Successful Strategies for Global Projects
By Alicia Trelles-Duckett on August 23, 2012
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No doubt installations in other geographies come with their own inherent set of challenges. Currency fluctuations; centralized versus local procurement; languages; time zones. And those are even before considering difficulties due to the particular technology being deployed, or the source of spare parts, or infrastructure in the country. This discussion aims to introduce a technique which can help you increase the acceptance of your initiative in other geographies, as well as resolve any disagreements quickly and with much improved team spirit. No, it is not the traditional Project Management methodology: I will not start extolling here the virtues of the “Project Charter”. The magic ingredient in international projects, as I have discovered throughout 18 years of successfully deploying such, is treating our colleagues from other countries in a manner which puts them at ease. Notice that this recommendation goes well past the tired old adage: “Treat those from other countries with sensitivity”. That much is obvious, and we would certainly try to conduct ourselves thus. The recommendation is to approach colleagues from another geography with a demeanor they would find in their own country. In other words, if you are dealing with Brazilians, try to ‘act Brazilian’ as you collaborate with them; if you are working with a Finn, try to ‘act Finnish’. So how do we develop a good picture of what ‘acting Australian’ or ‘acting Japanese’ might entail? Fortunately, there’s excellent research on intercultural cooperation we can consult. Fons Trompenaars’ Riding the Waves of Culture, or Nancy Adler’s International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior are some of the best books on the intercultural topic. My personal favourite in the “intercultural” arena, as relevant today as when its first edition was published in the UK in 1991, is Cultures and Organizations: Software of...
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