Replicamos aqui as dicas quentes sugeridas no artigo “‘Locals,’ ‘Cosmopolitans’ and Other Keys to Creating Successful Global Teams” publicado pela Knowledge@Wharton desse mês.
Try to meet at least once face-to-face, says Weisenfeld. “There is evidence that when people have even just one face-to-face meeting, it makes virtual teams work much more smoothly.”
Choose team members carefully. Find the right balance of locals and cosmopolitans, Haas suggests. Don’t overlook soft skills such as interpersonal communication abilities, Rothbard adds. “Often the technical skills get prioritized very powerfully over teamwork skills,” she says.
Keep the team small if possible. “Teams optimally work most effectively when you have five to seven individuals,” says Rothbard. “As you get larger than that, it becomes more challenging. You need to be very careful as you start going above that number. You need to be clear that you are adding value… I’m not saying you can never go above that number. You just need to make sure that you know there’s a tradeoff.”
Consider cross-cultural training. According to Reyes, best-practice companies “train in cross-cultural communication, project management, teamwork and stakeholder management” and they “provide guidelines and support for chartering teams, selecting communication and collaboration technologies, and building and maintaining trust in globally diverse settings.”
Be explicit upfront about how the team will operate, making no assumptions that some things should be obvious or understood. Bing worked with a team once that called a meeting and forgot to include one member on the email. The man thought he had been fired. The reality: Nobody had sent out an email list of who was on the team. “Who’s on the distribution list? How will we communicate with each other? What technologies will we use? Just establishing appropriate protocols is important,” Bing says. “Come up with a team culture that says, ‘We all agree that this is how we’re going to work together.'”
Be conscious of time. That means not only time zones but expectations of how long tasks should take, how long meetings should be and when they are expected to start and finish. This is especially important if the team is composed of members from different cultures who have varying concepts of time, Weinsenfeld remarks. If the meeting is at 10 o’clock, for example, team members from Germany could show up at nine while those from Brazil might not dial in until eleven. “If the meeting is one hour, you can be sure that people will miss each other,” she says.
Consider how the team is organized. Be aware of conflicting interests of team members. Reyes suggests forming sub-tasks to pull the group together and counteract the tendency to splinter along cultural or geographic lines. Teams are easier to manage if everyone is reporting to the same individual, Weisenfeld notes.
Don’t overload team members. Haas says her research has shown that a team’s effectiveness is compromised if its members are too overloaded with tasks. These can be tasks for the team itself or external projects that team members have to complete in addition to their work on the team.
Give the team autonomy. Being autonomous is one of the key factors to a global team’s success, Haas has found. Teams that have no control over their budget, are beholden to outside interests or have little authority to make decisions about tasks and resources struggle to meet their goals. Without autonomy, Haas says, a global team’s scheduling efforts, cross-cultural dialogue and efforts to increase information-sharing could well go to waste. “How good is the team if they don’t have the ability to act on what they know?”