International Project Team Success
… What are the keys?
The location of the project or job plays a significant role in sourcing and ultimately in providing a team capable of meeting project deliverables. For international jobs/projects, finding professionals with the necessary skills is only half the battle. Qualified individuals must also possess a willingness to travel and tenacity to remain on location for extended periods of time. This is especially challenging when the project happens to be on the other side of the globe.
Convincing a prospective candidate of the positive aspects of traveling 15 – 20 hours to work on the other side of the world for a proscribed length of time is a tough sell … often due to a fear of the unfamiliar and extended separation from family.
Distance Cuts Connections
The actual distance separating the 2 countries presents a number of issues all by itself. The difference in time zones can make communication with those at home limited to a few mutually convenient times during the day.
The Whole Family is Involved
Travel time can be extensive and expensive…making weekend trips home impractical. This physical disconnect from “home base” requires a professional commitment by the candidate and a supportive “buy-in” from his/her family.
Separation Increases Stress
Separation and the subsequent stress felt by the family often leads to the candidate declining the offer or an inability to successfully complete the assignment.
On-site, local cultural norms can be unsettling. Local weather, food and general living conditions require an additional ability to adapt. Transportation may appear chaotic, differing from the easy mobility enjoyed in the US. Multiple languages can make communication a challenge. Words, phrases and even non-verbal gestures can have very different meanings, adding to the complexity of personal interaction.
To be successful, these issues must be discussed and accepted by the prospective candidate and his/her family prior signing on with the project. Support from family members is crucial but of equal importance, once on-site, is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the project is well managed. In order to reduce the impact of the “unfamiliar”, it is the employer who must keep the project organized and on track to meet targeted deliverables, as well as maintaining harmony within team members and with the client.