Project Management

Think Globally

Gary Keller

To develop and lead cohesive global or multinational teams, project managers need to be mindful of cultural cues and customs. Some are subtle, others may seem obvious, but they all can be critical to maximizing performance.

The opportunity to lead a global or multinational project team can be a complex, challenging assignment, requiring the skillful coordination of different time zones, varying language skills and diverse cultural values.
As with most projects, global project managers must understand that their primary accountability is to lead people and secure their willingness to work together to achieve results — not to manage the technical aspects of the project. Technical micro-management often delays progress and inadvertently causes the team to "push back" rather than "pitch in."
The global project manager's second vital obligation is to absorb chaos, process it, and respond with options that drive solutions. Customers will pay virtually any price for leaders who provide resolution to problems and generate good feelings. On global projects, this value can increase exponentially.
Before the first team meeting, carefully analyze who is on their team (male/ female, level of technical experience, education attainment, etc.), the culture in which team members live, time zone differences, the…

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"Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."

- George Bernard Shaw