Effective teamwork can accelerate achievement of business results tremendously.  In regards to intercultural skills you can think in terms of basic physics.  Two objects will double their combined velocity if they are moving toward each other.  What that means for our international teams is that we will get better results faster if all the team members develop good intercultural skills and learn how to come to understand and problem solve together.

One of the misconceptions that occurs in international business is that international experience equals international competence.  Just having a passport and lots of frequent flier miles does not necessarily translate into adaptability, good judgement/decision-making, or the ability to plan effective intercultural strategies.

What we need is to have a plan that includes opportunities to raise the skill level of all team members — not just the “newbies” to international business.  So while we should take ownership of our own development and improving our intercultural skills, don’t neglect the chance to help improve the rest of the team in which you work.   This can be done as simply sharing observations and learning with colleagues on how some intercultural insights helped you with some business issue.