Compete in a global economy

Business is more complex than it has ever been.Companies have to compete in a global economy, and must collaborate in and across teams and learn their way through complexity.

Companies are open systems, consisting of subsystems , but also belonging to bigger systems such as market systems, legal systems, etc….

Each system has a different behavior created by the structure of the system.This structure is made of the interconnection of people, all with their own mental model:values, beliefs,…

So we can say , that all elements of the system has their own culture, and this is leading to complexity in collaboration and very sensitive for conflicts.


I have 37 years worked in a international company where regularly conflicts between parts of the company has occured , and this mainly due to culture differences in the company, but also due to lack of awareness of the fact that the success of the company was depended on the connectives and relationship of his different parts :divisions, subdivisions , departments, people.

For a international company , doing globally business it is very important to be aware of this , to acknowledge it ,to respect it and to look after different paths to be successful.

What can be done ?Here 4 important tips:


1.Raise awareness about potential conflicts.

Acknowledge and learn that cultural differences, differences in thinking, physical distance , greeting habits, meeting habits …can separate team members.

Understanding and communicating around this will allow leaders to prevent conflicts.

2.Learn about communication styles .

Everybody is communicating in different styles depending his education , knowledge , country of origin , etc..Communication by telephone and mail will make it still more difficult to assure that the communication is well understood.A common language has to be created so that everybody of a team can communicate effectively with each other.

3.Acknowledge that conflict and frustration is inevitable in solving complex problems.

It is not likely that we will see things the same way but we have to be open to discuss it and to create a shared vision.We’ll all need to put our puzzle pieces together, and explore ways to fit them together to see what possible solutions emerge.

4.Establish a different mindset of failure,

Each mistake will give us feedback for learning.Therefore failure stories should be shared across the teams , not only from your own teams but also from others in your industry.


By applying these tips , you will understand better complexity and how to take consideration of it in your daily work.It does not make sense to avoid complexity , or to fight it by simplifying( example by only working with people which are from the same culture) but start to create a learning organisation by accepting the mental models of others, by fostering teamwork and to have a shared vision to achieve a common goal.

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