You are attending a meeting with your virtual team. Everything seems to be going well, and then the team leader mentions a decision she recently made about an interface element with another team. She had attended a regular meeting of the other team and provided them with an update on the progress of your team. At a certain moment, a question arose about your area, which was blocking progress for the other team. While she attended the meeting, they all discussed the topic and made a decision. Now progress can continue. What is your reaction?
- You are glad a decision has been made so that progress can continue. The team leader had a general idea of your position, so you assume that was the best decision to be made at the time. If not, then changes can be made later. You will connect with your contact on the other team and start moving forward.
- Of course the team leader made the decision, that is her role. She has the best overview of what needs to be done. You will go forward with that decision and connect with your counterpart on the other team.
- You are disappointed. She has made a decision on your scope of work, and you should have been part of the discussion. She could have called you in, or better yet, she should have invited you to the meeting ahead of time. At a minimum, she should have told the other team that she needed to speak with you and set up another meeting which included you. You feel bypassed and not treated as an equal.
Scenario A: Some countries may not be very hierarchical, but they like it when decisions are made. Then progress can continue. They consider the process of consensus building to be inefficient and time wasting. Although they value high quality decisions, they recognize the value of speed, and do not mind the extra energy necessary to correct a decision if the situation changes.
Scenario B: Some countries believe the person higher in the hierarchy is there for a reason – they have more experience, intelligence, and oversight and can make the best decisions. Questioning their decision takes precious time, and is unnecessary.
Scenario C: Some cultures have a more egalitarian mindset and believe everyone’s opinion should be heard and everyone can contribute to the decision. They tend towards consensus building, which takes time, but is also a manner to ensure everyone is engaged. People are motivated by being included.
Culture Cubes are common generic scenarios to trigger reflection on different perspectives. They are not meant to encourage stereotyping or labeling.