When two or more businesses decide to work together on an international scale, the potential for success is high. By following these six tips, you can ensure that your collaboration goes as smoothly as possible and results in a win-win situation for all involved.
Define The Scope & Objectives
Working with a partner on an international scale can be a big undertaking, so it’s essential to have a clear understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve before you get started. By getting everyone on the same page from the beginning, you can avoid misunderstandings and disagreements down the road. Some questions you should ask yourselves include: What are our goals? What does success look like? What are we each bringing to the table? How will we communicate and make decisions? Answering these questions early on will save you a lot of headaches later.
Memorandum Of Understanding
Write everything down in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or term sheet so that everyone is clear on the terms of the agreement. If you’re working with a foreign government, there may already be an MOU template that you can use. For private sector collaborations, you can find templates online or hire a lawyer to help you draft one. No matter what, make sure that everyone involved understands and agrees to the terms before moving forward.
Avoid Miscommunications & Misunderstandings
The last thing you want is for things to go south because of a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Hire a professional translator to translate the MOU into all relevant languages so that everyone is on the same page. There are many translating companies available, like Het Vertaalbureau, which can translate any documentation into 140 different languages. Even if everyone involved speaks English, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have things translated by a professional. This way, there’s no room for misunderstanding or ambiguity. Plus, it shows that you’re taking the collaboration seriously and are committed to making things work seamlessly from a logistical standpoint.
Regular Check-Ins & Communication Channels
Once you’ve got the MOU squared away, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll actually work together on a day-to-day basis. Set up regular check-ins and communication channels. When you’re working with someone in a different time zone or country, things can get complicated quickly if you’re not diligent about staying in touch. To avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications, set up regular check-ins (e.g., weekly video calls) and establish clear channels of communication (e.g., email, WhatsApp, WeChat). This way, everyone is always on the same page and knows what’s going on at all times.
Different Understanding Of Time & Deadlines
Another critical thing to keep in mind when working on international collaboration is that not everyone will have the same understanding of time and deadlines. For example, it’s perfectly normal in some cultures to show up to a meeting 30 minutes late, whereas in others, being five minutes late is considered rude and unprofessional. To avoid any awkwardness or misunderstandings, it’s essential to be aware of these cultural differences and adjust your expectations accordingly. Do your research and be flexible. When in doubt, err on the side of being too flexible rather than too rigid. After all, you’re trying to build a strong working relationship with someone from a different culture. A little bit of understanding and accommodation can go a long way.
Of course, even if you do your best to be culturally sensitive, there will inevitably be some differences in how you and your partner operate. This is why it’s vital to have systems and processes in place to deal with conflict resolution. Establish clear guidelines for resolving conflicts. No matter how well you get along with your collaborator, there will inevitably be some disagreements at some point. It’s just a part of working together. What’s important is how you deal with those disagreements. Do you sweep them under the rug and hope they go away? Or do you address them head-on in a constructive way? The latter is obviously the better option, but it’s not always easy to do in the heat of the moment. That’s why it’s essential to establish clear guidelines for resolving conflicts before they even happen.
So there you have it – six tips for a successful international collaboration. If you can follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong, productive partnership with someone from another country.