International teams are rapidly becoming the central operating mode for global enterprises. They are often agile and perceptive, know local markets better than HQ does, lead innovation and exploratory ventures, and are more culturally aware than their parent company.
But how much autonomy should they be allowed? How can we get things done with colleagues who have different worldviews? How can we strike a balance between core values and the necessary diversity - and is diversity within the team a strength or a hindrance? What is the role of the team leader in all of this? How do you establish team trust? How important is team humor? Who decides the team's ethics? What misunderstandings can arise in a virtual team, lacking face-to-face contact?
In answering these and other questions, Richard D. Lewis draws on 30 years experience mediating with hundreds of international teams in two dozen countries. Generously illustrated with explanatory diagrams, When Teams Collide analyses profiles of 24 different nationalities and suggests how they should be led for best results. Commenting on vital considerations of leadership, team trust, ethics and humor, the author also evaluates the relationship between teams and HQ.
Applying the cultural concepts in the bestselling When Cultures Collide specifically to team leadership, this is a wide-ranging and compelling account of how to handle what is a difficult and sensitive task.
Richard Lewis is the Chairman of Richard Lewis Communications, an international institute of cross-cultural and language training with offices in over 30 countries. He founded the quarterly magazine Cross Culture in 1989 and is heavily involved in the intercultural field, lecturing in countries from Finland to Hong Kong and working with companies as diverse as Fiat, IBM, Nokia, Andersen Consulting and Nestlé. He lives near Winchester, and is one of Britain s foremost linguists, speaking 12 languages including Japanese from when he tutored the Imperial Family. His books include When Cultures Collide, and Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf. Lewis was knighted by President Ahtisaari of Finland in 1997.
"This book is a MUST for every business team leader who plans to start doing business in a new cross-cultural environment. The LMR categorization of cultural characteristics and behavior takes you fluently down the path of sometimes very strange national and/or cultural diversities which internationalization has brought up. The old saying Do in Rome as the Romans do is still very valid when added to Richard Lewis' own cross cultural experiences over 50 years and in 150 countries. This book will help you to avoid major and costly mistakes as team leader."
- Markku Vartiainen O.B.E., President, Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce, London, U.K.
"This eloquent, easy-to-read book covers everything you need to consider to create a structure that will allow your international team to succeed...Lewis brings theory to life through a number of engaging case studies, as well as his own personal experience... Lewis has achieved a fine balance between theory – often delivered in a light-hearted and easy to remember way – and tactical every day application. This fascinating subject is crucial to the success of global business."
- People Management