Global Insurance Giant – From Local to Global Teams – Help is on the way
An insurance company which had been structured as a multi-local organization, changed the organization structure to focus on a global strategy. This meant that employees who had previously focused on their own countries, were now requested to work across borders with colleagues from different countries.
The Academy quickly identified the need to support the newly created multi-cultural, multi-location teams. They advertised the availability of team support, and upon the request of the team leaders, asked us to facilitate teams to improve collaboration with a focus on cultural diversity.
We consider each team unique and our approach is to deeply understand the context, team dynamics and aspirations. Although each program was unique for each team, generally the team workshops were 1.5 days and included the following topics:
- Cultural diversity and the impact on the team
- Team purpose
- Team diversity of roles (often using Belbin Team Roles)
- Building trust and relationships
- The process towards agreement on how to work together – creation of a Team Charter
Over the years we have worked with many teams in this company who needed support to go past the blockades that had prevented them from becoming highly collaborative, successful, multi-cultural teams. We continue to work with this company as they progress on their globalization journey.
Global Imaging and Electronics Company: Train the Trainer in the Academy
The employees of a multinational imaging and electronics company were increasingly using technology to communicate and strive for results with colleagues and other stakeholders. Unfortunately the employees were experiencing frustration due to difficulties of working with people from different cultures and trying to build trust with people one rarely meets.
The academy of the company had the talent to facilitate courses, but lacked the content to support the development of cultural competence and virtual competence for their employees.
Theresa was brought in because of her expertise in cultural competence development, working virtually, and workshop design.
Theresa and her colleague created a Train the trainer program which focused on building cultural competence and working virtually. The program included a 3-day Train the Trainer workshop, a pre- and post-workshop exercise to be done virtually, and support for the design of the actual internal workshop. The attendees for the workshop and virtual exercise were Academy leadership and trainers, and business representatives.
The client appreciated the collaborative approach of the Interact colleagues, and the deep knowledge on the topic. The interactive style of the Train the Trainer program fit that of the Academy, and the internal trainers were able to apply most of the exercises, examples and case studies into their own design.
The popular course was offered as an in-class training as well as a virtual learning module.
Interact Global often collaborates with Corporate Academies to design offerings for talent development. Often we are facilitators of the courses themselves, or are asked to support the design of the workshop to be facilitated by internal trainers. We are honored to support continuous learning through our facilitation, design or content expertise.
Packaging Manufacturing Company – Leading Across Cultures Remotely in the Academy
“I had the opportunity since 2000, to work with colleagues from different part of the world, and even to relocate to different parts of the world. I had to “learn” the hard way about working with and leading multicultural teams. This course puts lots of structure into to the understanding and learning of this very valuable capability. With this structure, and deeper understanding, it will enhance my ability to continually improve myself to lead multicultural teams around the world.” Course participant
The organization had restructured such that teams and lines of responsibility would cross borders, generally, but not exclusively, within a geographic region. This meant that employees who previously collaborated with colleagues down the hall, or in a building on the same campus, were now on teams with colleagues thousands of miles away. The 5 regions were large – Americas, Asia, Middle East and Africa, Europe and Greater China.
In addition, cost cutting led to travel restrictions.
Teams needed to work virtually. They needed to communicate, make decisions, build connection, brainstorm, monitor and achieve shared results all in the virtual space. This was new for a company that had preferred face to face, even if this meant extensive travel.
Problem: Leaders and managers fell into the virtual space like everyone else –learning by doing. Unfortunately this is not the most effective manner and teams were struggling. Employees became frustrated by the excessive time, lack of results, and difficulties experienced when working with colleagues located in other countries.
The Corporate Academy and Business Leaders wanted to support their managers through the change to becoming a virtually connected organization by providing a workshop that focused on working with other cultures and leading virtually. The title of the course is Leading Across Cultures Remotely.
Collaboration with the client
The starting point of all client work is deep listening to the client as they describe the needs, the organizational culture, the vision, and the organizational strengths. Theresa also seeks the connection points so that workshop sessions are not experienced as a stand-along events, but integrated with the rest of the organization and learning journey.
The collaboration began during a pre-pilot event where Theresa showcased her ideas for the 2-day workshop. The client used this opportunity to give feedback on the plans, and together they considered the best design and messages for the participants. After the pre-pilot they followed-up on the changes virtually and quickly agreed on the final design.
A month later participants from all parts of the globe attended the two day pilot. The pilot was very well received and only minor changes were necessary for the final workshop design.
The course has been offered and well-attended for five years. Originally the course was only offered to managers and directors. After two years of positive feedback, the client opened the course to all levels in the organization – a recognition of the necessity for everyone who works virtually to develop the competence to do so effectively.
Solution: Course in the Corporate Academy
The two-day workshop consisted of three key sections:
Understanding Culture and Building Cultural Competence
Leading and Working Virtually
What Next: Developing the Leadership Competences
Feedback from participants:
Diversity on one hand give the opportunity to find better solution, but on the other hand need a clear understanding how the culture can impact how do gain this potential. How to structure and lead a virtual cultured team is of great value for me and I will change based on the learning.
I had the opportunity since 2000, to work with colleagues from different part of the world, and even to relocate to different parts of the world. I had to “learn” the hard way about working with and leading multicultural teams. This course puts lots of structure into to the understanding and learning of this very valuable capability. With this structure, and deeper understanding, it will enhance my ability to continually improve myself to lead multicultural teams around the world.
The instructor was very knowledgeable and knew how to pitch the information at the right level. I hope many other my colleagues who are leading such multicultural team globally, will also have an opportunity to attend such a course. I think many will benefit – especially for those who has not the opportunity to work overseas in a totally different culture. It will benefit the company a lot more… my humble opinion.
The client was so happy and impressed by Theresa’s facilitation approach and her ability to engage the group with her interactive style. They also valued her practical approach and ability to make the research relevant. Although Theresa has an easy friendly style, she is also able to gently challenge long held beliefs which may be limiting.
Instead of using local facilitators to roll-out the program, the client insisted that Theresa facilitate all the workshops around the world. They recognized that her style and approach fit perfectly with the material in a way that would be difficult to replicate.
Henk den Dekker
Managing Parnter Trompenaars Hampden-Turner December 2014