International projects pose for project managers always a special challenge. Finally, to the usual “uncertainties” there are added many regionally-related factors which will be logically not known at all. One of these factors is the difference in mentality of the involved. This can exert great influence on the project process, thus achieving the respective project objectives or not. Many international projects have failed because the parties were unable to communicate effectively, and crises were triggered.
Experience has shown that the problems lie with most international construction projects neither in the technical points, nor in the agreed prices. These are all factors that are usually defined in the beginning in written and therefore actually clarified sufficiently. The real problems usually appear when it comes to project implementation. An intense “togetherness” is necessary and then there can be great frictions between the parties, especially when very different cultures and values collide. Moreover, when the written agreements are not clearly formulated, then a disaster is inevitable. But how can you rule out such kind of crises?
A skilled person is asked: a mentality manager who accompanies the project from its beginning to its successful completion. The mentality management in international projects is a task that is extremely important to clear out of the way risks that could arise due to different values, national “codes” and communication problems. With communication I mean here not only the language problem. Global players will confirm you the importance of this type of manager, and certainly report that they often didn’t get very far with their English.
But what exactly makes a mentality manager? He is a “translator” – in the broader sense – with many diplomatic skills, such a “mediator”. His presence in international projects is elementary. He needs to translate and deliver the message of one side to the other on that way, that is needed for the second side to understand the message so, that she does that, what the first side wanted her to do. And all this, of course, without occurring any conflicts, misunderstandings, problems, disagreements, delays and other project-threatening events, because the goal is the same for everyone, namely the success of the project.
And what requirements should this specialist fulfill in order to accomplish successfully his task? First of all, he should certainly know the languages of all parties very well. To hear their own language abroad, certainly creates confidence and a sense of security. Also he should “be really at home” in both two cultures. It is not only the “what” someone says, but rather on the “how” he says it. In addition, he should know the subject matter of the project and have a good grasp even in complicated situations. His diplomatic skills, after all, are another essential factor which is a prerequisite, as he often has to take over crisis management.
In international business you will not get around it, to become active in areas that you do not know very well. If you want to be successful there, then you always have to keep the right partners at your side. Unfortunately, many project initiators are not really convinced of the benefits of this kind of advisor. So, in the hope that their project manager is the somehow manage itself they do not hire him. Would you risk it?
Do not hesitate to contact Mavvidis + Partners for any corresponding questions (contact Mavvidis + Partners).