Guest Blogger: Shannon Sullivan
Overall, my experience with X-Culture really was a positive one. Aside from a few issues early on with team members not responding to emails, or dropping out of the project without any warning, everything went pretty smoothly for us. I was lucky to be with a group of very intelligent and dedicated students who all wanted to do a good job and not just skirt by. My assumption at the beginning of the project was that as team leader, I was going to wind up having to do the bulk of the work, but that wound up not being the case, thankfully.
The most important thing that I learned from X-Culture is that being a diplomat can get you a long way, if you have the right group of people. I had been the leader of many successful team projects over the years, but I had never had a group of people who came from all over the world, so I was unsure if my leading style was going to work for the group. At the start of the project, I was concerned that my group would not take my authority seriously, whether it be because they did not care about the class in general, or because perhaps cultural differences would make them not want a female in charge. I am happy to report that I did not have any issues, and leading with a kind but firm hand really worked out for us.
Another important thing I took from the project is confidence. I know that I am a good student and have been a good leader in the past, but having to work on a global virtual team was completely new territory for me, and it really helped to have the experience overall, because I know that in an ever-globalizing world, I will more than likely be dealing with virtual teams quite frequently in a professional setting. It is good to know that I am capable of producing quality work while being charge of people from such varied cultures. My cultural confidence was also boosted. I had always thought of myself as an understanding person, particularly of cultural differences, but this project really proved to me that I do not need to have too many trepidations in working with different cultures in the future.
If I were to do anything differently, I would perhaps set the early deadlines I made for the group a day or two earlier than I had, just to be sure I did not run into any last minute headaches regarding things not being turned in on time, or having to edit things at the last minute, although neither problem wound up being too big of an issue for us. For the most part, though, there is really not much I would do differently.