Assuming you are the CEO of a company and you have a new multicultural management team as well as a very challenging assignment ahead of you that needs to be addressed fast. What are you going to do?  Depending on culture CEOs will follow different routes:


Before we address the challenge I would like to introduce Transformational Leadership.


Transformational leadership is essential for addressing any organizational challenge and it is not only about having a great vision and being inspirational. It is much more and it relates a lot how you inspire and mobilize your Team(s) to embrace the vision and execute together. The top 3 characteristics of Transformational Leadership are:


  1. Connect with your feelings and with others
  2. Be curious and open minded
  3. Be inspiring through telling relevant stories



In your team there are many nationalities:  2 Chinese, 1 Indian, 2 Germans, 1 British, 1 American, 1 Brazilian, 1 French and 1 Japanese. So what is the best way to create fast great team spirit?

As everything starts with TRUST which is the glue that keeps the people together the question is how do we create fast TRUST among all team members taking into account their different cultures.


From one side we have the American, the Germans and the British that TRUST is built based on business related activities: how good,  reliable and consistent work you do.  The Americans are the most rigid on this principle (task or head based TRUST) followed from the Germans and then the British.

On the other side of the spectrum we have the Japanese, the Brazilian, the Chinese and finally the Indian that built TRUST  by building relatively slowly first relationships (Heart based TRUST) at a relative deeper level.

The strength of the relationship needed is increasing going from Japanese to the Indians.


The French are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum a bit more towards relationship based TRUST.


Knowing all above what is the best way forward to create TRUST?


The best and only way that we can build trust within the context of such a multicultural team is to use the building relationships based approach. To achieve that, the new team needs a lot of casual time to find out about each other’s personal lives and this is of the essence.

This can be achieved through social activities like:


-casual and long drink/lunch/dinner sessions

-fun team building exercises

-exercises with exchanging roles

-other experiential learning activities with a lot of time for personal interaction.


Showing your true self (show your real self outside of a business setting) during all these team and social activities is essential as relationships are built based on openness, relax, have fun, share drinks, for some cultures drink a bit more, show your interest for others,…. Maintaining a professional attitude will be a no go for the heart based cultures as it will inhibit any potential connection to develop finally TRUST.


As the head based cultures communicate very explicitly and the majority of the heart based cultures communicate implicitly the only way to build TRUST is to agree a communication method that creates mutual understanding. The only way to achieve that in a context of a multicultural team is to pre agree and use explicit communication! and not implicit that will create a lot of misunderstandings.




After the TRUST is established focusing as a TEAM in the challenge at hand with clear understanding of the shared vision, objectives/goals and work together in multifunctional teams to create a strategy and action plan to deliver the results will be the standard focus.



In case you have such a challenge we will be able to help you with:


“Business Dynamics” which is a methodology that ensures Transformational Leadership is understood and implemented consistently across the TEAM & beyond including Creation of TRUST that is the foundation to achieve faster the wanted results.


If Interested to apply in your Team or Company please contact me at


Thank you very much.

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Mike Mastroyiannis is Business, Management & Executive Coach and Management Consultant for among others Transformational Leadership, Business Transformations, Exponentially Disruptive Innovations. He has served as CEO of business units in Multinationals, founded or lead start-ups and serves in advisory boards. He can be reached through LinkedIn or email