Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.
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Managing a project on a tight deadline is tough, but it can be even more challenging when you’re working with a cross-cultural team. “On time” often means something different in Germany than it does in Belgium or Kenya. That’s why it’s important to clarify exact deadlines up front.
o Don’t assume that “I’ll get the data to you next week” means it will be in your inbox on Monday morning. Ask people to be very specific about when they’ll complete tasks that affect others’ work.
o And build in extra buffer time. Padding due dates is always a good idea, no matter the culture, but there are often additional delays when working globally. Sometimes there can be technology or even utility issues, like access to electricity. Other times there are holidays you weren’t expecting.
o Instead of asking for something 24 hours in advance, ask for it 48 or 72 hours before your deadline. This gives you extra time to follow up before a deliverable is absolutely needed.
Adapted from “4 Ways to Manage Deadlines on Cross-Cultural Teams,” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
To check out that HBR article and join the discussion, please click here.
Also, you may wish to check out an anthology, Management Tips from Harvard Business Review, by clicking here.