In Focus:
Effective International Project Leadership

Effective international project leaders strike a careful balance between the various values and preferences of each of the cultures involved.  They do this by demonstrating six key leadership behaviors, each of which is discussed below.

#1  Effective international project leaders understand their
      own and others’ cultural values

Cultural values determine the way people interact with others and can become huge obstacles if not managed right.  For example, project team members in many countries may not speak up when they identify an issue that could jeopardize their project’s success, for fear of irritating the leader, losing face, or disturbing the team’s harmony.  Competent international project leadership requires an understanding of one’s own beliefs and assumptions and an ability to recognize other team members’ cultural values and behaviors.

#2  Effective international project leaders understand the
      role of time

American teams often move quickly through project planning, starting to execute as soon as possible.  In contrast, people in many other cultures may spend much more time putting the project plan together, analyzing and understanding the risks involved, and aligning the tasks of all team members.  These projects often progress very smoothly throughout the subsequent execution phases, compensating for the slow start.  Successful international project leaders understand and leverage these differing points of view on the effective use of time.

#3  Effective international project leaders over-communicate
      and know how to get the right information

It is hard to underestimate the difficulty in communicating across language and cultural barriers.  Competent project leaders use multiple channels to convey key information and ensure that all team members share a common understanding of the project’s requirements.  They also understand that getting accurate and complete information from team members requires carefully asking open-ended questions rather than yes/no-type ones.

#4  Effective international project leaders build relationships
      and trust

In most cultures around the world, establishing relationships requires getting to know one another and developing a mutual trust.  This is often a precondition for people to effectively work together.  Culture-savvy project leaders spend significant time building relationships with and between project team members, supporters, sponsors, and other stakeholders.

#5  Effective international project leaders support local
      ownership and pride

In any international product co-development setting there will be an expectation for each side to prove itself.  Foreign teams may be nervous or even feel threatened.  This, combined with the intense national pride found in many countries, results in team members who look for frequent and clear confirmation that their contributions are recognized and valued.  Competent international project leaders realize the value of making each local team feel important, assigning local ownership of sub-projects and tasks whenever feasible.

#6  Effective international project leaders motivate their
      whole team

Strong team motivation is a cornerstone of successful project leadership.  However, ways to motivate project teams may vary greatly across cultures.  Effective international project leaders carefully select the best methods that stimulate and nurture the motivation levels of their teams and individual team members.

(The above is an excerpt from an in-depth article available on our web page)
  Read the full article

Workshop On January 24 in Phoenix, AZ:
Driving Co-Development Project Success
Across Borders & Cultures

This event is part of  CoDev 2005,  the Fourth International Congress On Co-Developing Products With Partners, Suppliers And Customers, jointly presented by the Management Roundtable & PDMA.


Book Of The Month
When Cultures Collide


A heavyweight global business culture guide covering more than 50 countries.  Includes extensive discussion of cul- tural differences and ways to manage across cultures.

(click title for full book review)


Web Site Of The Month
Israel Government Gateway


A plethora of useful informa- tion about Israel's economy and business, its government branches, international organi- zations and institutions, and more.

(click title to visit this web site)


Quote Of The Month

In Israel, in order to be
a realist you must
believe in miracles

(David Ben-Gurion)


Leadership Crossroads
is a global resource for

  • International Team Development
  • Global Business Coaching
  • Cross-Cultural Project Management Assistance
  • Outsourcing Preparation
  • Cross-Cultural Negotiation Training and Assistance
  • Organizational Learning and Development
  • Executive Coaching
Would you like to know more about us?


The right place for your
and your company's
international and
competency development

Lothar Katz is the founder of Leadership Crossroads.  He has a wealth of experience in achieving productive coopera-tion across cultures and driving business success on a global scale.
A seasoned former executive of a For­tune 500 company, he regularly interacted with employees, cus­tomers, out-sourcing partners, and third parties in more than 25 countries around the world.


Contact :
Leadership CrossroadsTM, 2005

Global Business Practices:
Ten Tips For Doing Business in Israel

  • Israelis can be very direct, unintentionally appearing brash and in-your-face abrasive.
  • Israeli thinking is analytical, abstractive, conceptual. However, feelings and faith may overrule objective facts when it comes to decision making.
  • Be prepared to be frequently interrupted. Israelis enjoy intense and heated discussions.
  • Although many people speak English very well, be prepared for discussions frequently switching to Hebrew.
  • People in Israel are usually egalitarian. Formal authority and hierarchies are not well accepted.
  • This is a "multi-linear" culture. Don't expect people to follow checklists or stay focused on one thing at a time.
  • Be prepared for people getting physically closer to you than what you might be comfortable with.
  • Show respect for the country's culture and for its people's intense national pride.
  • Remember that the Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night) is a holy day. The workweek starts on Sunday.
  • Don't ever give someone a "thumbs up". It will likely be considered an offensive gesture.

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