 31 July 2012
 

Cultural diversity in your project team

Created on 27 October 2007 Written by Jean Binder
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Image © Carole Nickerson | Dreamstime.comHow can international, cross-cultural teams, increase the success of your global projects?

 

“In the age of globalization, it's crucial to understand diverse cultures, customs and etiquette to avoid misunderstandings that could be bad for business”. Ruben Navarrette Jr., will address ‘The Diversity Asset’ in his keynote speech at the PMI Latin America Global Congress 2007 in Cancun, suggesting that diversity - whether based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or even ideology - is an asset to be harnessed rather than an obstacle to be overcome. He suggests that diversifying a company's work force is something you do not for the good of society – but for your own good. “If you don't embrace the presence of minorities around you, chances are your competitor will, and he'll eat your lunch. If you don't believe in the benefits that come from different perspectives and experiences, (…) then move along and don't block the merchandise”.

 

In my own experience, multicultural teams do a better job when performing projects and providing services to companies (or department) around the world. These teams can understand the needs of their geographically dispersed stakeholders, by many different ways:

 

1) People with international experience can identify patterns of behaviour, which are similar to their own previous experiences.

 

 

2) International teams can combine diverse ideas on brainstorming or problem-solving sessions

3) International teams have less tendency to think that “our way is the only way”, or to neglect standpoints coming from other locations. By learning to handle the inevitable internal conflicts (coming from the different cultures present on the team), the team members understand and accept diverse opinions generated by multiple cultural experiences and values. 

When you have the opportunity to chose the team members that will form your global project team, try to include as many cultures as your target customers or key stakeholders, generating functional conflicts and increasing the quality and customer satisfaction levels of your project.

 

 

 

 

Sources:  

PMI Community post, 26 October 2007 

Navarrette, R. (2007) ‘These days, diversity is a matter of survival’ Union Tribune, 19 August 2007

 Image © Carole Nickerson | Dreamstime.com 
Last Updated on 31 July 2012
 

HR selection and global projects

Created on 12 August 2007 Written by Jean Binder
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On some occasions, the allocation of people to the project team will be based on the availability of resources, and the influence of key stakeholders or partner companies. The project managers may evaluate the previous experience of the team members on global projects, organising training and coaching to avoid clashes between different personalities and cultures, avoiding negative conflicts and increasing the productivity and team spirit. The recommendations in the “Global Teams” and “Global Communication” sections provide a solid foundation for this process.

 

On other occasions, the selection of the project team will be one of the first responsibilities of a project manager, consisting of internal or external recruitment based on the project needs. The section “Global Project Structures” can serve as a basis for the preparation of human resource planning.

 

International organisations can develop a standard process to follow when preparing resource plans and allocating qualified people to work on global project teams. The chapter 12 of the “Global Project Management” book discusses the selection criteria for global project managers, coordinators and team members, and suggests a process to recruit, select and train people around the globe. This information will help international companies and global project managers to appoint the right team members independently of their current or future locations.

Last Updated on 31 July 2012
 

Global team members’ skills

Created on 12 August 2007 Written by Jean Binder
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Technical skills and specialisations are not the only elements to consider when evaluating potential team members to work on global projects. Previous research on project management identified that team members must have a set of ‘global skills’ to work effectively on global projects (Majchrzak and Malhotra, 2003; Turetken and Jain, 2004).

These global skills involve the ability to work remotely and openness to other company and country cultures, some examples being:

           Global communication

           Global experience

           Global thinking

           Culture awareness

           Tolerance for ambiguity

           Good organisation

           Reduced need for social interaction

 

Sources: 

Majchrzak, A., Malhotra (2003) 'Deploying Far-Flung Teams: A Guidebook for Managers' 

Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A. (2004) 'Enabling knowledge creation in far-flung teams: best practices for IT support and knowledge sharing' in Journal of Knowledge Management, April 2004, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 75-88

Turetken, O, Jain, A. (2004) 'Achieving Successful Telecommuting Outcomes - Assessing the Impact of Work, Individual and Technology Factors' [online] Available from http://mis.temple.edu/research/Documents/Telecommuting%20Success.pdf [17 September 2006].

Last Updated on 31 July 2012
 

A mindmap on HR selection for global projects

Created on 01 February 2008 Written by Jean Binder
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Download a mindmap that can help you to develop methods for the selection of human resources on your global project.

Click here to download a mindmap on global HR Selection

Click here to see a list of other mindmaps.

Last Updated on 31 July 2012
 
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