How to make distance work work: Case study

– We are just so frustrated! We can’t deal with it anymore. We are fed up and are on the verge of giving up. – said the team manager when ETTA consultant enquired about the cooperation. – Perhaps it’s the wrong projector maybe we are sitting in the wrong company.

– So what happens specifically? – He was not able to explain in detail. All the small things pile up. On the top of it, Polish people were working for a client from India! In this scenario, they were the service provider that fit the needs and expectations of a client in India. Cooperating fully virtually and never having met face-to-face.

We needed to understand what actually was happening in the communication. The trainer analyzed the hottest email threads with all their rapidity, abundance, and crowds of cc’d names. Some patterns became (emerged). The Polish people needed to know more about building relationships from a distance in a more high-context and relationship-oriented culture than their own. Explaining things like the need to keep in touch by chat to IT engineers in Poland was not easy – but many of them understood. Yet the team was lucky: most importantly, the manager got the gist of it. The training became the first step to a full year evolution of how the team communicated with their Indian partners – and a slow evolution towards a collaborative virtual partnership.