Earlier this month I worked with clients in Shanghai and Beijing, delivering ‘Inclusive Leadership: Global Teams’ programs. Every time I return to China, something is new; construction, digital apps, and ways of doing things. The appetite for development and progress, coupled with the speed of change, never ceases to be surprising. What struck me most on this visit was the extraordinary level of digital integration of the economy and how people from all walks of life, and in all elements of their personal and professional lives have so fully engaged in this process. China is rapidly moving to a cashless economy. WeChat is the ‘hub’ for daily life, not only for personal and business communications but also for payments – whether it is paying for noodles at a roadside stall, transport, or buying groceries.
While I was in China, I met with my clients in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and through a series of workshops we explored the differences and similarities between offices, remote teams and regions. We discussed channels and methods of communication, and how being an inclusive leader enables their teams to be more effective, build trust and relationships and minimise misunderstandings. We worked though how to communicate across multiple teams and locations to ensure information was shared and, most importantly, universally understood. At the conclusion of the workshops, we built a team communication charter. This charter will enable leaders to apply the models, skills, and knowledge they have learned to build capability, inclusiveness and, most importantly, trusting relationships across the room and across the country.
All of our clients around the world are going through some level of digital transformation, and there is a greater focus on global and virtual team collaboration. At Beasley Intercultural we are using new technologies to deliver learning programs, coaching and advisory services globally, and we too have adjusted the way we communicate and deliver our services. For example, this week I co-facilitated with Matilda, one of our lead consultants in Canberra, to a group in Rome, in an interactive group coaching session. With another client, I facilitated a masterclass, from Sydney with participants in six different countries as part of their six week global mobility preparation program. Each participant will be relocating to a new country and workplace in a few weeks, and we’ll continue the learning journey with them once they arrive.
Such engagement is now a normal part of how we work. In adjusting to this ‘new normal’ – there are some skills required. Even with these huge technological advances and new ways of interacting, issues and challenges effectively communicating across diverse teams and locations still exist. How do you work with people you never see face to face? How can you ensure others ‘get’ the urgency of your requests? How do you ensure ‘buy in’ and commitment?
The most rewarding part of our work in the past couple of weeks has been seeing the relief among participants when they realise that the struggles and challenges they are facing are normal. Once patterns can been recognised, it’s then possible to apply key models, tips and techniques to minimise misunderstandings, build trust, and enable better collaboration. A lot of people will now benefit from working with less frustration in a more productive workplace!
Beasley Intercultural regularly delivers Inclusive Leadership workshops, master-classes and executive briefings to clients in Australia, Asia and around the world. If you would like to know more please contact us.