Here is an article that I had published a while back on the topic of communications (here is a slightly edited version of the same). I got reminded of this recently while talking to a manager who felt frustrated that he couldn’t get through his peer in a remote location and so couldn’t resolve his problem.
In a world which is becoming increasingly globalized and functions getting relocated to lowest-cost destination (see businessweek article and further comments on it by Scot on CubeRules), it is critical that he/she is very good at communicating well cross-site. In addition to the problems I mentioned in the article above, there are cultural and social aspects which impact how communication will happen, and a good manager understands these aspects and applies them well. For example, Asian cultures place a lot of emphasis on knowing people (‘relationships’) and many of the work get done through that channel. To be successful in communicating with such teams, it is essential to invest time in building that relationship, otherwise lots of frustration can set in.
As a manager, do you think your communication abilities impact your career significantly?
5 thoughts on “Cross-Site communication – great strength for managers?”
I believe yes. I think this is harder to do with remote sites. Phone communication trims out a lot of the non-verbal cues that makes effective communication possible, relying on verbal cues that can only provides verbal(cereberal?) cues to what people are thinking.
I have also come to the realization that , it takes more than an individual’s ability to be successful in such a setting. The leadership all the way to the top should create & nurture the culture and processes that enhance cross-site collaboration and efficacy.
On the emphasis in Asian cultures to knowing people … My meta-theory on that is that regardless of culture want to work with people they respect. In Asian cultures taking the time to know a person, or demonstrable ability/inclination to work hard is a way of gaining respect. I’ve found Danish and American cultures don’t use that as their main currency for respect. Wonder how that fits into what you see?
Agree that face-to-face is the best comm medium we have got so far and no technology has (yet) managed to beat it. Also agree about the fact that leadership plays a big role in creating that trust environment (which is otherwise tough to create for lack of face-to-face time anyway).
Not sure I am aligned with the thought around ‘respect is the reason time needs to be spent in knowing’.. I think this is just the way things get done in certain cultures.. American culture is much more professional and real work seem to get done in formal settings, however same can not be said of India for example. However, these are just generalizations and hence it is wrong to take them as truths, my point was that keeping such open perspective in mind (that people can behave very differently and still be right) helps a lot in cross-site interactions.
“As a manager, do you think your communication abilities impact your career significantly?”
As a manager you have to present, chair meetings, direct, discuss and build relationships. To do all of that and be successful you have to be able to communicate. It is as simple as that!
The style of writing is quite familiar . Did you write guest posts for other blogs?
Well, yes.. on cuberules.com (http://cuberules.com/2008/02/12/career-management-in-india/), didn’t realize I was so predictable! 🙂