Do a simple calculation. Note down how many hours per week you collaborate cross-border. Let’s take 10 hours. Then increase that number by 10% due to cultural differences. That’s 1 extra hour per week.

Doesn’t seem that dramatic? Multiply that 1 extra hour per week times 48 work weeks in a year. That’s 6 days. Wasted. Unnecessary. Avoidable.

Now, what if you collaborate more than ten hours a week? And what if the additional time needed is more than 10%? Let’s take it one step further. What if this is the case not only for you, but also every other colleague on the team or project?

You know your team or project. Go ahead and do the numbers. The numbers get big, fast. Very big. Very fast.


Yes, it is difficult to measure energy levels. But, it is not difficult to feel the loss of energy. And it is not difficult to feel when one is energized. Energy is either taken out of you or it is replenished into you.

Take a moment to reflect. What it is like to have energy taken from you? It’s no fun. Recall recent examples. What it is like to have energy given to you? It’s fun. Recall recent examples.

Ok, take a long, hard and honest look at your experience thusfar collaborating cross-border. Have the interactions been energy-depleting or energy-replenishing? If it is the former, the situation is – let’s just say – not good.


There is no need to spell out the negative impact on motivation when cross-border collaboration is demanding too much time and is taking instead of giving energy.

At best you are slogging through the work. At worst you’re looking for ways to get out of it, to get away from it, to avoid it. And that is certainly not good for anyone, in any position, in any company operarating cross-border.

Budget Schedule Results

That so-called magic triangle. When cross-border collaboration does not go well, it means: over budget, over schedule, poor results. That has consequences for the team.

So take the cross-border project you are currently working on. You know the numbers in terms of budget, schedule and results. Go over budget by 10%. Go over schedule by 10%. Reduce the quality of the deliverables by 10%. What do those numbers look like? I’ll bet it ain’t very pretty.