Human Capital and Diversity
According to the speaker Ricardo Fernandez working from home is the future. Millennials are happy with working from home even if means working longer hours and to work together as a team, managing a remote team requires a lot of relationship building skills and effort.
Something to build inclusivity and intimacy in the company would be Meeting a few times a year. This is necessary to create empathy and value long distance working relationships even more. Annual or quarterly meetings and or activities can be something to look forward to. Some of the skills managing a global team would be enhanced communication and having Culture awareness and inclusivity. (Fernandez, 2017)
Sourcing within your own back yard about different traditions can be a great approach into learning more. For example, we have a worker from Lithuania. Very outspoken person. Takes a stand when talking, really commanding presence. The problem was that she was talking over people all the times. If someone else spoke, she would speak even louder. Kindly letting that person know this behavior is coming off a certain way can cause awareness. Best universal mode for communicating with everyone would be verbally face to face to get a sense of how that individual person speaks. Asking if there are some accommodations.
One book that has always stuck by me through the years and which I have found to be helpful is how to make friends and influence people. In the end, it is always best to Know your audience, always relate to your audience in ways that build everlasting connections.
Youtube. (2017, June 15). Managing Cross Cultural Remote Teams [Video] Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIoAkFpN8wQ
Carnegie, D., & Press, G. (2016). How to win friends and influence people. GENERAL PRESS.
This video touches on a topic near and dear to me, as I work with international partners in my current position with the U.S. Army’s Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center.
Beyond the complexity of “teleworking” we all have faced in; international bilateral discussions between nations have shifted to virtual as well. As an example, just in the past two months we have had 4 virtual international with both English and non-English speaking allies. As my supervisor stated in one of these meetings, “even with ongoing pandemic, American researchers need to be plugged in with their international colleagues to understand state-of-the-art technology across the globe (Lafontaine, 2022)”.
Part of my responsibility in my position is to ensure our Leadership is prepared, to include understanding the cultural differences prior to entering these meetings. I have a cheat book I’ve compiled from the CIA with a bunch of useful facts on countries. Yes, the CIA stores a variety of information on their public website for each country which has a highlight about the people and society of that country to include audio samples of the langue and national anthems (CIA, 2022). The State Department has fact sheets as well, but I have found the CIA database to be more useful. Unless I have someone (either professional or friend) with direct knowledge of the culture we are dealing with, I always reference the CIA database.
Prior to a bilateral engagement, I always ensure not only my senior leadership has a hard copy of the CIA Fact Sheet, but I have a meeting to brief him as well. Beyond the scope of the meeting, I ensure he has simple things such as pronunciations correct. I work with my counterparts at the working levels in partner nations to ensure on both ends, this is correct.
As you may assume, with countries whose primary language is English, things are generally smoother. During a recent discussion with France, I needed to mute our (US) side and remind our briefers to talk slowly and ensure to annunciate words. But even with countries such as England, as discussed in the video my team was all baffled when the term “Tea book” was used. After a good bit, we realized that a tea-book is a notebook, would the English know what a notebook is if we said it? It’s a note I made to be aware of for future meetings.
Dealing with cross-culture discussions is difficult, even in person. The virtual aspect has added a new dimension. While this is not anything bad, it is important to be aware how your actions may be taken from a different cultures point of view.
CIA. (2022, March 10). The World Factbook. Retrieved from CIA: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/
Lafontaine, D. (2022, Jan 6). US, French Army advance C5ISR research partnerships. Retrieved from U.S. Army: https://www.army.mil/article/253115/us_french_army_advance_c5isr_research_partnerships