To integrate is to form, to coordinate, to blend into a functioning and unified whole. Collaborating across borders means to integrate not only on the working level, but also on the thinking level.

The working level is about how the work is done. Literally. Specifically. Concretely. How-the-work-is-done defines company culture. “This is how we do things. It’s who we are.” Post-merger integration uses the term work-streams. Streams. Water. Flowing. How the work flows. Work-streams. Work-flows.

Company culture, however, is imbedded in country culture. Rivers and streams have beds. Work-streams – How-the-work-is-done – are imbedded in culture. Cross-border collaboration can only succeed if integration takes place on both levels: work and thought, company culture and country culture.

Work-streams and thought-streams are inseparable they are two sides of the same coin they inform, and form, each other.