The Global Leadership Team – Part 1

Separated by time. Separated by distance. Separated by cultural differences.

Meet the global leadership team.

They are comprised of people living and working in various parts of the world. Sometimes all team members are remote. Usually some are co-located. The global leadership team faces many of the same challenges as a co-located leadership team, but require additional attention and intention to be successful. Consider these challenges that often derail global leadership team efforts.

  • A team within a team forms where President and a few team members who are co-located meet to discuss topics that should involve all team members.
  • Time zone differences and other logistical barriers get in the way of team members spending time together, thwarting efforts to build trust and respect among team members.
  • Resources are hoarded within various business units or silos, partly because of a lack of information sharing, partly because of the reward system, and mostly because a lack of shared goals.

So the question is – how can a global leadership team be successful? Much of what needs to be done to create a successful global leadership team is the same as creating a co-located leadership team. But, there are a few nuances to consider.

We believe there are three key components to making a global leadership team work.

1. Cultivating the team with agile leaders.

2. Intentionally creating the team’s Cultural Building Blocks.

3. Building trust and respect among team members.

Let’s explore all of these areas in more detail.

Cultivating the Team with Agile Leaders

Imagine a team with its corporate headquarters in Finland and part of its executive team in the United States. Or how about a team with corporate headquarters in the United States and business units in Spain, France, China, and Japan.

The complexity of the global decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming. And the flexibility needed from team members to make those decisions in the face of cultural differences is enormous.

Agile individuals who succeed on global leadership teams…

  • Seek to understand others. They know that differences aren’t wrong. They are just different.
  • Constantly work to develop self-awareness so that in the face of cultural differences, chaos, and complexities they can remain in dialogue with their team members.
  • They are patient and good listeners.
  • They have tolerance for different perspectives, ways of seeing the work, and culturally accepted methods for work.
  • Are open to learning about and utilizing different communication technologies.

As you build and grow your global leadership team, look for agile leaders first.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post where we’ll focus on how to intentionally create the team’s Cultural Building Blocks.

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