Working with Global Teams

by Dean A. Lippold

Dean LippoldChances are high that in your career you will work on a global team. The team might be composed of people from different countries all working in the same office or it may be a dispersed team with its members spread out across several countries. A global team might involve you working in another country leading a team of local nationals.

These diverse teams can be of extreme value to the organization if harnessed effectively. Conversely, if ineffectively managed the teams may withdraw into themselves, providing little in the form of productive output and causing irreparable damage to the team and to the organization they are meant to serve.

When working with global teams, you must do more than you would in traditional team. The following points should be carefully considered in order to maximize the team’s success:

Communicate Effectively. Over communication may be important to ensure everyone gets the latest information, especially if teams are widely dispersed and time is short.  But communicating in the wrong manner will derail a team and cause a loss of time in the end. Consider the following when sharing information with global teams:

    • In what form does each individual embrace information most effectively?
    • Typically a person from a low context country, such as the United States, Germany and Sweden, prefers to communicate in a direct, transactional fashion. Conversely, a person from a high context culture (ie: Far East, Middle East and South American countries) views relationship building as an important part of the communication process.
    • Communication must increase in proportion to the diversity of the team and the distance the team members are from one another.

Appreciate the Values. It is important to understand not just what people do, but also why they find value in doing so. Understanding the value of the team’s customs and approaches will help you discover clues on how to effectively motivate the team, as well as help you establish respect with them.

Team Building. It is important that you encourage and sustain collaboration, especially in a team that is culturally diverse and/or dispersed. The team must not only work with you, but you will also need to ensure they are working effectively with each other.

Establishing Credibility and Respect. You will often be required to participate from a distance or in an environment where you have no previous history. To be effective over the long run, you must quickly build respect and credibility by going out of your way to help, learning from the team, and meeting in person during the initial stages of the team’s formation.

Spending time thinking about and adjusting your individual style to these points will help you become more effective when working with global teams.  Often times, just demonstrating to the team that you are serious about these points will go a long way to helping you and the team be successful.

Mr. Lippold is currently Vice President of Research and Development at Dean Foods, Broomfield, Co. He has spent his career working for top companies within the food & beverage industry where he has been responsible for developing new products, packages and processes, cross-functional team leadership, and organizational development.  He has held assignments in the U.S. as well as abroad, which have given him first-hand experience and appreciation of the challenges associated with leading multicultural and dispersed teams. Mr. Lippold graduated from Penn State in 1991 with a degree in chemical engineering.


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BP donates $45,000 to support students

J. Robert Gochnour, manager of BP’s advanced reservoir simulation development and deployment, delivered a $45,000 check yesterday morning to support Penn State students.

BP's J. Robert Gochnour, left, presents Associate Dean Renata Engel a $45,000 check to support student programs.

BP’s J. Robert Gochnour, left, presents Associate Dean Renata Engel a $45,000 check to support student programs.

Gochnour said $30,000 will go to support the University’s Millennium Scholars Program. The program is designed to support academically strong students whose plans include pursuing a doctoral degree in science or engineering, and who are committed to increasing the diversity of researchers in science and engineering.

Renata Engel, associate dean of academic programs in the College of Engineering, said the gift would be used for student scholarships.

The remaining $15,000 is designated for the Engineering Orientation Network, a student-run group that organizes an orientation for first-year students and runs several networking events throughout the academic year.

Gochnour is also a Penn State alumnus. He earned his bachelor’s in 1973, master’s in 1975 and doctorate in 1976 in petroleum and natural gas engineering.

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Alumni tailgate a success

More than 235 engineering alumni, students, faculty and staff enjoyed food and fellowship at the first-ever College of Engineering tailgate on Saturday before the Penn State-Indiana football game. (Photo credit: Paul Hazy)

With more than 235 people in attendance, the College of Engineering’s first alumni tailgate, held on Saturday in the Founder’s Lounge at the Bryce Jordan Center before the Penn State-Indiana football game, was an unqualified success.

The event was hosted by Dean David Wormley and the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) with proceeds going to the PSEAS Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduate engineering students who demonstrate the promise of academic success in the college.

A silent auction of donated gifts and Penn State memorabilia raised an additional $3,325 for the endowed scholarship.

The Penn State Engineering Ambassadors were also on hand for the tailgate with activities for alumni and children, including face painting.

Electrical engineering alumnus Dale Hoffman chaired the tailgate committee and mechanical engineering alumna and graduate student Katie Kirsch chaired the silent auction. The tailgate committee included architectural engineering alumni Jonathan Dougherty and Karen Sweeney, chemical engineering alumnus Ken Graziani, mechanical engineering alumnus Eric Loeliger and engineering science and mechanics alumnus Mike Erdman.

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Conigent Meet and Greet

All engineering students are invited to a meet and greet with Conigent TONIGHT at 5 p.m. at Adam’s Apple, located behind the Tavern Restaurant, 220 E. College Ave.

Students will meet Conigent’s CEO, 1995 engineering science alumnus Ameet Shah, and learn about his journey from college graduate to entrepreneur. Shah will discuss Conigent’s product Wodify, which is designed specifically for the CrossFit Industry, and available internship and full-time job opportunities.

For more information about the company, please visit

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Come tailgate and help engineering students

Proceeds from the first ever Penn State engineering alumni tailgate will go a scholarship for engineering students.

The Penn State Engineering Alumni Society (PSEAS) is hosting a tailgate before the Nov. 17 Penn State-Indiana football game with proceeds going to the PSEAS Endowed Scholarship for engineering students.

The event starts three and a half hours before kickoff at the Bryce Jordan Center’s Founders Lounge and will feature a hot buffet, children’s activities and a silent auction. In addition, engineering deans, students and alumni groups will be in attendance.

Cost is $20 for adults, $5 for students and free for children under 12.

Deadline to register is Nov. 7. For details and registration, go to

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