International Teams, OD and collaboration

I’m currently exploring approaches to setting up international teams, focusing on maximising collaboration across time-zones and working with / leveraging the benefits of cultural diversity. Has anyone been involved with a similar activity? If so what steps / OD principles did you follow and what key insights did you discover?


  • Hi Craig, I have not long finished a 2 year assignment doing just this. Way too much to write here in a discussion forum. What I will say is that make sure you truly understand diversity and your team. make sure that you are open minded to their way being different and potentially better than yours.
    Also that western OD approaches do not work in Eastern cultures, and vice versa
    Do not expect a single solution to this!

    as for time zones etc I used Jive/ jammer extensively, and changed the way we had meetings and other decision making processes. As I was the team leader, I was the one that changed MY times zone working to match the teams needs, often this mean phone calls in the middle of the night, and some team meetings too place at 3 different times to catch everyone - assuming it was not essential for everyone to hear the same stuff at the same time.
    Good luck and enjoy the learning
  • Craig,

    I echo Mike's points about Western OD not working in other regions and not making everyone meet at the convenience of your time zone. Make sure you get individual input from people and understand their cultural needs rather than keeping everything in 'group input and feedback'. Move your meeting times around, I made the mistake of keeping meeting times set so the majority were always OK and quickly realised the outlyers on the two extremes of the range of timezones were becoming disengaged. It's OK to inconvenience the majority now and again, so long as they understand why.