AkzoNobel: Working Virtually with Team Members around the World

Challenge

AkzoNobel, a leading Chemicals manufacturer, wanted to create geographically distributed teams that would be communicating primarily through electronic Virtual communications in order to include team members from around the globe while reducing the expenses associated with international travel.

Economic conditions required that teamwork take place virtually via electronic communications. The challenge was that the team members had never met and were going to have to establish a trusting relationship in order to be effective.

Approach

Global Dynamics developed a series of seminars on how to effectively communicate using electronic media including email, teleconferences, videoconferencing and a virtual reality environment.

In order to enhance cross-cultural understanding of the communications styles of those on the team we also developed a series of seminars on cross-cultural communications.

We provided executive coaching to assist team leaders to apply the skills learned in the seminar and to provide additional skills and competencies to succeed as global virtual team.

To ensure ongoing success, we designed a series of tip sheets to be distributed to all current and future team members. Subjects included:

  • Effective electronic team meetings
  • Use of Email
  • Teleconferencing tips
  • Video conferencing tips

Results

  • AkzoNobel successfully launched several geographically dispersed teams. Team members reported open discussion of cultural differences in communication styles reducing misunderstanding and improving trust.
  • Company expenses were reduced due to minimal travel expenses.
  • The client said that people who went through the training were able to pick up technology more quickly and could use it more effectively. They reported that they were recommending the training to other groups.