There has never been a time like the present – when two people from complete opposite ends of the globe can find out what the other had for breakfast with a flick of a finger. When you can understand a foreign language with a click of a button. Where you can get connected and work together with people from practically anywhere in the world that has connection to the magic known as the internet.
In today’s digital age, the possibility of having a cross-border team in your business has never been more tangible.
But even though it’s completely possible to build a cross-border team, should you be doing it? Can a cross-border global team really operate as efficiently as a traditional team in the same physical space? And why would you even consider working with someone from another side of the globe in the first place?
What is a cross-border team?
A cross-border team is one where your team comprises people from different parts of the world, all working remotely on the same project.
Cross-border teams rely on digital communication for success. Organizations that find a way to communicate effectively with all members from different parts of the world can open up their opportunities by tenfold. If you’re able to communicate effectively with a cross-border team, there’s nothing stopping you from also efficaciously handling cross-border business transactions.
Why are cross-border teams valuable?
By tapping into the power of a cross-border team, you get to tap into a wider scale of diversity, talent, and networks beyond your geographical boundaries.
Let’s say your business is located in Europe and you want to break into the China market. Nobody can better advice you on the intricacies and nuances of the Chinese market and culture than local Chinese themselves. If you are able to leverage on technology to recruit a trusted local to become a part of your team, you instantly gain access to their expertise and perspectives which are often completely different from your own. Plus, it can often be cheaper to engage top talent from different countries as compared to only hiring within Europe.
Now imagine if you wanted to start a business that targeted people from all around the world (just like the CoFounders Retreat). A cross-border team becomes more vital than ever!
Hacks and Tips
The trickiest part of making a cross-border team work lies in communication and people management.
Apart from timezone differences and language barriers, 70% of communication can be lost without the face-to-face element. It’s important to cultivate a remote work culture that encourages respect, trust, and transparency.
As such, we’ve broken down the hacks and tips section into two categories: Tools, and Rituals.
Here are some tools you can use to get over the physical barriers of working remotely in a team.
- Enpass – A Password sharing tool that updates instantly in real-time as new team passwords are created. Multiple people can securely log-in to any team account from anywhere in the world, without needing to messily pass around password documents.
- Time and date – To sort out the timezone differences and find out the best meeting timings for everybody that won’t involve ungodly 4am timings.
- Calendly – To schedule meeting times that won’t cause any timezone miscalculations
- Slack – For work communication. It allows you to categorize your conversations by topics so you can always pick up from where you left off.
- G Suite – Most people should be familiar with this one. G Suite comprises different collaborative work tools such as Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Google Drive to make it easy for multiple people to work on the same file in real-time.
- Asana/Trello – There are plenty of project management tools out there, but the reason why we recommend Asana/Trello is because they have a really robust free version available! Project management tools allow you to keep track of the progress of your project, what each team member is working on, and how everybody’s role fits together in the bigger puzzle that is the business’s operations.
Team rituals keep a team strong and unified, as well as help tide over any potential miscommunication or misunderstandings. These are the team rituals that the CoFounders Retreat team utilizes in order to increase understanding amongst team members of different cultures and backgrounds.
- Team Values – Setting the foundations of a team by determining what values every individual in the team hold dear and want embodied in their respective team members. Defining common values increases the accountability of each member in a team to become a better team player.
- Profile Tests – Understanding what role each person plays in the team, what makes them tick, and what’s the best way to communicate with them. Some people work better with email, some with video calls, some with slack messages. Instead of getting frustrated that a team member doesn’t communicate in the same way that you do, try instead to change the way you communicate with them.
- Open Feedback – Miscommunications are bound to happen when you bring together people of different backgrounds and perspectives. This can be exacerbated by the lack of physical communication. Having a culture of transparency and open-mindedness gives people the channel to share their thoughts in a safe space, allowing every one to realize that every individual has a reason behind their behaviors – and it’s often in the best interest of the company.
- Dedicated Team Time – Show that the team is important by dedicating time to your team. When you take care of your team, your team takes care of your business for you.
It’s definitely tough trying to make things work and finding the right timings when your team spans 5 different timezones. But working through these minor frustrations reap you much bigger rewards at the end of the day.
Now the question on people’s minds may be, “Where would I even find the best top talent from other countries to build my remote team?“
The traditional way of reaching out to diverse talents would be through freelance portals such as Upwork or Fiverr. But these individuals often do not end up as part of your core team as they already have a running freelance business.
An alternative way to consider expanding your global network is by joining dedicated entrepreneurial programs that bring together the top talents from around the world, like the CoFounders Retreat. Instantly surround yourself with over 20 driven individuals like yourself who additionally bring in the richness of diverse cultures and mindsets.
Build your global team that will conquer the markets of tomorrow.
Surround yourself with inspiring people. Build a global team.
Apply for the next CoFounders Retreat.