In this video, learn why communication lies at the core of project success. Discover why communication is everyone's responsibility and explore the importance of agreeing on English as the language of business.
- One of my clients is a German-based international company. The German project team members would habitually send their email requests and instructions in their native language to non-German speakers. An email can be easily copy pasted into a translation program which is precisely what the American and Mexican team members were doing. The problem is that the translations did not cover the precise intent of the original email request and the tasks performed were wrong, which triggered delays and rework that ultimately caused a late delivery to the customer.
What prevented this from happening again? When the team decided to find the root cause of the late delivery, they realized the standard they had all agreed to had been side stepped by a few team members. With globalization project teams have become more interdependent on players with diverse ways to understand things. So establishing a basic agreement on the use of English as a common language can help drive home the idea that with agreements we can better guarantee the success of our project.
Oh, please note that while I'm discussing English, because it's the language many global teams choose, you can apply these same principles if your team chooses to agree on a different common language. When should you establish this simple agreement? At the project kickoff when you're establishing rules and the team charter intended to drive behaviors or a successful project. First, be explicit about the important of effectively coordinating tasks and actions and how adopting one common language sets a standard to help avoid multiple interpretations of a request or an instruction.
Second, allow for a conversation about any concerns and discuss any valid reasons for disagreement before you finalize by making sure every team member explicitly acknowledges and accepts this agreement. This is an opportunity to listen to every player and work out any specific limitations or allowances. And third, make communication everyone's responsibility. If a team member deviates from this agreement everyone should be attentive for pointing out how the standard is not being followed and the risk of a misunderstanding through the outcome of your project and your customer.
Has the language of business been an issue in your international projects? Have you explicitly agreed on the importance of communication? Establishing this agreement with your team will make your project that much more successful.
- Recall how agreeing on a common language improves communication between global team members.
- Recognize the importance of a technical language skill level that includes relevant business vocabulary and terms.
- Explore how to correlate successful interactions with trust and respect.
- Identify obstacles to clear global communication including time zones, culture, and physical distance.
- Recall how to implement role clarity so that every team member understands their responsibilities.
- Review how the development of strong unambiguous commitments helps drive accountability.
- Explore how a one-team culture aligns everyone on the global team.
- Recognize the signs of a continuous improvement mindset in your global team.