An Interview with Ph.D. Mansour Javidan Regarding Building Trust in Global Teams
Transcription of interview with Ph.D. Mansour Javidan, Director and Garvin Distinguished Professor - Najafi Global Mindset Institute, Thunderbird School of Global Management, USA.
Research and Development Department
Victoria Gálvez, Senior Project Manager,
Flavia Cáceres, Project Coordinator,
Pablo López, Research Coordinator,
Javier Huamán, Human Resources Generalist
(May 9th, 2022)
00:00 Flavia Cáceres: Okay. I’d like to start the meeting by introducing my
colleagues. So, I'm gonna start by introducing Victoria Gálvez who is the Senior
00:30 Victoria Gálvez: Hello, it's very nice to meet you.
00:34 Flavia Cáceres: Then I'm gonna go with Pablo López, who is the Research
and Development Coordinator.
00:39 Pablo López: Hello, thank you for being here.
00:42 Flavia Cáceres: And last but not least Javier Huaman, who is the Research
and Development Coordinator.
00:47 Javier Huaman: Hi, glad to meet you.
00:54 Pablo López: Sorry. Before we continue, I think we're having some problems
with your audio. Is anyone else having that? I think we can’t hear you.
01:05 Flavia Cáceres: Oh yeah, no, we can not.
01:22 Victoria Gálvez: Could you try joining the link again? Perhaps that might
02:41 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Okay. Can you hear me now?
02:45 Flavia Cáceres: Oh yeah. Now we can hear you.
02:46 Victoria Gálvez: Yeah.
02:48 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: All right.
02:49 Pablo López: Yes. Okay.
02:52 Flavia Cáceres: So, to continue with the interview, I would like to briefly talk
about who we are, what is in AnnexBox. So AnnexBox is an IT startup company
whose main goal is to provide global virtual teams support and solutions in order
to enhance the synergy and productivity among them. And now I'll hand it off to
my colleague Pablo who is going to explain the purpose of this interview.
03:19 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Before we get into the interview, can you tell me
more about the company? What are you based on? What do you mean by IT
company providing solutions for global virtual teams? Do you provide technical
support or something in addition?
03:42 Victoria Gálvez: I can take that. So, we are headquartered in New York, in
the US, but we are a fully remote team. And the solutions that we are building to
offer other organizations are divided into two pillars. One of them being tech tools
and other people. So, we do want to offer also education on how to be productive
and efficient working remotely. For businesses who are starting out fully remote
from the beginning and also for businesses who want to switch to a remote
04:16 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Okay. And how long have you been in business?
04:20 Victoria Gálvez: Since 2020, but we are at a very early stage. We're still
developing and testing out our products.
04:31 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Okay. All right.
04:33 Victoria Gálvez: Thank you.
04:37 Pablo López: Okay, thank you. Thank you both. So, hello again, my name is
Pablo. Thank you again for taking the time to join us today. Well, we would like to
discuss and have a conversation related to remote working and global virtual
teams. And in order to do that, we have crafted some questions that can guide our
conversation. So, as Victoria mentioned, before we start, please be sure that your
insight is of great value for us. We're still in the process, we are still building. All the
information here will be of great value for us. So, yeah, thank you. So, having said
that, let's just start with the first question.
05:36 Flavia Cáceres: Okay. Thank you. So now we can start with the questions.
05:40 Pablo López: So, as Flavia mentioned, we are a remote team and a global
team. We have been remote since the very beginning and as such we've
experienced those challenges and those difficulties that working remotely and
globally usually brings. So we would like to know about you. What have you
identified to be the main or the biggest challenges teams experience when
06:10 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: The biggest challenge that I've noticed in my own
work and working with companies... By the way, I myself am running a very large
global virtual team. I don't know if you're familiar with my global project. I'm a
Project Director with 424 professors in 143 countries. So, my understanding of
challenges is not just from my consulting work or from my research, but from my
day to day interactions with people from all over the world. The biggest challenge I
would point to is really about interpersonal relations. So, when you have people
from different locations, the beauty of virtual work is that it provides breadth. So
you can have a look at us, we may be in different cities in different countries, but
we're able to communicate, we are able to talk. So, the breadth of availability of
people is substantially increased by virtual technology. What is missing though is
depth. So, you and I talk for 45 minutes, we say goodbye, and then that's it. So,
when I work with these professors from all over the world, the challenge is to build
a strong interpersonal relationship, a strong group culture. Now, when you are in
the same building, there are so many opportunities to do that. Starting with let's
go and have coffee, and then we'll gossip, or we'll talk, we'll know more about each
other, we'll touch and feel each other. That opportunity doesn't exist. So people are
together using virtual technology, but at the same time, they really are not,
because the whole focus becomes on work. When I meet with my colleagues all
over the world, all we talk about is work. And so the relationship becomes purely
task oriented, the communication becomes purely task oriented, there's no depth
on the human side. Now, this challenge becomes more difficult when the virtual
team is actually cross-cultural, when you have people from different countries. If
you have a group of Americans in San Francisco, New York, LA, Seattle on a virtual
team, the problem of building interpersonal relations is very difficult. But when
you have people from Japan, Argentina, Colombia, and New York, that problem is
even bigger because the lack of cultural understanding and experience makes it
even harder to communicate and build proper relationships. So to me, that's the
biggest challenge. Now, let me add something. It is a challenge to my generation
and to people who are in their thirties. I wonder though, 20 years from now, the
kids who are five years old today, maybe they will become so good at virtual
relations that this issue is not a big deal to them. So, what I'm telling you is that
there may be a generational issue here simply because when I grew up, there was
no such thing as virtual technology. But look at what kids are doing today, how
they're using technology. So, they're spending hours and hours in virtual relations.
So maybe when they're adults, the relationship building issue is not as big a deal
as it is now.
10:49 Pablo López: Okay. Yeah. That's a really interesting point, the generational
challenge also. That's also something that can be seen when some team
members are from different generations that can struggle with virtuality because
of technology, which is another different thing. But yeah, that's exactly what our
next question is about. For those specific challenges that you just mentioned,
what can a virtual team do? What can they do to overcome them? What are the
solutions that may have impacted them, for example, what you just mentioned,
the sense of engagement and trying to build relationships with your team
11:31 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Well, the number one recommendation I always
make to companies and managers is to create in-person opportunities. So have
people visit each other, organize in-person retreats, create opportunities for
people to get to know each other more than what you and I will do in this call.
Now, that's expensive, that takes time, but think of it as an investment, it is an
investment in building your team. Now, then the question becomes, well, what do
you do? When I say create in-person opportunities, how do you use that time? It's
not just, “let's go and have a drink or have a coffee or meal.” People have to be
purposeful, have to be organized about why they're meeting in person, what's the
purpose, and how are they going to achieve that purpose. So when I say create in
person opportunities, it's not just about let's go have fun together, it's about a very
organized approach for people to get to know each other as persons. Now, the
same thing can happen in a less effective way using virtual technology. Let me
give you an example, I see Latin American names in front of me. So, if we were a
team, the first thing I would want to know is, Pablo I want to know about you,
Flavia I want to know about you. What's your background? What part of the world
did you grow up in? How many languages do you speak? What kind of
experiences have you had? Have you had experiences working in virtual teams?
How was that experience? Positive or negative? How do you think we can work
together as a virtual team? So that's the kind of conversation you can have
virtually, but it's more effective and powerful if you do it in person. Curiosity is
really critical. Curiosity about each one of you as human beings, not just as
colleagues who help to contribute to the work. Now, again, the challenge
becomes much bigger when you have a global team. When you have people from
different countries, you really have to get people to understand each other's
cultural background, cultural ways of doing things. Because without that, every
time I disagree with Victoria, I'm attributing it to her because I don't know
anything about her cultural background, I don't know anything about her cultural
ways of doing things. So you try to create a sufficient amount of learning about
each other. You can do it virtually, but it'll be very cognitive. If you do it in person,
you have a higher opportunity of having a cognitive and affective impact on the
15:07 Pablo López: That's true. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on
this matter. And now that we're talking about culture, let's move on to a different
kind of culture. Next question. Let's talk about organizational culture. Culture is of
course a crucial part in any company. Doesn't matter if you're in an office or in a
remote environment, culture will always be something that you want to enhance.
But it's something that also virtual and global teams have a bad time trying to
build and to maintain while working remotely. So, in that sense, we would like to
know, what have you identified to be the main aspects that maintain or can
enhance a team's culture while working remotely?
15:56 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Well, I'm going to answer this question not just
based on my research, but on my own work. So here I am, Project Director of a
team of 424 researchers in 143 countries. I don't pay a cent to any one of them, the
reason they're part of this project is because of an intrinsic motivation. So, they get
attracted to the project or the purpose of the project and the research we're doing.
This project has been going on for over four years. So, to me, right from the
beginning, the challenge to me as a leader has been what kind of a culture do you
want to build. Remember, I have no incentive to offer other than the academic
quality of the work. And I can tell you that based on the feedback I received from
hundreds of my researchers, the team culture has been established. So now I'm
going to tell you how we manage to do that. The first thing is communication.
There is no such thing as over communication with a virtual team, you have to
constantly share information, ask for input, ask for feedback, answer questions on
a regular basis. So the pace of communication is critical. It's very easy for members
of a virtual team to feel ignored. So you wanna make sure you don't feel that
because it's very easy for them to feel that. So communication is number one.
Number two, transparency. You need to make sure people understand what the
objective is and how we are going to achieve that objective, and you need to make
sure people are comfortable with that. And if they have issues, you need to feel
safe to bring it up and you need to feel sure that you are sharing with them what
they need to know. If they feel that information is not being shared or updates are
not provided or they're not aware of some important aspects of what's going on,
you're going to lose it. So that's the second part, the transparency. The third part is
trust, and this is a tough one, but you can not achieve the third one without the
first two. You have to build trust. You need to build trust between you, the leader,
and the members of the team and among the team members. So you need to
ensure that as a leader of the team, you will do whatever you can to support the
team. And you have to explain that on a regular basis, what are the things you're
doing to support the team. When people ask you questions, my rule is 24 hours.
When somebody sends me an email with a concern or a question or some
feedback, I'll get back to them in 24 hours, they know that, they know they don't
have to wait, they know that I will respond. The answer I give them may not be the
answer they would like to hear, but they will get an answer and an explanation.
Constantly asking for their input. The last one that I would share is getting people
to know about each other, the stuff that I was talking about earlier. This is really
critical. So what I do as an example is, every three to six months, I hold workshops
for my researchers and the team presents to each other where they are with the
data, with the results, with the findings, and what they're doing. And when we get
together, because of the size we go into breakout rooms and have all kinds of
discussions among them, then we incorporate some social hour. We call it
network. So 20 minutes, and we tell them, “here are the breakout rooms, go join
whichever you want.” They see the list of the people who will join in different
breakouts. So it's these main mechanisms that I try to build the culture of respect,
trust, performance, everybody knows why we're together. Initially I had a team of
over 500 researchers, but I disqualified over a hundred of them and qualified 424.
That means over a hundred people did not deliver. And I sent them a very nice
letter telling them that here are the criteria, that you knew right from the
beginning we've used these criteria to evaluate your performance, and
unfortunately your performance does not meet our requirements. And everybody
else knows, the team members do not know who was disqualified, but they know
that a large number of people were disqualified because they did not perform
according to expectations. So, those are the mechanisms. I've done it with my
clients, I've done it in my research, and I've done it in my own project.
22:58 Pablo López: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm
just curious about that, how long have you been doing that with your researchers?
I mean, building this team.
23:08 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: We started in late 2016.
23:11 Pablo López: Yeah, got it.
23:13 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: The project is still going. It is the largest research
project of its kind, ever. And we have just completed the data collection and we
are now focusing on producing the results.
23:27 Pablo López: Got it. And how much would you say it took for you to have this
team culture built?
23:34 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: The first 18 months were critical. Because we were
recruiting, we were approaching people. We were soliciting their support and at
the same time they had to submit their CV, they had to answer a bunch of
questions because we have to evaluate if this person is capable of doing the job
that we need them to do. Now here's the other thing, by the way, we produced a
handbook for the members of the team. That handbook has been our Bible. We
put a lot of effort into creating that handbook, telling them: “Here's what we
expect from you, here's what we promise to you, here's the behavior we expect”
and all kinds of things. The handbook is a tangible external memory for everyone.
All virtual teams that have to work together for a long period, and by that I mean
over six months intensively, need to produce a handbook and the handbook
explains the role of the leader, the role of the team member, the qualifications, the
objectives, evaluation of performance, methods of communication, all of those
things. So, here's another thing I do, which may be of interest to you. Every four to
six weeks, I send out an update to all the team members. “Here is what we have
accomplished over the past four to six weeks, here are the issues we're still facing,
here are our expectations for the next four to six weeks”. So constant
communication. And in the updates I refer to the handbook, reminding people
that there is a handbook and we follow the handbook. So, as a team leader, if you
are working with a virtual team, the critical part of communication is providing
updates. Now, the update depends on the intensity of the work of the team
members. You may have to provide an update every Monday morning. It doesn't
have to be a big update, but that's how you get everybody connected to what you're
trying to accomplish. Remember, it's very easy for people on virtual teams to feel ignored.
Keep that in mind. So the challenge to you is, how do you avoid that? How do you
make sure that does not happen?
26:52 Pablo López: Great. Thank you so much for that invaluable information. I
think it's the first time to hear something like that. Developing a handbook and it
makes complete sense, so thank you.
27:05 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: It doesn't need to be a big document. Ours is pretty
big and actually you can go to our website, globeproject.com, and just have a look
at the handbook. Business teams are different from this particular team. However,
what I'm sharing with you is really the gold standard for managing the virtual
27:37 Pablo López: Okay, great.
27:38 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: If you are working on a virtual team that ends in
one month, that's not that big a deal and weekly updates are pretty good. But a
handbook with maybe two pages for a group like that.
27:53 Pablo López: Okay, great. I think we can move on to the next question.
Again, thank you. Now let's talk about motivation and engagement. This is
something that we can all feel that we can all relate to, something that is a daily
battle. A lot of people have trouble with motivation and engagement, even in the
conventional office. In that case, what can a remote worker do to keep motivated?
Is it his responsibility? Is it the company's responsibility? What are your thoughts
28:36 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Let me ask you a question. Are you all based in New York
right now? All four of you?
28:41 Pablo López: No.
28:42 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Okay. So where are you based?
28:44 Pablo López: We're all based here in Peru.
28:47 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: In Peru, in Lima? Are you Lima? All of you?
28:50 Pablo López: Yeah.
28:51 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Okay. I love Lima. I used to visit it pre-COVID
regularly. I was working with Alicorp. I am going to answer your question for two
different types of individuals. The first type is an individual who is on a virtual team
pretty much all day. In other words, their job, their role, is a virtual role. The second
type of person is a person who has a day job, but has been assigned to a virtual
project. You know what I mean? So I'm a marketing manager, I work in the
marketing department, that's my job, but I've been asked to join a global virtual
team for a new product. That's on top of what I do. You see the difference between
these two individuals? So let's call them a full-time virtual member versus a
part-time virtual member. I'm going to start with the part-time virtual member
because that is the tougher one. The person who is a part-time virtual member,
his or her task is really something else. They're being evaluated on their functional
job, their boss, but they have to work for another project manager associated with
the project that they are involved in. Now, how do you motivate that person? Well,
number one, the project, this virtual team has to be part of their performance
values. If it's not, you don't have much motivation. So, that team has to be part of
their evaluation. The second thing is what's the reward system. You always want to
align the interest of the individual with the interest of the team. So what's in it for
them? What happens to them if the team is successful? The third thing is the
project itself, the objective of the team, what are we doing? The more exciting,
interesting, relevant that objective is to the person, the easier it is for them to be
motivated. It's not just about money, it's not just about my performance
evaluation, it's also about if I care about what I'm doing. I've been asked to spend
five hours a week on this virtual team. Do I like what's going on? The next
motivator is the relationship between the person, the team leader, and the team
members. If that relationship is one of trust, it's not about liking each other, it's
about trusting each other, it's about transparency, all the things that I discussed.
So, if I'm assigned to a virtual team that I believe in my team members, I believe in
my leader, that gives me motivation to do the best I can. So, there is the emotional
side and the task related side. The task related side is the objective, the
performance evaluation, how important is this to the broader scheme of things.
And then the emotional side is about my relation with my project leader, with the
team members, etc. Now, I started with the part-time member because, as you
can imagine, it's tougher, because the project and the virtual team is competing
with the amount of time that the individual is spending on their day job. I have my
day job, all of these researchers have their own day job, and I am competing with
my own day job. Of course, in my case, I'm a professor. So what I do on research is
not inconsistent with the job that I have at the university. But that's not always the
case on the corporate side. Now, let's look at a full time team member. So I've been
hired and right from day one I've been assigned to a virtual function. So, my group
is all over the world or all over and I have to work with it. Everything that I
mentioned is absolutely relevant, but it's a little easier to do because a hundred
percent of my time is dedicated to the project. So the project is not competing
34:37 Pablo López: Okay. Yeah. It makes sense. If you're working hybrid, I think it's
called hybrid. You work both in presence and remotely. It makes sense. So again,
thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I think we can move on to the next
question. This next one is related to skills, some people mentioned that there are some
skills that make working remotely a much better experience. So for you and in your experience; what sort of skills, both hard and soft, have you identified to be vital to
35:21 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Before I talk about skills, I'm going to tell you
something that's even more important: it's the mindset of each team member.
What I mean by that is, number one, you have to be open minded. This is
particularly important if you have people from different cultures on your team.
Number two, you have to show respect. In many cases, we disagree among each
other, but in the past four years, there has never been a raised voice, there has
never been a case where a bunch of people felt frustrated and angry and irritated
and upset. Why? Because when we make decisions, we allow everybody to
participate and to contribute. But we also have made it clear that at some point I
am going to make the decision and whatever decision I make is going to be based
on the discussion and the debate inside the team and is going to be justified, I will
provide an explanation or why we have made this decision. So respect people's
ideas and people's energy. It is so easy for people with different kinds of
backgrounds to look down on each other. “Oh, I'm a finance guy, you are the
salesperson. I am so much smarter than you.” Believe it or not, I worked with a
team of researchers at NASA and they have different expertise. They're all super
smart people, but one group thinks, “Oh, I'm smarter than you. I'm a theoretical
physicist, you are applied physics. That means I'm smarter than you.” These are
highly accomplished researchers, scientists, but they're also human beings. So the
mindset of respect and open-mindedness is critical. No skill is going to be helpful
to you if you don't have the right mindset for a virtual team. Now, obviously you
need the same thing for an in-person team, but it's doubly more important when
you are on a virtual team. So that's the mindset you need to start. Now, if you have
the mindset, what are the skills? The first skill is to be a good communicator.
Now, let me ask you a question. When I use that sentence, be a good
communicator, what does that mean to you?
38:35 Pablo López: I would say what you just mentioned, there's no such thing as
over communicating, something in the global virtual. So I would say that is to be a
38:45 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: So to you, Pablo, being a good communicator
means making sure people understand your message?
38:52 Pablo López: Yeah, exactly.
38:53 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: So I'm going to tell you, that's only half of the
picture. The other half is to make sure you understand the other people. See when
I use that sentence, everybody defines it exactly the way you did. I'm a good
communicator because I make sure everybody understands my message. But
before everybody understands your message, you need to make sure you
understand their message, who they are, and their way of thinking. It's a two way
street. For me to be able to influence you I have to be willing to allow you to
influence me. You know what I mean? So that is the critical skillset, being a good
listener. Being a good listener means making sure I understand you. It means I'm
not going to pay attention, while I've been talking with you, to my phone which is
constantly ringing. It's very easy for people to get distracted. I'm going to check
my email while I'm listening to this guy. You can't do that. If you have an attitude
or a mindset of respect to someone, you don't do that, you set everything else
aside. They're part of your team, your job is to listen to them. It doesn't mean you
agree with them. I may totally disagree with you on something, but I will disagree
with you after I understand what you're saying and how you're saying it. That's the
respect that I owe you as a member of the virtual team. Believe me, helping
managers be a good listener is actually very hard, because everybody thinks
they're a very good listener, but in fact they're not. You want to know how good a
listener you are, ask your partner, they're the best person to give you an answer. So
those are the skills, but the skills are anchored in a foundation. The foundation is
your mindset. Is that clear?
41:39 Pablo López: Yeah, completely. I just have a question regarding that
mindset. I mean, this question is regarding the skills of course, but as you
mentioned, first comes the mindset. So what can we do to develop that? Is there a
way we can develop a mindset? Are there some people that probably don't have it
and just won't have it?
42:01 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Yeah, in teams there will be people who don't have
it. So your question is, well, what can you do as a team or as a leader to at least try?
Remember the handbook, where you will have a section on how we work
together. But it's not enough just to put it on paper or to put it on a website, you
need to have conversations about that with your team members. So we're gonna
spend the next hour as a team discussing what a successful virtual team means to
each one of you. Let's define it. So each team member puts together their top two
ideas for a team that is gonna be successful. We'll write them all down and then
we look at that and, as a leader, you make sure that the issue of mindset comes
up. If nobody brings it up, you bring it up and you put it up there. We need to
show respect, we need to be open minded. Now, what does that mean? In
behavioral terms, let's define what behaviors we should do and not do in order to
be open minded and to show respect. So you get people to agree on that,
whatever people agree on, you put it in the handbook. That's how you do it. It
doesn't mean that you're gonna be successful with everybody, but you will be
successful with a sufficient number of people to make the team work together.
44:03 Pablo López: Okay, great. It completely makes sense, I'm just thinking about
it. It's a really great idea and I don't know what else to add. It is really great.
So, I think we can just move to the next question. We just have a couple of
questions left, and the next one is related to productivity. I mean, this is something
that we can also discuss a lot. Productivity is an important topic, even more when
working remotely. But there are of course a lot of different opinions about it. What
is productivity? What can we do to enhance productivity? Is someone actually
productive? So, what strategies have you identified to enhance this productivity in
your team, in your experience working?
44:56 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: So everything that I've discussed up to now can
help answer this question. Let me backtrack. When I teach virtual teams, I start
with a sentence. I say, “Having a successful virtual team is like having green space
in Arizona.” It doesn't happen naturally, Arizona is a desert. So if you expect
suddenly to have roses and beautiful trees and bushes, it's not going to happen. It
happens in Lima, but that is not going to happen in Phoenix. Why? Because the
climate is not conducive. The same thing is true about virtual teams. If you want to
have a successful virtual team, it's not going to happen automatically and
naturally. You have to artificially manage it, you have to change the climate, you
have to build the climate in order to have a successful team. What that means is
communication, trust, transparency. Right off the bat, before the group does
anything, they have to spend hours together reaching agreements on their
definition of a successful team, their definition of how to communicate with each
other, their definition of how to deal with conflict, how to give negative feedback
to each other. That's what I mean by manually managing the team climate. If you
just say, “Let's get together and talk about the project, etcetera,” it's not going to
work. As a leader, you need to take extra steps compared to an in person team, you
need to take extra steps to ensure that the proper climate for the success of a
virtual team is created. Now, on top of that are objectives of the project. Are those
goals important to the organization? Are those goals important to me as a
member of a team? All of those are critical also. Well, I want to talk about the more foundational things.
47:43 Pablo López: Okay, great. As I mentioned, it's something we have never
heard before. But it's really important to have those discussions, right? To get the
things done there to express that, “Hey, this is the way we're gonna do it.” But,
48:04 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Think of it this way, what is the DNA of an effective
virtual team? Ask yourself that question. When you are working with your clients,
when you are offering them solutions, start with that. What is the DNA of an
effective virtual team? What are the metrics? And then, what are the steps you
can take as an organization to achieve that? To ensure that the DNA exists, to
ensure that you're accomplishing the metrics.
48:41 Pablo López: Right. I mean, yeah, we are building that, but more than that,
we're also a global team. So those suggestions are also for us, ourselves.
48:54 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: You guys are part of it. You are a global virtual
team. And everything I mentioned is doubly harder when you have people from
different countries. Let me give you a simple example. Every one of you speaks
very good English, but that's not the case in many global teams, people have
different accents. So it's sometimes hard to understand. The accents create
invisible walls among team members and everybody avoids talking about it
because it sounds bad, disrespectful, and all of that. But if you don't deal with it, if
you don't help people break down the invisible wall of accents, communication is
going to suffer, but you have to be very tactful on how you deal with the accents.
49:53 Pablo López: Yeah, of course. It's not easy to do that. As you mentioned, it
might lead to something that you don't want. So again, thank you for sharing your
thoughts on that. We just have one question left which is actually related to your
work. We know that you are researching trust in global virtual teams.
So we would like to know if you have any suggestions for people who would like to
continue your research.
50:22 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: What do you mean by continue? Do you mean
reading more articles that I produce? Do you mean actually getting global virtual
teams involved in research? Tell me more.
50:34 Pablo López: Yes. I mean researching. Probably something that you wanted
to do and that you didn't get to do or something that your research was focused
on or another focus that could be done also, something like that.
50:52 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Well, right now, as I mentioned earlier, I have
completed the data collection. As a matter of fact, I did two very interesting
workshops in Lima, I believe it was in 2019, with Peruvian executives. We discussed
trust, what does it take to build trust? What does it take to decide if your Peruvian
new colleague is trustworthy? And we had some really interesting conversations.
So I've completed that line of work. Over the next two years, I would expect to be
producing more articles on trust specifically among people in different parts of
the world. And also some articles about global virtual teams. But I'm not going to
collect data anymore within the next two years. If you have clients who you need
to provide support in terms of how to manage their virtual teams and how to help
them do a lot of the stuff that I talked about, one of the things that I do for
consulting firms is they put me in front of some of their clients for 90 minutes or
for two hours where we get into a lot more depth on some of the issues that are
directly relevant to them. Something for you to think about.
52:37 Pablo López: Thank you. Thank you for that idea. I think that would be, yeah,
I think with that we can wrap up our interview. I don't know if anyone has
anything to add.
52:49 Victoria Gálvez: I just think that the amount of knowledge that you've been
able to share with us has been increasingly significant. I think that you may have
seen us in plenty of times during this interview and go, “Oh, yes.” Because we
identify with what you're saying and we will definitely make sure to implement a
lot of the strategies that you have mentioned for our own team, as Pablo said. So
thank you very much for that.
53:15 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Thank you. I want to leave you with something to
think about. There are many consulting firms that offer competencies, global
leadership competencies, global team competencies, skills. What I've been trying
to leave with you is that there is something more basic that you need to attend to
before you talk about competencies and skills. I hope that has been helpful.
53:51 Victoria Gálvez: Thank you.
53:52 Pablo López: Yes, exactly. Okay. Thank you so much. We are really grateful.
We can wrap our interview. And Lima is waiting for you whenever you want to
come again. Well, it's not sunny right now, but it's great.
54:08 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Maybe, in Lima, in fall, I may just send you guys an
54:14 Pablo López: That would be great. Yeah. We have team members here in
54:18 Ph.D. Mansour Javidan: Have a great day, everybody.
54:19 Pablo López: Thank you so much. Have a nice day.
54:21 Victoria Gálvez: Thank you too.
—End of Interview—