Project management continues to become a more global profession every day, and project managers are increasingly working on multicultural teams or projects that impact sites in multiple regions. And while those situations often bring challenges, PMP®s should also look for ways to not just survive but to thrive in diverse environment.
Embrace different perspectives. Varying backgrounds are perks many project managers have already learned to use to their advantage inside their Project Team—you have deep expertise in large projects, a colleague is well versed in a particular industry, another team member comes from a regulatory environment—and the same can be done across stakeholder groups, too. Encourage people to share their views and opinions, and take that feedback to heart as part of your role as a project advocate.
Learn how to express yourself better. When communicating across cultures or languages, project managers often discover that less is more. Improve your speaking and presentation skills by being more concise, using more direct terms, including the right details the first time, and avoiding vague or confusing phrases.
Don’t be afraid to voice questions or concerns. Whether it’s a potential language barrier or a simple lack of understanding about a different culture, project managers should be upfront with any issues they do (or are afraid they might) encounter. Honest questions typically evoke honest and helpful answers, so don’t hesitate to speak up. There’s a strong likelihood others on the team have some of the same questions.
Take away something you can use later. Pick up helpful snippets of a new language or understand how different social customs may impact the way business is done. Not only will your team be in a better position to achieve success on this project, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to apply these lessons on future projects as well.