Grow | Blueprint to Building High-Performing Diverse Global Teams

 Grow | Blueprint to Building High-Performing Diverse Global Teams

Blueprint to Building High-Performing Diverse Global Teams

“Awareness is not something that stands by itself. Everybody is aware that cultural diversity makes most sense throughout the business world. At the same time, you must have something that calls after it. I call them the three A’s awareness, advocacy, and action.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are no longer just moral imperatives for companies with global aspirations. DEI policies now act as proven growth drivers for international corporations that are not only looking to consolidate a competitive edge but also tap into the largest global talent pool available. In a global business world driven by the prevalence of remote work and the promise of tech-driven, fast-paced growth, what are the key elements behind consolidating high-performing, diverse global teams?

Suki Fuller, Founder of Miribure, and Thomas Merchant, Senior Manager Brand Communications at Globalization Partners, tackled the issue in this session of PANGEO, the world’s largest global employment conference.  

How does elevating cultural intelligence, and engaging cross-cultural communication improve a diverse global team’s performance?

Fuller opened the discussion by stressing the importance of the three A’s: awareness, advocacy, and action.

  • Awareness is opening people up to concepts they either do not understand or are required to. It is the first step toward building up strong notions of diversity. “Challenge the past, but also learn how to embrace it,” said Fuller.
  • Advocacy is constantly, consistently reminding people of their increased awareness so they may act on it. Reinforce it so it can produce the type of behaviors you expect to be commonplace in the workplace. “It boils down to listening and acknowledging,” explained Fuller.
  • Action is the behavior that makes change happen. Acknowledge the actions and behaviors produced from the first two stages and gauge ways of going further to continuously reinforce that behavior, so much so that company culture becomes almost indistinguishable from your employees’ values.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to attaining diversity within a company, there are best practices proven to have worked, which  companies can use as a basis for their diversity goals. 

“Especially with startups, I always look at the way the company is formed. All of the habits, behaviors that you want to be reinforced as a positive, you need to make sure they’re there.”— Suki  Fuller, Founder, Miribure

What is the importance of having a mindset of openness and inclusivity, and how can companies aim to create this?

The very essence of a company is the talent that forms it. Each and every single person has inherent experiences, values, and preferences that dictate behavior. It is essential that companies find systemic ways to address those individualities so they can each merge into the company’s notion of inclusivity. 

“You can write anything down, you can mandate anything. But if people don’t agree with it, they ‘re not going to go along with it,” stressed Fuller. Here is where the first steps are crucial. “It’s always hard to reverse and reintegrate behaviors after the fact, when you’ve allowed them to go on for a long period of time.” Openness and inclusivity must be then treated as the core of a new company’s vision and values. “If you’re a company, your bottom line is going to hurt if people do things begrudgingly. They self-sabotage if they don’t like the environment.”

How can companies overcome the challenges of managing cross-functional teams effectively?

Fully functional and effective cross-functional team management is one devoid of silos. When you are going through the team-building process, having as many voices as possible is critical. 

“Give people, your teams, access to other individuals working in other departments. Once they know where they fit in that big puzzle, it allows that company to function better,” Fuller said.

Remote work provides a unique, albeit perhaps unintuitive, advantage in the cross-functional team buildup effort. Relying on a remote workforce also enables employees to foster a more culturally diverse mindset. 

“They may have to reach out to a colleague who is in Southeast Asia as a subject matter expert,” noted Fuller.“There is more openness, willingness to understand other people’s cultures that didn’t really exist before. It is more widely accepted because when we are at home, people are more comfortable talking to others. You are in an environment you’ve created for you.”

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