My mission is to help people around the world become more resilient in the face of an ever more chaotic world.
We can change world using small groups working for common goals.We must work on our local problems because that is where our ability lies. But regional and global problems require a common effort. We must bring local groups together to solve global problems. The International Union of Conservationists for Nature (IUCN)is the oldest and largest international conservation organization in the world. Their approach is to coördinate and support the conservation efforts of local groups. In our modern world the person who controls the data has the power.
For instance, ivory poaching is not just a problem for Kenya, it is a global problem because China and the USA are the biggest world markets for black market blood ivory. The internet gives us the tools we need to share local problems with the world and to find the support needed to solve major environmental problems.
Globalization gives us both problems and opportunities. One thing we know is that globalization will continue in ways that are difficult to imagine. If we are to use globalization effectively and for the benefit of humanity we must access and share appropriate data. We know applications that help people work together must be easy to use and immediately functional. The cloud facilitates access to common data which can be used by geographically diverse teams in real-time. The problem is to pull it all together in a way that facilitates team building.
Building effective global teams become exponentially more difficult as projects become more complex.
Leadership for changing the world must work with local teams from around the world to build team trust and commitment to common goals. Leaders must understand cultural differences and work to improve cultural sensitivity within the team.
TECHNOLOGY HAS MADE GLOBAL TEAMWORK an everyday reality for thousands of people.
Software developers in the United States and Europe work with programmers in India to design systems and write code; bankers trade a common book of US government bonds around the world 24 hours a day; medical specialists collaborate with local doctors in remote regions to diagnose and treat rare conditions; and country managers coordinate production plans and marketing campaigns across Europe. Video conferences, voicemail, electronic live-boards, the Internet and corporate intranets, groupware, and virtual team rooms are just some of the technologies that enable people to work together no matter where they are based, giving them access to countless new business opportunities. Yet many corporations have invested millions of dollars in top-of-the-line technology, only to be disappointed when there is no commensurate improvement in performance. Although technology creates business openings by enabling us to communicate with colleagues and business partners in far-flung places, we cannot rely on technology alone to capture them. Human relationships are still paramount.
The ease with which people can contact one another in today’s business world makes them forget how difficult it is to work well as a team. But effective teamwork is hard to pull off at the best of times, and if team members come from different cultures, speak different languages, and seldom have the luxury of face-to-face meetings in which to size up their colleagues, it can prove a nightmare.
Teams that perform well recognize that there are essential disciplines that must be established no matter where they work. In their book The Wisdom of Teams,* Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith identify four such “team basics.” The first three basics can be attained whether or not team members work in the same place. To begin with, a team must have complementary skills that together will be equal to the task in hand. Second, it must establish goals and individual and collective accountability for achieving them. Third, it must agree on a common approach to getting work done.
The fourth basic, a common purpose, is a lot harder to achieve and, unlike the others, not easy to quantify. A common purpose is what binds team members to the task in hand. Unlike business objectives, which tend to be industry or product-specific (credit ratings in the investment bank’s case, for example), common purpose must harness individuals’ pride and seize their imagination as something worth effort and sacrifice. It is often arrived at only after team members have struggled through debate and reflection – but along the way, trust deepens, members start to feel connected to one another, and energy is released that catapults the team to remarkable levels of performance. This is an intensely personal process, however, and Creating a common purpose thrives on face-to-face meetings.
De Hock, in his book “Birth of the Chaotic Age”, describes the management system he used to create VISA. His problem was he had to work with bankers all over the world on a new concept and with 1000s of people. He could not tell anyone what to do. He developed a system of communication that basically laid out a gant chart and developed a team of experts who would choose what they wanted to work on. They were free to work on more than one objective at a time and move from one project to another whenever they wanted. As manager, his job was to make sure nothing was overlooked, identify those areas that were not progressing, ask for volunteers to address the lagging problem and, if a volunteer did not step forward, find the experts needed to address the problem and get it moving.
Perhaps we shall just have to accept that teams denied the chance to build close working relationships may never be as effective as those that do. But we can also take heart from the fact that teams that couple the use of technology with the discipline needed to build common beliefs, trust, and a shared space in which to work can come a very close second.
My personal experience is, by using webinar technology to help communicate face-to-face, we can build the trust and commitment to a common goal that every team must have. All of my team speaks English, so I have not had experience in team building with people speaking different languages. Even the United Nations needs face-to-face meetings facilitated by translators.
The first three elements of team building simply require a system of planing like we discussed. Often, creating a vision, developing a mission statement and defining objectives can best be accomplished by a small team working together in a traditional face-to-face group discussion. They can come very close to accomplishing the same thing by using an interactive webinar. Once the mission is defined, it will be easier to build a team to accomplish the mission. The scope of the mission will determine whether the project is a community, regional or global issue.
Global Teamwork is Critical for Solving the Ivory Crisis. We have to work together and address ivory poaching from all sides including shutting down ivory manufacturers and sales. Hawaii is the hub for black market ivory sales from the United States of America.
An interesting collaboration tool
During our Future of Work series, Industrial Color gave us an exclusive look at their recently released digital LightTable. The app employs the touch table from Samsung and Microsoft, giving users the ability to interact with images, video and mock-ups stored on the cloud-based GLOBALedits media software. Using the 360-degree multi-user touch screen — aimed to give creatives the tactile experience akin to a light table or editing room — and making use of the gesture commands that people have learned from Tablet interaction, users are able to mark-up approve, kill and design layouts as many professional would in the analog world.