I was speaking at three events for Gartner’s Evanta Executive Summits last month in London and this question kept coming up so I’m sharing five ways to lead your global team:
1. Check that your well intended team activities will work.
Eye of the tiger starts playing. A very excited whooping CEO comes running down the aisles screaming at the top of his voice “I LOVE THIS COMPANY!”
I’ll never forget my first company all hands at Microsoft with Steve Ballmer running into the 25,000 employees packed into Safeco field baseball stadium. The majority of the US based crowd loved it. But had he tried that in front of a European audience he would not have had the same wave-your-hands-in-the-air-and-cheer reaction!
Don’t assume that everyone on a global team will want to participate in what is normal for your home country. Check first. (From this European, please stop forcing people to dance at the start of events, YMCA might be fun for some, but not everyone wants to do that!)
2. Your company culture beats country norms
The HQ country often sets the company tone of what is normal for how decisions are made, communication occurs, and how promotions and rewards occur. Learn that fast and don’t assume country stereotypes are always true.
3. Figure out your time zones fast
I can’t believe I am writing this basic one but you would be surprised how many non urgent calls get scheduled for 9pm on a Friday night. Time & Date has a brilliant meeting planner and can add your global cities on your iPhone to your world clock to always know what time it is when you call, text, or IM.
4. Understand how brilliant you need to be at sharing your brilliance
How acceptable is it for you, and how comfortable are you talking about your achievements? Historically this is harder for Europeans than it is for their US colleagues. But your company culture dictates what is acceptable and expected. So find out fast so you don’t suffer like I did when I moved from the UK to Seattle with Xbox and was shocked in my performance review when I was told I was average...because I wasn’t brilliant at shining a spotlight on my brilliance because it just wasn’t how I was brought up and I was worried about being braggadocios.
5. Hire globally if you manage globally
How many of your team were born elsewhere? Lived in other countries? Can speak languages that you need in your global business? You can’t run a global business with a group of locals so make sure your team reflects your market.
If you want a copy of my Cultural Continuum, let me know. It will help you start a conversation with your global team about what is usual for them, and how they experience your company.
If you are in the Bay Area on Friday July 26, I am running a free C Suite Women’s Executive Workshop - How to Become Brilliant at Demonstrating Your Brilliance.
Contact me if you want to be on the guest list.
John Chambers is the opening Keynote and I will be holding an Innovation Trifecta Workshop in the afternoon. More details here.
Dedicated to growing your business,
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