This day was organised at COMET meetings in Paris. The team of 30 staff members arrived on the site at 8.30 a.m. to enjoy a welcome breakfast. From 9.00 a.m., the staff members got together in the room that was reserved for them to explore the impact of cultural barriers and communication on companies.
In light of a new model for understanding the challenges of international working, they examined their own real situations and discussed solutions to the difficulties that they are currently confronted with as managers of scattered teams. They discussed the risks and opportunities of the international working environment, which has higher levels of uncertainty, complexity, paradox and diversity.
After the coffee break it was time to focus on relationships and trust. Using their experience, the group discovered how quickly we make hypotheses about each other and consider each other negatively. The staff members then put into practice a model of mental agility to help them to slow down their thinking processes and give them more choices and more flexibility, especially while communicating with people that we consider to be different from us. We explored ways of strengthening trust and developing a culture of learning and feedback in a context of diversity.
After a tasty lunch at the COMET restaurant, the group explored different ways of influencing and aligning their communication, with a model of interactive dialogue. The goal was to explore the need for sometimes communicating in an unusual way to ensure mutual understanding, a phenomenon which does not just need a reasonable level of English but by metacommunication strategies, such as proactively engaging other people and clarifying and exploring the meaning of the words of the person you are speaking to. This model was contrasted with common communication methods in different cultures.
In the afternoon, best virtual communication practices were explored. This intense and enjoyable day finished with individual managers who explored and shared their personal action plans and their next steps. They committed themselves to implementing what they had learnt and improving communication and collaboration in their international teams. They also had many ideas about improving relations between departments!