Stragilon design

Strategic Agile Innovation

Our mission is to drive leadership and agility to boost your organisation's performance and innovation power. Develop and grow people's success in a fast changing world.

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Cross Cultural & Diversity Lab

Stragilon has built up specific expertise of bringing multidisciplinary teams together to collaborate better. With our clients, we bring new work models alive and rethink the status quo that may exist in the mindset of team members in order to function more effectively. Fostering a diverse workforce both in experience, perspective, lifestyle and background are part of that expertise. We help to create a true culture of inclusion and by doing so we create milestones to attracting and engaging the brightest minds and shaping a fulfilling workplace for our clients.

Our mission in the area of diversity is to advocate cross cultural cooperation by facilitating, producing and supporting multidisciplinary workshops in the area of diversity, cross cultural competence development and inclusion. We do this by focusing on the results the organisation, team or leader wishes to achieve. This allows for the results orientation to become a strong factor binding the teams and overcoming cross cultural differences, avoiding an us versus them mechanism.

Leadership is a crucial factor in managing an international workforce and cross cultural diversity. It is a crucial factor in managing a workforce all together, but even more so in an diverse cultural setting for some of the reasons we have already discussed in the other items above: geographical distance, the risks for cultural misunderstandings & misperceptions in a situation where there is a lack of leadership and so forth.

Roger Schwartz gets to the bottom of this in his book “Smart Leaders Smarter Teams” in which he describes a situation with a lack of leadership or rather a failing mind set from the leader of a team which he calls ´unilateral control´. This mind set as described by Schwartz “is one in which a leader attempts to make others do what the leader wants them to do – unilateral control. Leaders think they’re acting in the best interests of their organization. Yet unilateral control consistently generates sub-par results.”

So this could even be seen by some leaders as a sign of leadership as Schwartz points to the fact that “unilateral control is especially vexing because most leaders are not consciously aware that they’re using it. And while unilateral control behaviours are sometimes blatant, often they’re subtle”.

Roger’s leadership solution is what he calls “Mutual Learning, a comprehensive approach that enables leadership teams to get to the heart of their toughest challenges. Through Mutual Learning, the team works together to shift its values, assumptions and behaviours so that leadership is invested in the full team. In this way, Mutual Learning builds on the strengths, talents and knowledge of the entire team.

An important element especially in managing a cross cultural diversity is the value of curiosity as leaders often have less difficulty in being transparent than applying a value such as curiosity.

They are often not very interested in how other people think. Yet this is the way a leader can find out what the team members are thinking, what is on their mind, how they function, what motivates them. Leaders need this information to build and adapt their team strategy so without curiosity, the strategy is at risk.

Curiosity means the leaders need to replace ego with empathy and focus on the team members instead by being curious and asking questions.
Curiosity can lead the team members to share their way of thinking and how they got to this way of thinking, making their reasoning public. Once the reasoning of team members is clear, it becomes easier to understand where the team stands, where it is heading and what is needed to get optimal accountability.

In a diverse cultural environment this curiosity becomes a very important – if not the most important- element as per definition the geographical distance will make it harder for team members to fully share their way of thinking & their reasoning. So without curiosity, this information will not surface. By showing curiosity, the team leader can build and adapt the right team strategy to achieve optimal results. Needless to say the other values such as transparency, accountability, informed choice & compassion are also important but we won´t delve into them here as curiosity is probably the one that is most at risk in an international team setting.

Research has shown that this interaction is actually very valuable and can be a key differentiator in team dynamics, especially when the team is international and working across different locations.

Author and Professor Mary Shapiro refers to this research in her work at Simmons Business School when she mentions the difference between task goals and process goals. We think and talk about the metrics of success that are focused around the outcomes. We think about deadlines and what we want to accomplish. We don´t usually spend a lot of time on how we are going to accomplish that. Process goals are about describing the types of relationships the team members will have, how they will interact with each other and how they will cooperate to reach the task goals. An example of this would be how the transferring of skills will be organised within the team.

So, by organising the process goals, by discussing and describing them, it becomes clear how the cooperation within the team will be organised. Different cooperation styles will come to the surface allowing the team and the team manager to discuss and decide on cooperation styles. If cooperation styles are not discussed you have the risk a part of the team will be working with a collaborative cooperation style whereas other members of the team will have a very competitive attitude. If there has been no discussion about what the style will be, the risks for conflict and failure increase.

These are only some of the examples we focus on during our cross cultural labs, working on cross cultural inclusion and focusing on successful results for the teams and clients we are supporting.

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