My life building bridges (and opportunities) in tech

Global, May 7, 2024

When I started my career in tech 20 years ago, it was an industry with very little diversity. Of course, these last two decades have seen an enormous and very welcome change, with many women and colleagues around the world coming into the industry to add huge diversity and offer a broader range of ideas.

So, what do we need to grow the tech industry of the past into the tech industry of the future?

For me, with my brief to create the best possible links between teams at Logicalis and Microsoft, it’s all about navigating diverse behaviours and cultures with sensitivity and insight. It’s a huge area to cover but here are three thoughts to get started.


Think before you speak

Previously at Vodafone Global Enterprise I studied cultures and behaviours because it was something I just had to bring into my day-to-day relationship management. I couldn’t talk to Spain in the same way I spoke to Germany or the USA for example. I had to make sure I was flexing my style to suit who I was speaking to and where I was speaking to them as well. 

It is all about tailoring the way you communicate to the needs of different teams and colleagues, rather than just having generic conversations.

Know (and cherish) your natural differences

People around the world come to work with a different set of standards and expectations. In some regions, teams want things done for them and explained to them. In some countries teams need your sponsorship as permission to take particular decisions and actions. 

As an example, I recently visited Asia to sit on a regional team panel because it was important for everyone to see me in the room to demonstrate my commitment to their business. At the other end of the spectrum there are teams around the world where they are culturally more independent and don’t need to see me at all.

The great news is that teams taking such different approaches to the way they work can all achieve fantastic results. The challenge can be when we bring separate regions into the same room – physical or virtual – to work together and plan, communicate, and deliver projects successfully.

In a large global organisation like Logicalis, our 7500 Architects of Change span lots of character types, styles of behaviour, and country teams that need to work together effectively every single day. This includes cultures where the norm for individuals is to be relatively quiet and introverted, to others that prefer a much more Gun-Ho and hard-hitting approach. 

The real secret is to be aware we are not all the same and for this to be front of mind when we work together. On a typical day I need to switch from being softly-softly to reflect who I am talking to on one call, to being much more matter of fact and target driven on the next call with colleagues in another part of the world.


The nuts and bolts: create a supportive culture across boundaries

For me, to improve communication and avoid misunderstandings has always required us to build a sense of community and support.

The mechanics start with a bi-weekly alliance update on which I invite all of the relevant Logicalis and Microsoft teams around the world on two calls – one AM and one PM UK-time – so everything is globally inclusive. Everybody attends because we have created a community where we all know we are listened to, and these global discussions are framed to be relevant to everyone’s local activity.

We also build on our regular calls with full Community Calls every quarter to which all stakeholders at Logicalis and Microsoft are invited. And we have an active Teams channel just for a stakeholder group of approximately 50 of us across the globe.  

This promotes one-to-one conversations, so the Chat is always busy with something like, “Just a quick question Australia, what’s your experience of X, Y, and Z?” Plus, we also run what we call Spotlight calls to bring different country teams together to compare how they are operating and experiences to learn from each other. 

Over the last 12 months we have also introduced a regular newsletter to recognise all the good work that is happening and for teams across Logicalis and Microsoft to gel and understand the joint effort that is taking place to promote and grow our joint businesses. 

Coming back to the heart of my focus:

Navigating diverse behaviours and cultures with sensitivity and insight – the measure of success I always apply is when I am not needed anymore. It’s when we have built a bridge for separate teams to come together across cultures to create technological solutions that could potentially change the world. 

What better reason to get out of bed in the morning? And what a huge change to when I started as one of the relatively few women in tech 20 years ago.


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