The Leader Magazine

SEP-OCT 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 65

they collaborate. Finally, the company's performance management and reward system needs to be aligned to the goals of collaboration. Rewarding purely individual outcomes while hoping for teamwork is a big mistake. There's a lot of talk in business circles about innovation. How closely tied to collaboration is innovation? Collaboration is essential to innovation. The inventors and entrepreneurs we often celebrate as individual geniuses actually have huge teams of people who help foster creativity and bring the ideas to fruition. What matters is to get experts whose knowledge is different from one another but who have strong relationships and are willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt to accept challenges and ask probing questions. In those cases, collaboration produces the highest level of innovation. In your research, have you come across companies who've gotten cross-border collaboration absolutely right? What did they do to really stand out? Most of my work has been with professional services firms. I can think of one that gets called out time and time again by clients as experts at collaborating across geographical borders. The first thing they do to foster a successful collaborative environment with global teams is that they work hard at developing a cohesive culture. They go out of their way to get buy-in from all senior managers. When making a lateral hire, for instance, they very carefully screen candidates in order to find the very few who fit into their cohesive culture. They'll get on a plane and fly halfway around the world to support a client pitch– without need to get permission to invest in the ticket. The company trusts that people traveling to see the client will use company resources responsibly. It makes people more willing to take on those opportunities. Secondly, the company offers a compensation structure whereby much of individual take-home pay is determined by the company's profitability. That way each person benefits when the whole company achieves greater profits. Finally, they encourage people on global teams to make small investments in building mutual knowledge—very small actions add up to a big difference. For example, the three-minute virtual tour of each other's workplace increases familiarity. Ultimately, it's easier to give the benefit of the doubt if you see what someone else is facing. So, for example, if a teammate in a far-off office is distracted, we might chalk up their mistakes to their personality, whereas when we make mistakes we're adept at understanding the context. The best companies also help to create broader cultural knowledge about how people make decisions in, say, Hong Kong versus Denmark. It helps people overcome biases. Then employees understand that someone's reluctance to speaking up isn't that they have nothing to add, but rather that their culture has a higher respect for age or authority. Heidi K. Gardner is a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School's Program on the Legal Profession. Previously on the faculty at Harvard Business School, she teaches executive courses at Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School and at Harvard's learning centers in Shanghai, China and Doha, Qatar. H oneywell initiated its global real estate transformation journey almost 11 years ago as an enabler to strengthening the One Honeywell culture, the premise being if you can get operations under the same rooftop, it will not only reduce costs but also enhance the workplace environment and collaboration across the businesses. To jump-start the program, we initiated monthly real estate calls within the first 30 days of my joining Honeywell in November 2004. It was an important way to get the real estate team members and businesses who hadn't worked together before on the same page. At first, the call was around 25 people—stakeholders. Soon, we expanded the team to include all the businesses, HR, IT, Finance and other key functions. The first thing—and most important thing—we did during these calls was to develop a common scorecard with KPIs to ensure we were aligned regionally (and by the businesses) so everyone was pulling in the same direction. Since then, we've had one team call per month and they now include over 50 members. Four business units and Corporate — Global Real Estate (GRE), Procurement, HR, IT, Security, Legal and Finance—are represented on the call. During the call, I'll cover updates on the scorecard. We'll also review common processes and current projects that need to be communicated, and all of this is always accomplished within two hours. I look forward to these calls. You're talking about a project in India and the project manager is giving real-time updates. These meetings connect the dots between geographies and functions. My advice for fostering collaboration among global teams? There are four basic building blocks. The first is to establish a common scorecard and agree on relevant KPIs to track your team's progress. Second, talk to people to find out what their challenges are and streamline processes to address them. Third, leverage technology to share information on the calls. Finally, be patient and persistent, and everyone will eventually get on the same page. Everyone wants to be part of a team. These meetings allow us to get everybody's oars in the water together, so to speak, and relationships get stronger every day. Rick Kriva is Vice President of Global Real Estate for Honeywell. His team manages all real estate and construction projects for the company with regional directors based in London, Shanghai, Chicago and Bangalore, India. Building a Global Corporate Real Estate Team from the Ground Up BY RICK KRIVA, Vice President - Global Real Estate, Honeywell September/October 2015 | the LEADER 15

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Leader Magazine - SEP-OCT 2015