Mind the Conflict Gaps: Turning Cross-Cultural Communication into Skillful Interaction
Today’s global enterprises rely on virtual and cross-cultural communication to get things done. But distance and diversity can lead to misunderstandings, lack of attentiveness and severe cultural gaps that hamper productivity. The mission: Turning this disadvantage into a major advantage. The tool: Effective coaching.
Every experienced executive or project manager within global organizations has a bagful of similar stories about cultural gaps. An American team in the United States working with an Israeli team in Tel Aviv, for example: they can accomplish great things together, but they can also create non-stop communication crisis. The reason? Distance and diversity.
Almost everyone agrees that virtual teams and cross-cultural teams can accomplish things ordinary teams cannot, but they also agree that the conflict gaps can be many and large. Team Coaching designed to train teams to deal with the realities of the virtual world, as well as to increase the productivity and flow of cross-cultural assignments, appears to be a powerful solution.
Coaching for skillful interaction
So, can skillful interaction be taught? The answer is yes – but it’s a process. The first step is to reveal good intentions that exist between team members, in order to build (or rebuild) the foundations of effective communication across virtual channels. Long distance work relationships can be hard – but positive intentions and thoughtful communication can go a long way to make things easier.
The next step is to equip team members with tools that will allow them to sustain the feeling of “teamness” within non-trivial circumstances. Team members struggle with the temptation to disconnect, not express frustrations and live in silence – a temptation that is much stronger than accepting the challenge of sustaining a team atmosphere and open communication. However, when team members feel “teamness”, their commitment to their mutual goals grows, as well as their overall contentment. They also become more attentive and sensitive to other work and communication cultures. Teams must learn how to bridge gaps and continuously build communication bridges. This is achieved via team coaching.
The Lead Process
Evaluation & Assessment
Choosing the appropriate
method and tools of action