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Common Similarities within Globally Remote Teams

When I was 15 years old, I entered a speech competition. This wasn't my first rodeo; I'd been doing speaking competitions since I was a babe, but this competition was a little different. This was entirely in Spanish. I had taken Spanish classes since I was in grade 1, but a full speech was a little different. I practiced each syllable and word and worked on my delivery, timing, and facial expressions.

Amber Vanderburg with kids

I went to the competition and gave it my very best. I was awarded first place in the state and then had the opportunity to go to Mexico City to speak with groups of people there. In the middle of Mexico City, I spoke to hundreds of people with my memorized message about hope, inspiration, motivation, and faith. I was able to return the following year and spoke with more confidence. It was an amazing experience.

I'll be honest: my trip to Mexico was my first time leaving the country, and I was a little nervous about the cultural differences. I didn't know what to expect; I wasn't scared, just curious. What would be the same, and what would be different? Here's the common ground I found with my first real interaction in a global team; these commonalities ring true in globally remote teams today.

First, we all shared emotions. We all got excited when there was a football match or soccer game; we experienced pain and loss, celebration and happiness. The team I was with gave some kids backpacks with supplies for school and I could share in their excitement and pride in their new belongings. No matter where we were, we shared emotional bonds.

With The Pathwayz Group, we have members of our team all over the world; when the typhoons hit the Philippines earlier last year, we empathized with our team and shared the emotion and the weight of the tragedy going on there. We shared in the emotion.

We also shared in the community. In Mexico City, we all shared a community mainly revolving around food. Food is the only beautiful thing that truly nourishes. We were able to come together for meals, delicious meals. We came together in this in a strong way. Food, just like art, music, and plays, all tell the story of a place.

Beyond a "happy hour" with your globally remote team, share recipes, stories, games, and experiences virtually. It's a different level of connection with stories and fun.

Finally, all long for relationships. I sat down with a group of kids in Mexico City, and we worked on drawing pictures, doing crafts, and making something awesome. At the end of our project time, I had several of the kids give me their projects so that I could remember them. It was so touching. The kids introduced me to their families and friends; we were building trusting relationships.

You can also bring in the relationship side in our globally remote teams. We are all at home at this time. Meet the kids, spouses, and pets that roam around during the work week behind your colleagues' screens (of course, if they feel comfortable). They are not inconvenient; they are a part of the work family and build relationships.

Global remote teams can have a lot of differences, but they have a lot of similarities, too. I mean, we are people. We all laugh, cry, worry, and celebrate, focus on basic needs like clothes, food, and community, and we all long for relationships. In global remote teams, the differences can sometimes be highlighted, so here's what I want you to do: highlight the similarities.


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