The ethos of Multi National teams

The concept of travel and time and travel in time have been fascinating forays for most of us; travel enhances the outlook no doubt. Wheeling and dealing and working in teams that afford complete engagement with multiple cultures and nationalities is the pinnacle of diversity. As the world started to shrink in the late 90’s and global village came into existence, goal oriented teams became the norm, irrespective of who the team members are or how diverse they may be or what corner of the earth they may be based in. And speaking as someone who grew up in a socialistic Indian public sector, the limited exposure of dealing with someone outside of India was the Soviet influence in setting up steel and heavy industrial plants. Then the 90’s happened.

The IT sector may be what is perceived as a classic case of the culture mixer, but EPC industries have possibly made this step way before the rest. Imagine this- A team working towards constructing and commissioning an industrial plant located remotely at a fast trace pace with just over 200 people thrown in. This is where a team will thrive like a bunch of seamen thrown together in a submarine for a few months. During these times, boundaries cease to exist and focus of the individuals becomes the common goal, the goal to deliver.

Being part of a multi cultural team and even better leading a multi cultural team is seen as a person’s forte. An effective leader is thus born; any leader that can get a project delivered through a multi national, multi cultured team can inevitably motivate and bring a diverse group of individuals together .These are the people you want in your organization for these are the people who will deliver when it matters.

Speaking from personal experience I can lucidly express what it means to be part of such a team and lead such a team. Its the unbridled joy in formation and motivation of such teams that leads to the feeling of a job well done. I can see how its effectively facilitated project delivery.


1-Team members do not see themselves as “from somewhere”, they see themselves as part of a focus group that is in this together to deliver. Nothing less

2- Keeping the group motivated by means of an engaging blend outside of work; i.e. highly informal team building sessions. This makes it easier for people to look forward to come back to work on “Monday”

3- Freely share cultural experiences between team members. If I know more about the South American culture or the Chinese culture now, its not because I “googled” but I had a few team members who shared this freely with me. And its incredible how much further this goes in fostering a better working relationship.

4- People are people, so the usual tenets of recognition, attaboys/attagals, celebrating success and lending helping hands to the weaker links will always work.

Nothing gives me a better sense of satisfaction than delivering a project while working in a team of people from all over the globe. Its my “United Nations” and its where you not only build projects but you build values, professionalism, networking and life long memories.



Author: Ashok Iyengar

A published author and a Project Management professional I love to travel, mentor and network. Writing my travelogues, commentaries on political and social issues I create meaningful conglomerations between the west and east. I live in the Washington DC metro area. Just started a new journey with assisting teaching Project Management classes at GWU, Washington DC

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