Taking your work across boundaries

Few freelancers have had the opportunity to work across the boundaries. This means that some of you have worked across organizations and country borders. Teams located across the world usually operate at a time which is convenient for all the members of the team.

The teams that work across borders mostly do not see each other face to face. They would have seen each other only through company websites which host their photographs. But these teams have an understanding with each other. This understanding is mostly on professional grounds. The agreement would be to cooperate with each other to get work done. This is to ensure that the work gets complete well in time. There are no other emotions etc which run in between.

While working across boundaries, the most important factor to keep in mind is whether you understand the communication between teams. Many times, there are issues on understanding the accent, language and the words used and also the actual communication. So it is better to have conferences where the communicator communicates well and asks for affirmation form the audience if the same is clear to the team and understood.

There are net meeting devices which customarily help to project the required training material and information sheets across to the laptops or desktops of the team members. This ensures that all the members are on the same page and communication becomes easier. While doing presentations or while sharing spread sheets and diagrams of the project, this becomes an easier method to quickly do comparisons, reports and to send the right message across. Many times when more than two people are in the conference, this is an easier way to share expectations for the future. While confirming the same through telecom is a secondary measure.

Where there are clarifications from team members, they could use online forums or chat messengers to clarify on what they need to do. Emails confirming the topics can then affirm the agreed points.

It is foolishness to think that working across borders sitting at your desk top is easy. Small misunderstanding pave way for bigger problems and hence it is important to have the communication right.

Weekly online meeting can solve issues to a large extend. Noting down what needs more coverage, clarification and clarity needs discussion with all key stake holders. Such collaborative work is always rewarding at the end when the project takes shape well.

It takes competency both in your work and in relationship building to work across borders. To be sensitive to the cultural and personal background of the person at the other end will help you to fare better, while being with them. Once the comfort level is established, you could leverage on it to get superior work done.

Tone of voice used while speaking, matter a lot. Please ensure that you use a very subtle clear tone, with neutral accent, while speaking. This will ensure right warmth in the communication. Together with the right words, your communication will appear trustworthy to the diverse resources that are listening to you at the other end.

Many a times the change required is in the way we interpret the whole work in front of us. There are times when, as freelancers, we may have to take a higher responsibility in understanding the work that needs delivery since the responsibility of creating it lies with us.

Understanding others is of utmost importance here, since the role we play in the team will be successful only depending on the understanding we have with them. Building consensus on certain project plans and action plans are basis this collaboration. The influence we have on others matters as it reflects on the work we do and the opinion others have on us. Active collaboration impacts the greater idea and output.

Milestones are helpful while planning your projects across borders. Each team and member will have to have a milestone of achievement for their work. These needs close monitoring for results. Last but not the least is enrolling the right people to work together. If there are hiccups, it is better to replace people who do not gel together as a team. This is to ensure that work gets the right focus.

So dear friends if you are part of a larger team or plan to work across borders, I hope this provides a good insight for you. Let this give you guidance to working conditions and expectations that arise in such situations.

About K Saravana Kumar

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