The 6 Success Factors for Intercultural and Virtual Collaboration
A framework for collaborating based on Terence Brake's work with a French/Japanese merger.
Cooperation - Trusting relationships across the boundaries of geography, time zone, culture, and so on.
Convergence - Shared purpose, priorities, and direction.
Coordination - The roles, responsibilities, tools, processes, and methods.
Capability - Ability to leverage the experience, skills, and information the team has.
Communication - shared understanding (verbal, written, etc.)
Cultural Intelligence - Ability to include and value different styles.
In most teams, communication is one of the lowest factors. "If you want people to work together, you get them working" - so Terence created small working groups to help people make decisions: Communicate, Plan, think about leadership. He would send those working groups out with a laptop, they would select a scribe to record, and create operating agreements around how they would make decisions.
Their findings would go on a memory stick and be shared with the whole group. They would give their response, ask for explanations, and reach a consensus in the end.
Of course, that wasn't enough, they had to dig deeper: At the end of 2 days they would leave with a record of the operating agreements that they made for each other. Terence would follow up 3 months later, send them the 6 C's questionnaire again, and do a virtual session with them: France, Japan, and the United States.
In that session, they would go through results. For instance, "in the previous form you said Convergence wasn't what its supposed to be, but in the latest one that has improved. What happened there?"
The French and Japanese teams had quality controls, but no way to go beyond the task to the team collaboration process, no way to ask "How are we collaborating, and how are we going to collaborate?"