The Four Pillars of Successful Intercultural Teams

Updated: Mar 26

High Performing Teams, Part 2 of 3


For an intercultural team to be a high-performing team first requires an emphasis on the team aspect.


Do the various groups and sub-groups within your multicultural, globally-distributed organization truly function as teams? Are they challenged to formulate a team charter founded on common goals, or are they simply tossed together with an expectation to produce? Are they coached in intercultural awareness and how to maximize one another’s strengths for a mutual purpose, or are they simply handed a project description, a deadline, and a demand to link arms and run?

Objectives for your team charter

KnowledgeWorkx has been working with virtual and face-to-face intercultural teams for the last 15 years in 5 continents. Over time, four main focus areas have emerged, both from practical experience as well as from research conducted in the intercultural teaming spaces. Both successful and struggling teams are dealing with the same four themes:

Overcome Communication Barriers Build Behavior-Based Trust Establish Ongoing Common Purpose Develop Relational Capital

A strong intercultural team will intentionally develop their team charter around the four pillars of Communication, Trust, Common Purpose, and Relationship, recognizing that the concepts are absolutely interconnected. The more Inter-Cultural Intelligence the team has acquired, the more likely the team charter will resonate with all team members.

This mutual resonance and resolve will increase the entire team’s ability to stay focused, overcome challenges, and make faster and more innovative adjustments on an as-needed basis.

Intentionality in developing a team charter and implementing all four of these concepts also helps a team assess more accurately whether new members should join their tribe or not. It is an added perk that the team charter can be used as a powerful foundation for better behavioral interviewing.

Besides the benefits they bring to an existing team, an understanding of these four pillars and a well-formed team charter will result in a “multiplier effect” for the organization as a whole. Whenever team members move on to a next project or join another team, they will carry with them a positive experience and be better equipped to replicate the next cultural space more quickly and with greater skill and effectiveness.

This series : Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

If you have a question about how ICI could impact your business or organization, Contact us or get our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: from surviving to thriving in the global space.



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