How to work with an emotionally blocked team on offshore projects
January 15, 2016
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Are you loosing credibility as a Manager on the Offshore Project?


Do you as a feel caught between the decisions coming from the upper management and the team? Like being caught in a storm that you didn’t choose. Feeling powerless to influence the decisions coming from the top and not knowing how to implement those decisions.

This was the case of Tony of who was asked to take over the management of IT services. He was excited about his promotion and anxious of the challenges ahead of him as the previous director had lost millions of euros the year before in the work carried out of Pune, India.
Tony worked hard to bring forth his leadership in the new situation but the pressure kept increasing as production errors continued, demands from unhappy clients increased, his management questioned his inability to resolve the financial loses and his team complained how hard it was to get quality work from the Pune team.

How do you lead a team with conviction when your natural intuition fails you? How to you feel when you don’t know how to solve the problem and your team is waiting for your direction?

 “Too many companies run TOP-down meetings to explain why organizations have to go offshore, but few tell their people how to do it.”

We all know we need to adapt our leadership styles, business strategies, working methods and processes based on whether we are running the project in Munich or in Mumbai. Projects fail when people fail to integrate the cultural dimension in business practices. Whose job is it to put the cultural dimension on the table and make this soft aspect a number one priority?

 Are your people waiting for you to solve their problems?

If your people are waiting for you to come up with solutions and show a direction, your credibility is at stake. There will be stories about how you are doing the dirty job in the organization to implement unpopular decisions, stories about your team from other functions, stories from your team, about you and stories will manifest.

Why are there stories in organisations?

Because in teams your behaviour is watched closely by people and your impact is highly noticeable. What you do is likely to be commented on and your lack of actions or communication can create an information void where gossip and rumours will fill the gap.


What is your narrative?

What voices do you want to grow in your team?

What opportunities do you want to capture?

How can you find renewed energy for yourself?

How can you engage your team?

How can you make decisions with confidence?

It is like you are the leader of this sailboat in turmoil weather you like it or not. You can shut your eyes and ignore the storm, or look for a young skipper or take charge and learn to handle it. But if you settle down your internal mind chatter and believe that no one can take the greatness inside you, and trust the winds will be by your side, instead of fearing and resisting you will eventually learn to sail.


So if you choose to take charge, may I suggest a few tips that will help you?

TIP 1: Listen

Listen to ALL the voices in the system. Remain curious to the unpopular voices, or ones you disagree with. Because everyone in the team plays a hidden role, like a comforter, devil’s advocate, motherly care, humour, risk assessor, visionary or compassion builder. If you miss to hear one person you will fail to get the overall picture. People’s voices will help you understand how things need to work.

TIP 2: Set SMART goals

Set SMART Goals for your entire team. Hold the entire system accountable. Set a 3-month goal for the team to bring about the change you want. For example Tony decided to increase productivity by two fold in 3 months. A target that made people say, “WOW, that’s high”. That is exactly the point. Set thrilling goals. Thrilling goals demonstrates the manager’s trust in people’s resourcefulness to achieve them.

So, we set 10-day sprints with short goals and designed specific actions for each individual and the team as a whole. Setting team goals brings focus and evokes shared responsibility.

TIP 3: Get professional help

To help you achieve your most important goal. You are human. You have set goals before, failed to achieve them. But with this contract the stakes are high. Accountability from people within the organization can also fail. Get professional help with domain expertise to advice you on your most important goal. They will not only hold you accountable but also your team.

TIP 4 – Find the stars

Identify the shining stars in your team. There will be at least one person who yearns to learn and excel. Find the top performers who are willing to take risks to change the sails in the storm. Get them to tell their success stories. People often don’t want to hear advices from exceptionally great people. It’s too far out. They want to know from one of their own kind that they too can do it.

TIP 5 – Include mindfulness component

A wellbeing component will train the brain to deal with complexity and chaos. It is no more a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”.  In the early 80 doctors spoke about how running was good for the public heath care systems. Mindfulness today is the way for everyone to have healthy brains, clear thinking, effective decision-making capabilities, and protects us from toxic stress.

Do you want to transform your offshore project?

Doing it alone demands mental toughness and experience in offshoring. Thus RShore accompanies companies in making transformative changes a reality. We design specific transformation programs based on the context, challenges and goals. We support managers in our special one-to-one mentoring sessions to make this journey easy and achievable.

With our experience in offshoring we support companies to manage better globally.