Managing patchwork teams is no easy task. Typical five team dysfunctions get amped up by the clashing of organisational and structural differences. The absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment. Avoidance of accountability and inattention to results do creep up on every team from time to time. In a structure made of people coming from different background, those difficulties tend to escalate faster.
The tendency to antagonise between Us and Them makes it even harder to navigate in this environment. Another weak spot is the compatibility within the Dilts Model.
What’s the Dilts? It is a tool that will help you understand all the annoying people around you. It allows to check where our organisations meet and to map our differences. It is important to understand the implications of the last, e.g. when within one organisation everyone uses their first names instead of honorifics, and in another one you have a secretary making coffee for Mr President.
Dilts helps with a precise diagnosis which is crucial – if the differences are too big and companies do not meet even at the level of their values, there is no project management in the world that would make such cooperation possible.
Why all of a sudden am I touching the corporate values now? They are important because if your company truly organises itself around them they are not just slogans, but real convictions cherished by the company’s employees. Yes, those very same who will, finally, build the patchwork teams.
Let’s talk about yet another peril existing in the realm of combined teams: the cultural differences. I don’t think there is a need to explain the definitions here, but should you feel the need to read more on that topic, I recommend you two authorities – Geert Hofstede and Erin Meyer. They both have developed their models of investigating cultural differences within the business environment.
So, let’s have a look at yet another example from our daily business. Let’s use Hofstede’s model to map the cultural differences between our organisation and this big Swedish client I mentioned before. According to the metrics available on his website (help yourself to the link below, it’s truly interesting!) there are few big gaps between the Polish and Swedish results.
First of all, Poles have the prevalent need to know what is going to happen next, whereas Swedes tend to be more relaxed and ‘go with the flow’. Another difference is the way the business is run. Swedish employees very often point out the fun at work as an important indicator and also, the structures within their companies tend to be a lot less hierarchic than in the Polish ones.
Another important indicator is the ‘masculinity’ index. Polish business tends to be far more masculine, competitive and focused on being the best. Swedish approach is more “feminine”, satisfaction- and cooperation-oriented.
Knowing those differences is a powerful tool in creating a successful patchwork team. It helps to pick the best people and to create the best possible environment for them to work in.