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Intercultural Teamwork: Innovation & Information Sharing

Updated: May 23, 2023

Part 3 of 3 – Information Flow

Teaming as a Technical, Transactional, & Relational Exercise Leads to New Levels of Innovation and Information Sharing

Building Intercultural Teams: Part I presented the four things you need to do in order to build an effective intercultural team: overcome communication barriers, build trust, understand your common purpose, and develop social capital.

Part II looked at the mix of Transactional and Relational elements in teamwork and the Universal and Situational perspectives on relationships, and how those are helped by integration with inter-cultural and emotional intelligence.

Success on Parts I and II Means Entering a New Level of Innovation and Information Sharing

Teams who have overcome communication barriers and who have built levels of trust, built social capital, and built common purpose should also see the level of information sharing and the level of innovation going up.

Of course, when you are leading an intercultural team be sure to create moments where you allow relationships to develop where information is shared with each other that might not be so relevant to the job. This information indirectly builds better communication, better understanding, and trust between people. But when that is accomplished you need to look at your teams technical abilities again, to ensure that they can make use of the new information unleashed by improvements in their communication and trust.

Look at Your Team’s Technical and Transactional Abilities in Light of Their Relational Gains

We have always said that teaming is a “technical-transactional exercise” as well as a relational one, and it takes technical and transactional analysis as well as inter-cultural analysis to build a successful team.

The transactional side is, "Here is the job, the task that we need to do" and, “Here are the competencies and skills that you need to do that successfully.” (See Transactional and Relational Elements in Part II). The technical side is, “Here are the tools and knowledge that you need to do your task.” (See “You Need More than Technical Skills for a good Intercultural Team” section at the end of Part I)

On the relational side, teaming is fed by understanding each other's personalities and behavioral styles, as well as the intercultural dynamics and the intercultural journeys that each team member has been on. (See Universal & Situational Perspective on Relationships in Part II).

Develop New Technical Skills When You Apply Your Inter-Cultural Intelligence

In our first article, we said, “Technical skills are fantastic, but interpersonal, intercultural, collaboration, and communication skills are important too.” Now we’ve come full circle: when you have improved intercultural, collaboration, and communication skills on your team, you will need to improve their technical skills in order to manage the new levels of information sharing and innovation.

Some of the information you will have coming in will be unlike anything your knowledge management platform has ever dealt with before, so you may need to modify your knowledge management in order to take in these new streams. When we modified the classical methodology that technical consultants like SAP and Oracle use to map out business processes to take into account streams of cultural information, we saved our clients millions of dollars in IT Implementation costs compared to their competitors. You can improve the success of your intercultural teams by applying the same principles:

  1. Measure Inter-Cultural, Behavioral, and Inter-Personal Dynamics (Measurement)

  2. Account for Intercultural Complexity (Analysis)

  3. Integrate Your Knowledge With your Processes (Execution)


This series: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3


To begin your culture learning journey, Contact us or get our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: from surviving to thriving in the global space.


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