An ICI certification workshop alum recently led her company’s talent acquisition team through the process of pursuing ICI training and early steps to implement what they learned together about intercultural and cross-cultural teaming. The team works out of two countries to cover recruitment needs across the Middle East and North Africa (with recruiters based in the UAE and their extended support team working from India).
Anticipating how Inter-Cultural Intelligence might be useful
For this team’s particular composition and specific challenges, ICI training was an optimal solution! The team was growing rapidly—especially the support services leadership and staff. There had been multiple changes in leadership. With representatives from both MENA and India, the team and sub-teams were truly multinational. Communication barriers were affecting both operational efficiency and relational harmony.
Certain issues are a standard worry—it is possible for a team to grow “too quickly,” and there is a danger of focusing too much on the operational, transactional side of things as opposed to paying attention to soft skills and high-performance teaming. The UAE-based team members had been working to strengthen bonds among themselves, and they wanted to see change spread to the extended team in India as well.
From the India extension of the team’s perspective, there was a general feeling of being excluded or somehow being viewed as “less than,” told what to do instead of asked, as though they were not being thought of as professional peers. From the UAE-based team members’ perspective, there was a great desire to increase efficiency and to achieve higher performance levels—and a general feeling that their vision wasn’t a joint one, that it wasn’t shared by the whole group. They also had the idea that perhaps the India-based teammates were being more protected than challenged, and that more focus should be directed toward their personal and professional development for the company’s sake, for their own sakes, and for the overall productivity of the team.
It had become difficult for both the UAE-based and the India-based teammates NOT to think of themselves as two separate teams. In actuality, they were each intended to be an extension of one another. Instead of striving together toward a common goal—one team with one vision—they found themselves emphasizing their value to the company in terms of responsibilities and tasks rather than collaboration and relationship-building.
Building a business case for investing time and money in ICI development
For team members who were already familiar with KnowledgeWorkx and how ICI training and Three Colors of Worldview could enrich a team in a multicultural milieu, it was clear that these tools would help this UAE-based/India-based team to strengthen relationships, to get a better understanding of how they might work together, and to tackle the cross-cultural and intercultural issues.
Here are the pivotal considerations that helped the leadership to determine whether ICI training would be beneficial for this particular team:
1) ICI training would help the group to focus on intercultural teaming (and by default, its link to higher performance).
2) ICI training would introduce the Three Colors of Worldview, helping the group come to an understanding of one another’s perspectives and biases, and to understand why some people react in the way that they do (partly because of the cultural paradigms in which they grew up).
3) ICI training would provide an ideal opportunity to take a hard look at inter- and cross-cultural communication barriers and ways to get around those, to resolve resulting conflicts, and to prevent future miscommunications.
4) ICI training would create a safe “third cultural space” for assessing and improving teaming in general: Building relationships and trust within the team (reiterating that “one team, one vision” idea, demonstrating a mutual value and honor; willingness to put time, energy, and love into colleagues; introducing and expounding upon the concept of a team charter, etc.).
In Part 2 of this case study, we share how this team anticipated and communicated the potential benefits of ICI training for individuals, for their UAE-based/India-based team, and for their company as a whole.
Quickly becoming the global preferred choice for Inter-Cultural Intelligence development, KnowledgeWorkx promotes mutual understanding of other cultures and perspectives in the workplace, and helps teams to develop the intercultural capacity necessary to thrive in a globalized world.