Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Key steps to adapting in new global business environments

    The key element of adaptability is being comfortable with not being in control of how situations naturally evolve;   particularly where chaos appears to be occurring.   The skill is to let go and trust the process.   Important elements of adaptability are:

1.  Education--Understanding the explicit and implicit dimensions of a different culture (e.g. verbal/non-verbal communication)

2.  Psychological Openness--Willingness to alter one's beliefs, attitudes, values, tastes, relationships and world views in adapting to a different culture.  For example, many Asian cultures value integrity, relationship, and trust as a basis for business.

3.  Cultural Immersion--Willingness to become part of a host culture to such an extent that you feel a natural part of it.

4.  Time Adaptation--Realization and acceptance of the pace of meeting customs in a different culture.  For example in many Central and South American cultures, time is relative--not absolute.  Meetings may not start "on time", people may come "late", the agenda may be general, etc.  On the other hand, certain central European cultures are very precise regarding time.

5.  Work Practices--For many cultures, family and family relationships are primary.  In such cultures, people "work to live" rather than "live to work".  Even in the US, the cultural values of American workers from some generations are transforming to give up the "fast track" in favor of family.

6.  Cultural Context--Western cultures tend to be more rigid in thinking, whereas Asian , Middle Eastern and South American cultures tend to be more dynamic based upon the situation.  The former are called "low context" cultures and the latter are called "high context" cultures.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Top 8 tips for virtual collaboration and virtual teaming

1.  Team members are expected to adopt and adapt to new information technologies as necessary for rapid information processing and dissemination.

2. Team members must be “open” and “resilient” to a variety of changing assignments, tasks, and responsibilities that may require new learning.

3. Team members are required to have (or learn) superior collaboration skills (both cognitive* and functional**) in working with other team members regardless of location.

4. Team members are expected to operate both independently (with the least amount of management ) and interdependently (in cooperation and supporting other team members) in defining their roles,
planning and prioritizing their activities, and executing their responsibilities with a high level of effectiveness and efficiency.

5. Team members must learn and master the essential interpersonal skills of teamwork and collaboration—trust, respect, integrity, honesty, and sensitivity in working with others.

6. Team members must view their inherent differences as the source of breakthrough innovation, creativity, and competitive business advantage.

7. Team members must learn the practical skills of participating on and leading virtual teams, such as agenda preparation, expected outcomes, information dissemination, and follow up report and future
activities in specific time frames.

8. Team members must adapt to divergently different cultural workstyles, e.g., high or low context, polychronic or monochronic, and Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric.

* Cognitive skills refer to one’s mind-set with respect to responsibility, accountability, acceptance of others, collaboration, etc.
** Functional skills refer to one’s behaviors that follow from a proactive
mind-set, such as coaching, information sharing, planning
with others in mind, proactively changing

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