I have 37 years worked in a international company where there have been regularly conflicts between parts of the company , and this mainly due to culture differences, but also due to lack of awareness of the fact that the success of the company was depended on the connectives and relationship of his different parts .
Inspired by a article of Mr Shawn Kent Hayashi, I can summarize the following:
Business is more complex than it has ever been.Companies have to compete in a global economy, and must collaborate in and across teams and learn their way through complexity.
Companies are open systems, consisting of subsystems , but also belonging to bigger systems such as market systems, legal systems, etc....
Each system has a different behaviour created by the structure of the system.This structure is made of the interconnection of people, all with their own mental model:values, beliefs,...
So we can say , that all elements of the system has their own culture, and this is leading to complexity in collaboration and very sensitive for conflicts.
For a international company , doing globally business it is very important to be aware of this , to acknowledge it ,to respect it and to look after different paths to be successful.
What can be done ?Here some tips:
Raise awareness about potential conflicts.Acknowledge and learn that cultural differences, thinking differences, physical distance , greeting habits, meeting habits ...can separate team members.
Understanding and communicating around this will allow leaders to prevent conflicts.
Learn about communication styles :Everybody is communicating in different styles depending his education , knowledge , country of origin , etc..Communication by telephone and mail will make it still more difficult to assure that the communication is well understood.A common language has to be created so that everybody of a team can communicate effectively with each other.
Acknowledge that conflict and frustration is inevitable in solving complex problems.It is not likely that we will see things the same way but we have to be open to discuss it and to create a shared vision.
We'll all need to put our puzzle pieces together, and explore ways to fit them together to see what possible solutions emerge.
Establish a different mindset of failure, because each mistake will give us feedback for learning.Therefore failure stories should be shared across the teams , not only from your own teams but also from others in your industry.
5.Create the learning organisation:these are the Five disciplines ( P.Senge)
- Think in systems
- Accept mental models
- Team building
- Shared vision
- Personal mastery