Leading Distributed Teams shows cross-cultural learning

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Leading Distributed Teams shows cross-cultural learning

~ And demonstrates that generations are a culture too as EIIL’s oldest faculty member gains valuable insight from younger participants ~

As the only remaining coach from the first EIIL pilot workshop programme in 2004, team-working specialist John Doerr is one of the EIIL’s oldest supporters amongst our faculty of subject matter specialists. John has considerable experience working with hundreds of teams in both industry and the field of elite sport. This year he will be part of the delivery team for the olympic sailing event in Rio, his seventh Olympic games. This wealth of experience was available to teams at the recent workshop on leading distributed multi-cultural teams that took place on the 18th and 19th of April in Den Haag. But the learning wasn’t all one way.

After a 20 year career at ExxonMobil’s Esso Fawley refinery, John has spent almost another 20 years combining his passion for sailing with helping teams of industry high potentials work more effectively together. Since 2004 he has been a regular coach on the EIIL’s high performance leadership workshops and as team-working specialist on this masterclass workshop.

With 12 participants from four companies, and with nine different nationalities between them, this leading distributed multi-cultural teams workshop was again a melting pot of ideas on how to improve collaboration with colleagues in different parts of the world. The resulting guides produced by the two teams included best practices gleaned from interviews with four seniors from the EIIL network in companies from FMCG, specialty chemicals and plastics.

Feedback from the participants was, as always, good to excellent. “It was good to have a mix of young and more experienced people,” said Annike Stute, Open Innovation Coordinator at Covestro. “The coaches had an excellent ability to start me thinking with simple comments. They know a lot, but you can also challenge them.” “The interviews provided great content and regular team work allowed us to reflect and discuss” agreed Dennis Lerchl, Head of Business Planning & Strategy at CABB Chemicals.

As we said earlier, the learning wasn’t all one way. Contact and interaction with new people brings fresh viewpoints and experiences. Our seniors often report that they’ve learned something from the interviews. Being asked questions by young people outside of their own hierarchy causes them to reflect on what they consider good practice, and this even applies to our experts. “Every person that comes to these workshops has their own valuable practices to share. Though the practices may differ, the same principles apply across generations.” said Doerr. “The interviews also gave me some tips for me to try on my own team for Rio.”

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