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Jordi Greenham: Here’s how your startup can succeed with international teams

Global conditions have led to more and more startups resorting to remote work in a short period of time. These new forms of organization bring new challenges, especially when working with multicultural teams.

Whether only part or all of the team is located in different geographic zones, leading remotely can be complicated; it requires discipline and, perhaps, a greater effort to make processes concrete. In contrast, remote work is growing in popularity; in fact, this modus operandi has become dominant in international organizations.

Communication, by itself, is not simple, but it is not impossible either. The important thing, as always, is to be clear about our ideas. But where to start?


“Know thyself” is a phrase that may well sum up this point.

We are talking about clear goals, objectives, and values. Defined plans and a supporting strategy. A well-established structure is not only an indicator of stability but also of growth. For that, communication channels must be consistent and, above all, efficient.

Use technology to your advantage; exploit the different advantages of multiple platforms. Make use of specific channels to send specific messages: when is an e-mail better, when is a videoconference pertinent? Although a call cannot overcome a physical meeting, it is capable of solving the details of written language. In any case, it is advisable to schedule face-to-face meetings at least once a year.

Get to know your employees

Being part of a global economy means interacting with a multitude of diverse ideas and cultures. In that sense, when we talk about innovation, it is necessary to keep in mind those elements that not only benefit the company but are attractive to talent. In other words, take the time to get to know your employees, also as a person. Distance does not prevent you from developing empathy. The human experience can be built in many ways, so it is not impossible to make them feel appreciated.

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What time is it there?

Of course, it’s not just about a different language, it’s about social protocols, holidays, labor laws, time zones, religions, traditions. We agree that laughter is universal, even if humor is not. This approach is indispensable; even the perception of power within the team can be affected if differences are not recognized, which is made worse if leadership is kept at bay from such issues.

Following this idea, adaptation and flexibility become imperative. While there are things that should be fixed from the beginning, such as work schedules, responsibilities, objectives, and expectations, it should be possible to adapt to any given situation. Remote work has, in some ways, blurred the line between home and workspace, as much as it has transformed notions about productivity. What periods are most productive? Is a fixed schedule really urgent or is another arrangement of time possible? What are the needs of the team? Think quality over quantity.


A remote working relationship may require some control, specifically, to be aware of the overall performance and status of the staff. This is by no means new. However, at a distance, the results can be more evident, especially when it comes to trust.
In reality, this is the path of a team that relates in a healthy way. Beyond the limitations of technology, we need to think about how it is capable of overcoming its own barriers, of building new human relationships.

Undoubtedly, those who embrace change will be at the forefront of the future.

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