“The key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential…the needs of the team are best met when we meet the needs of individuals persons.” Max Dupree
To lead teams in multi locations takes open-mindedness and clear goals. Leaders who are able to maintain a fresh view on life and the world are the best people for this type of assignment. The ability to lead teams across the multi locations and/or the world requires the following:
“Conflict is inevitable in a team … in fact, to achieve synergistic solutions, a variety of ideas and approaches are needed. These are the ingredients for conflict.”
Solution Thinking – because of different time zones and cultures it takes patience, resiliency, and ingenuity to find places, times and ways to connect. Having the mindset to focus on “how to make this work…”, “I wonder if there is a better way…”, “Could we explore….”, are all the right beginnings to finding new solutions. Finding solutions are not a straight path, it takes being comfortable in ambiguity or conflict until an answer which meets the needs of the many appears. The ability to stay engaged with others during ambiguity or conflict is critical to building team and good solutions.
“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself/herself and her/his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” Norman Shidle
Commit to connect…a lot – the teams that thrive across the world are the ones who commit to regular and consistent connection as a team and as individuals. Face-to-face is always best, Skype or FaceTime are next best, phone is the option if the other two are not an option. All the other electronic mediums are weak tools to building real connection.
Conflict is It! – expect it, there is no way to work around conflict and it happens even more in a multi-location and cultural company. Those who work in these environment have to get very good at sensing conflict and learning to work with it. Ignoring conflict or using it for your benefit will harm the team and it’s success.
“Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.” – Casey Stengel
Build Trust – Commit to keeping the team in the loop on long term vision and goals regularly (even when it does not seem big to you, it is important to all), make time for team building activities (taking the time to bond strengthens short and long term performance…every time), engage and involve the team on designing new solutions or changes for the company and organization, encourage (and expect) personal contact and communication among all members, and have quarterly meetings which bring the players together in one room.
Leading a world wide team is not for the faint hearted or the arrogant. The type of leader who excels at this has the ability to be flexible, open minded, goal oriented, intelligent, solution oriented, non judgmental, opportunistic, aware, engaged, and invigorated in the face of ambiguity and conflict.
“Real teams don’t emerge unless individuals on them take risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence and hard work.” Katzenbach & Smith
“Attributes of successful world team players – agile with new technologies,
adept at learning new methods, processes, concepts and ideas, curious about different cultures, able to travel to different sites and countries, responsive to customer needs, and they are autonomous and don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder.” Center for Creative Leadership
If you are a leader that is looking to grow and learn… than join others on this new frontier of global leadership and find yourself changed and honed to a new level of leadership.
“You can’t change others, you can change yourself, and when you change yourself….you change the world.”
Take the Challenge,