Ask Joy: Managing Culture Differences on Global Teams

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Question: Julia from New York asks, “How do you handle cultural differences across global teams?”

Answer: Thanks for the question, Julia. Various regions may have different culturally accepted behaviors, but remember that this does not mean that their requirements are less important. Hear them out. Figure out how they communicate and work with them in the way that works best for them.

Use the culture training you all go to to understand what to look for. For example, be careful of getting a yes or a no answer, because people may just give up or some cultures are more discreet they won’t be direct.

Use the global business objective to align the team. You might find that the business users from different regions have different priorities. Set a global objective together, and use it when there are conflicts.

Also, avoid an “us” vs. “them” feeling. Include everyone in every discussion. Don’t talk in the halls, stop and get them on the phone.

At times, it may feel like you are going through motions, but think about other people, it does matter to them and they will notice you are doing it.

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