"I worked in several projects with global teams. Sometimes, you ask other members whether they understand the problem or requirement, they answer, yes. But it's not the truth... "(Alan)
"A lot of Western managers are completely at a lost when they encounter a 'high-context' culture, where the subtext is the REAL message"(Rene)
A project manager has a lot of responsibilities and not that much power: the people he works with depend on other structures and even other cultures. Because members of multicultural and multilingual teams more frequently disagree due to misunderstanding, misinterpretation and misperception, appropriate communication styles and strategies become vital for a projects' survival. Remember that the success of Project Management is due to western values and ways of thinking:
- Tasks come before relationships
- Hierarchy is not the ultimate decision criterion
- People stick to rules and agreements
- All information is explicit.
Adapting to Western management norms is not adopting them. In Global Project Management, the enemy is called "it is obvious", "it goes without saying", "it's self explanatory". Everything has to be explained, discussed, checked, understood otherwise misunderstanding will creep in and highly jeopardise or even destroy the project.
Living Stone Centre developped with Stanwick Management Consultants a culture learning workshop 'INTERCULTURAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT' recognized for its pragmatic approach:
1) Participants learn to detect when cultural differences cause a turn of events
2) They learn a vocabulary to describe situations (and bring down frustrations)
3) They reflect on an appropriate code shifting: cognitive, behavioural, communicative.
- Project (Portfolio) Managers (ICT, Operations, R&D, Finance ...)
- HR Managers who want to broaden corporate competence development
- General managers and change agents committed to make global projects work
- Frontline and back office workers involved in communication across cultures.
Improving Communication & Planning in terms of bridging the corporate/general cultural divide is a process & not a one-stop thing. Results/returns will be gradual & growing. It takes time in terms of warming up to it, implementing it and practising it. Regular coaching, workshops, exercise will channelise in bridging the corporate/general cultural divide.
CONTACT & INFORMATION: Lutgart Dusar or our customer service.