More than ever, people are connected and the world is increasingly globalized. As a growing company, entering new markets and defining new strategies is becoming more complex, having an international team can be a great advantage. A team gains in greater adaptability as different team members gain in personal flexibility and adaptation to changes. This is directly reflected in teamwork and productivity. The decision-making process is accelerated, allowing multiple teams to deliver and react quickly. Thinking about it, today I want to discuss the advantages of having an international team!
Having an international team at your disposal often means that the flow of ideas will be endless. Some employees or interns on the team may come up with ideas that otherwise would not have crossed your mind. That’s because working with people from other cultures gives you the freedom to receive not so conventional ideas based on a different culture, language and experience, which is great, because, like it or not, for your company this is synonymous with innovation.
In addition, if you have an international team, there is a good chance that you will not have a routine stuck in place like at the local office, which is a boost to productivity. Your team is sure to feel more comfortable if they are somewhere cozy, in pajamas and listening to music than sitting in an office chair and a screen in front of you. This is closely linked to productivity. If you have all these people, say, from Europe, America and Asia on your team, you will be constantly surprised at how different they think about certain things.
Diverse teams are identified by Jeffrey T Polzer in the Harvard Business Review as highly performant and creative due to their different approaches and ideas.
Now, imagine how important this can be when it comes to brainstorming! Why? Well, mainly because there is no right or wrong when it comes to brainstorming. The more ideas you have, the better! Not only will your co-workers contribute your personal experiences, but they will also teach you about what works in your own environment. Likewise, they will learn what works on yours, so that they have a chance to try many new things together.
In the 1990s, a study in Ireland connected an international team of exchange students in which no one was from the same continent and brought them together in a simulation-like game. They were supposed to agree on big decisions together and solve complex problems while competing against other teams. They had the opportunity to practice real-life problems and situations in a safe environment – something that is called a “micro-world”.
And what happened? They were able to develop decision-making, problem-solving and teamwork skills while working on several continents!
Through applied or project-based learning, these students practiced incredibly important skills in a purposeful way – not just for learning itself, but for real results. Furthermore, they were more motivated to work, because the more they worked, the more they learned and the better results they were able to see! And they were able to learn a lot more, as this type of approach promoted more learning and was more interesting for them. Both the organizers and the students in the simulation agreed that overcoming any technical difficulties would be worth the end result. As it turned out, this simulation (and such simulations and games in general) can predict a student’s future success very well.
From a business perspective, in today’s fast-paced business world, customers are increasingly expecting an answer or solution to their problems quickly. If your workforce is connected to the same place and business hours, it may mean that problems can go unnoticed or even unnoticed for a relatively long time in the eyes of the customer. By having a team spread over time zones, with a technology infrastructure that allows work flexibility, you can make your company much more agile and agile, which will not only establish a reputation for good service, but also allow you to capitalize on opportunities much faster.
According to Forbes, communication is one of the most important skills that everyone should be able to use effectively in the workplace. Communication can be difficult, especially if there is a difference of opinion. You may ask yourself: How do I provide adequate feedback? How can I learn not to take things personally, but to understand them as a way to improve myself? This is a skill that, like any other skill, needs to be improved. And what better place to do that than as part of an international team? International team members are likely to have completely different opinions, as they all live in different environments.
If you have a good manager, an international team can give you a huge advantage when it comes to dealing with conflicts or communicating in general. If you practice and learn to communicate with people from other parts of the globe, it will probably be very easy to resolve a conflict with your co-worker who lives on the same street.
Entering a virtual room of people whose customs you are not very familiar with is anything but comfortable. It’s exciting, to be sure – but it’s stressful to some extent, too. What you need to work in order to succeed in such a new environment is to become an adept at picking up social cues quickly. If you learn to “read a (chat) room” as soon as you enter – voila! – you will become a much better and much more productive team member, and you will begin to feel more and more comfortable with each new meeting or any similar situation.
Companies with international teams have the advantage of bringing together different knowledge and ideas, which allows them to offer a wider range of services to enter new markets. The knowledge and perceptions of the local market are strong assets, making the company more competitive. Several teams also contribute to a variety of points of view and more effective execution. A cultural melting pot triggers the creation of new ideas, concepts and tests.
So now that you have those advantages, what do you think about making your team go international?