With the changing face of work culture, team building, diversity and inclusion today are proven to increased work performance, cash flow and revenue. When asked what is team dynamics or team building, a simplistic thought would be a force that influences a team’s behavior and performance. Although that being true, the global landscape has seen a change over the years where companies can now benefit by having not only a diverse workforce but one that has employees working from different parts of the world, leveraging the strengths of local knowledge, expertise and varied experiences thus gaining a competitive advantage.
Having said that, on the flip side, it is generally seen that building a successful team with local people that share the same office space has its challenges as no two individuals are alike. Considering people working remotely from different countries, there is a higher probability of miscommunication, misunderstandings that could lead to distrust and thus affecting productivity.
From my experience, having worked in the Middle East and in Canada both for local firms and international multi-cultural firms, communication, leadership and emotional connection between team members towards a common vision is key to develop successful teams. Working at Rel8ed feels just that. With a strong team dynamic, Rel8ed’s success lies in its people from different cultural backgrounds across different parts of the world coming together to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the customers we serve. An interesting read from a Harvard Business Review publication considered a SPLIT framework to manage social distance – Structure, process, language, identity and technology which I strongly believe is applicable to our successful team.
First, since our team for the most part work remotely, each member across the globe have a feeling of oneness as all ideas are discussed in a virtual meeting as opposed to a breakdown of various work sites. The common goal is highlighted at weekly conference calls and the group comes together discussing individual and collective progress, thus providing a platform to suggest ideas and collaboration.
Second, looking at process, most discussions are informal thus building a sense of empathy and mutual understanding. Other than routine planned discussions, an unstructured time to discuss personal developments help build those relationships and trust that the team needs. For example, sharing stories from one part of the world to another create a sense of belonging and foster sharing of ideas.
Third, as highlighted earlier language and good communication between the team drives effective knowledge transfer, decision making, innovations and successful performance. Each member is motivated to speak with a balance in participation. This ensures inclusion. Through open communication, discussions and a combined vision, there is high sense of psychological safety where the team openly share ideas and feedback with one another.
Fourth, understanding each member’s identity. Each country may have a difference perception of a statement or body language. For example, someone in one part of the world who says “ Yes, I can work on this” might mean that he/she is willing to work on it alone where as someone from another part of the world may simply signal that he/she would like to take a stab at the work but maybe hopeful for guidance or feedback. Hence open discussion and asking of questions help understand what every team member strength and challenges in a task.
Finally, technology and method of communication. Considering the time differences for a global team, a mix of planned video conferencing and emails give the team the flexibility they require to be productive.
Rel8ed strives to accomplish these key factors to manage social distance teams effectively, thus being able to maximise the talents, strengths of team members. Rel8ed is an organisation where everyone regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, or cultural background feels accepted. The diversity of the team brings our purpose and values to life each day, striving towards a common goal of fresh innovation, improved decision making, improved performance and stronger business results.