In this first half of 2020, over the past months we all took on working remotely. Whether you and your teams already had a strong experience of working from home or very little exposure in the past, you likely observed creativity and agility at play as teams quickly figured out how to be effective.
The benefits of a newly connected workforce can be further leveraged by global teams by continuing to apply practices that worked and ensuring the conditions are in place for excellence in execution and a fulfilling experience for team members. These practices and principles include:
- Relationship and shared commitments are the foundation of effectiveness for a global team. This is of course valid for all teams, however, sometimes forgotten when launching global projects. Take the time at the beginning of a project to co-create an inspiring context, listen to all team members share what this project will make possible for them, for their local teams and local business, for the company as a whole. This conversation can be forgotten if it is not brought to the forefront on a regular basis.
- Aligned mandate and outcomes need to be explicit. What this team is out to accomplish may seem obvious to some team members and the outcomes implicit. From observation, clarity of the mandate and end results is often missing, or insufficiently shared and aligned on. Make sure all team members are clear about the expected outcomes, how they interact with local imperatives, what decision rights the team has for speed of execution, and who has the final say in escalation processes.
- Conditions of satisfaction create workability. Again, this holds true for all teams, and global teams will have some specific practices to create. Conditions of satisfaction enrich the commitment to the outcomes by clarifying what will make this a success in terms of how the outcome is produced, including our ways of working and commitments to each other. For a global team, this will include practices to manage the time zone differences, what is acceptable for our meetings, and how we leverage the global availability with shared work and clear hand-overs.
- Regular touchpoints, oriented towards action, increase the speed of execution. A global team is quite powerful as it can leverage the diversity of experience, thinking, and perspectives beyond what can be provided locally. This diversity can also bring challenges in culture and different understanding of what it will take to produce the outcome. Take the time to share expectations about work practices, what accountability looks like, in action, and how the team will share and resolve the inevitable obstacles.
What other practices would you recommend to increase speed to execution for global teams? What have you taken on newly in this new era?