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Building Committed Teams in Outsource Relationships

by Brandi Moore on June 1, 2011

The underlying problem in all international relationships is cultural differences. We think its process – we WISH it was process!  When we perfect the process we wonder if we need different people. In the end what we don’t want to face is that we don’t know how to build commitment. We don’t know how to engage, empower and create a spark inside our India based teams.

Commitment is the foundation for teams to accelerate around a mission. One of the ways we judge commitment is to read sincerity. The skills we typically use to gauge sincerity do not work in India or the rest of the BRIC.   The three ways we judge sincerity are Voice, Body Language, and Smile.  .

Lets start with Voice. Americans judge commitment by an enthusiastic voice.  This assumption is based on living in a culture where its OK for people to show, or not, their enthusiasm inside the workplace.  It’s ok for people to express their displeasure with an assignment.  This is not the case in the BRIC!  One of the ways employees are measured in the BRIC is by their loyalty to their boss, and therefore their boss’s objectives.

Bottom Line: Be aware that enthusiasm may be a show rather than a commitment.

Body language is another tricky read, especially since most of you reading this are not working inside these countries and relying on phone or video conferencing which can mask body language.  Body language across cultures is difficult.  There are some motions, such as putting your hand forward toward someone’s face that mean ok in one culture and get lost in another.  Another example is eye contact. “Look me in the eye” we say to people in thinking this will compel the truth to come forward. Americans tend to seek out eye contact while in the BRIC cultures direct eye contact is typically a show of defiance.  By looking down you are displaying your respect for authority.

Bottom Line: Body language in the BRIC is different.

Smiling is another quality we seek out in the American work place.  When people on our team are smiling they are engaged.  In the BRIC, smiling is not as persistent.  These cultures think Americans smile too much!

Bottom Line: Smiling is not an indicator of sincerity. Its typically a sign of trying to please you.

Remember these simple rules when judging commitment. There are many ways to begin to build commitment but the first step is to identify areas where you may be incorrectly judging your level of success.

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