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Meetings auf Englisch - Multinationale Teamarbeit Teil 2

Schlagwörter: Meeting auf Englisch, Meetings auf Englisch, Englisch Meeting, Konferenz auf Englisch, Englisch Konferenz, Besprechung auf Englisch, Englisch Besprechung, Meinung Englisch, Meinung äußern Englisch, sich äußern Englisch, Vorschlag Englisch, Vorschläge Englisch, Multinationale Teamarbeit

More than 90% of senior executives from the world’s leading business economies have named intercultural leadership as one of the top management challenges of the next decade.

It would be easy to misunderstand this statistic to mean that organisations face this challenge because of the growing problem of intercultural diversity within their workforces. After all, it’s hard enough managing interpersonal issues ( think employee relations and corporate politics ) when the entire workforce shares one language and culture. It’s even harder when management shares one culture, and the workforce is made up of hires originating from multiple cultures, as is often the case in German firms. This is, however, not what the statistic means.
What is really meant is not that intercultural management is a challenge because of the growing intercultural diversity of the workforce. The real challenge is putting intercultural management practices in place that make it possible to take advantage of diversity to achieve more. The statistic has to be viewed from the positive standpoint: not what must be done, but what could be possible.

Time is critical
In standard business practice, a team is built because a project has been slated for completion by a certain date. The workforce must now be mobilised to make it happen.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when wishing to take advantage of the power of intercultural diversity is to decide that the way to a better solution for a project that’s ready-to-execute is to use an international team instead of a local one. The thinking is often cost-driven: let’s design it here, and execute using a team of individuals that cost much less. In most cases, however, this approach forces the organisation to deal with intercultural differences without making it possible to reap the benefits diversity can bring. The risk of time delays and additional management costs are great – and often enough to eat up any savings achieved by using lower cost employees that may be located elsewhere.
The optimal time to bring an international team together is during the project’s conceptual stage – even if the business believes “the people who know how something needs to happen” are “here”. Bringing an international team together during a project’s conceptual stage has two very big benefits:

The cultural and knowledge differences may impact how a project – or even a product – is conceived. The team may even identify a completely different way of doing things that is faster, more effective, or results in higher quality than the competition can deliver. In effect, an intercultural team can help avoid “groupthink” – the tendency for everyone from the same culture to think the same way about something.

Bringing people together during the conceptual stage of a project is an outstanding team-building opportunity. When one has contributed to an idea, one is usually more excited to turn the idea into reality. This ensures a higher level of motivation. Those on the project also get to know each other better over time. This heightened familiarity helps avoid intercultural conflict and offence by developing greater tolerance.

Intercultural management: key concept

Avoid viewing diversity as the way people are different. Instead, view diversity as what people may be able to offer because they have had very different experiences. They offer, in essence, what you don’t know you don’t know. And exactly this knowledge could be the key to success

Key principles

As mentioned, tension, irritation, offence and a passive refusal to work together in an open way are difficult enough with a team that is not culturally diverse. On a culturally diverse team, the management techniques one uses to diffuse these situations are similar. But the real secret to successful team management in this case is to try to prevent intercultural differences from becoming problems in the first place. This requires a step that managers who believe in a strict hierarchical management process may have trouble with: include the team members in team management issues. This means it is important to develop intercultural understanding between the team members. You know what IQ is: Intelligence Quotient. The equivalent in the intercultural management area is CQ, or “Cultural Intelligence Quotient”. Studies have shown that most people have a very low CQ. It is up to the intercultural team leader to help develop each team member’s CQ during the project, as this enables diversity to begin yielding the desired result.

Different ways to get things done
Perhaps the most common area of friction encountered by Germans when executing a project with people from other cultures is created by cultural differences in the way of doing things. In German culture, the typical approach is to plan everything out in advance, understand where problems could arise, present a plan of attack with the reasoning behind it to management and then – after management approval – execute the plan. This is in direct contrast to British and American thinking, for example, where the approach would be to understand the high-level, address the most important potential problem areas and then – assuming a good intuitive feeling – decide as a group to proceed ( with management guidance ). This leaves Britons and Americans in the position of wanting to start and Germans wondering how they can possibly be willing to rush ahead with so many unturned stones lying in the road.
Conflicts can occur in all levels of the project. For example, German team members may be waiting for clear decisions from management before proceeding. With management acting in a guidance ( also known as “empowering” ) role, decisions never feel so clear. When the roles are reversed, British and American team members can easily feel insulted by a German manager’s “marching orders”.
The only way to prevent things from getting out of hand is to identify and discuss the cultural issues in advance. Each team member’s CQ must be developed at least enough to allow him to function on the team in a productive manner without starting to feel as if things are being done “the wrong way” and as if he is being offended by specific team members because of his communication style.

Schlagwörter: Meeting auf Englisch, Meetings auf Englisch, Englisch Meeting, Konferenz auf Englisch, Englisch Konferenz, Besprechung auf Englisch, Englisch Besprechung, Meinung Englisch, Meinung äußern Englisch, sich äußern Englisch, Vorschlag Englisch, Vorschläge Englisch, Multinationale Teamarbeit

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