As the working world goes remote, our work dynamics – and those with whom we work – have changed.

One of these changes is that our teams have become more international.

Last week, we talked about what makes for a successful global virtual team.

While you can build a contextually diverse team to maximize creativity or a team that is low in personal diversity for projects that need a quick turnaround, any team you build will need cross-cultural training.


Because training = competency.

Cross-cultural teams need intercultural skills to thrive.

Such teams face unique obstacles – like differences in work styles and time management.

There are also varied collaboration styles across cultures.

Some team members may not know how to join in and participate, as their own culture may have different hierarchical workplace structures (matrix vs. flat, for instance) or different communication styles (passive vs. dominant, etc.).

This is why cross-cultural training for global virtual teams is paramount to their success.

The Stats

According to culturewizard, formal cross-cultural training was delivered to less than a quarter of working professionals on virtual teams in 2020.

This may be why other stats show that:

“only 15 percent of corporate leaders reported having been successful in leading teams across cultures and countries.” (Culture Wizard, 2018)

How do you run a successful global virtual team if none of them have the tools to work across cultures?

As my book, I am the Monkey!, explores, the deeply ingrained biases we have toward our culture’s own values and norms are something that must be overcome when living and working in other cultures.

It is natural to assume that your methods are “right” while others’ are “wrong.”

Cross-cultural training is essential to acknowledging and overcoming these biases and differences in order to work together more cohesively. 

The Training

While cross-cultural training may be broad or more specific to the project goals at hand, either should cover the following:

  • The development of deeper intercultural insights
  • The ability to channel teammates’ differing cultural perspectives
  • The ability to adapt one’s work style to gel better with the group dynamic
  • The development of constructive intercultural communication skills

Cross-cultural training may delve into other project-specific intercultural dynamics, but generally, any training on the subject should cover these bases.

They are pivotal to a working team.

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