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The effect of globalization and digitization is that our work is more complex and global. The speed of change is faster than ever. To stay ahead of competition, companies must communicate and collaborate more effectively, efficiently and inclusively across the globe. That is why Global Business Academy has created 8 competencies to increase global team performance. Vital, now that we continue to work remotely and team members are thousands of miles and cultures apart. The second competency we discuss in this series is: Remote Team Building.


Psychological safety

When my client Dow Chemical called me if I know anyone who provides training on psychological safety, I thought about it. I’d never heard about psychological safety but I knew someone who coaches teams so I gave a name. Then I ran into this phenomenon again, and again. I read a book about it. “Darn”, I thought, “I’ve been doing this for years, only I call it Trust”. And the author of this wonderful book has only highlighted psychological safety from an American perspective. How you create psychological safety in America is different than in Europe, Asia or Latin America.


“You’re a wimp if you don’t open your mouth”

I spent 16 years living in various continents. It’s funny how you see your own culture through foreign eyes when you return. In Dutch meetings, everyone has an opinion – whether you know something about it or not. You’re seen as a bit of a wimp if you don’t open your mouth. In addition, there’s little competitiveness here, so the Dutch have no fear to say something stupid. Because we dare to say anything, in a very direct way, we don’t understand that other cultures have difficulty with this. Yet at the same time the Dutch are very approachable and don’t behave as a boss. So we have our pros and cons in creating psychological safety outside the Dutch borders, just like any other culture, each in their own ways. Lowering the cons and upping the pros is the key to boosting psychological safety.



Another key element for psychological safety is inclusion. Your global team is clearly diverse, but does everyone feel that they are being heard? I remember a conference call when I was still working for Verizon. My Japanese colleague shared his insights. It was long-winded. His English wasn’t great. His accent was heavy. I heard my American colleagues fall asleep. But he said very, very valid things. After he finished, I recapped Koji’s messaged. You almost saw the Americans fall off their chairs. We listen more attentively to people whose English is native. We listen to people with the best speaking skills. But are they also the best? What vital information do you miss? And how about motivation? When your American colleague gets a platform again and again, do you still try to join the conversation? Or do you give up? Can you imagine how your softer spoken Asian colleague feels?


Global Team Building

Psychological safety, inclusion and equal career opportunities are the basis of your team performance, the development of new leaders and talent retention. It’s the basis of openness and transparency in which team members feel safe to share ideas without the fear of being foolish. Dare to report problems. Help and encourage each other. No doubt this is music to your ears. Remote Team Building is the foundation on which we build all other competencies. That is why our preferred methodology is training all team members about each other and bringing them together. So that, together, they work to solve current problems and create a One Team Culture that prevents problems. The energy during those sessions is beautiful. And the bonus? You will automatically get more inclusion. Oh yes, and efficiency.