Say hello to my third blog post! It is hard to believe that there is only one more week left with my team and the Plus3 Global Projects community. This past week has included educational company talks and time to really develop our team’s project report and presentation.
Some of the moments over this past week that stood out most to me include:
- Colombia Company Talk: Biva’s CEO, Daniela Pérez Jaramillo, introduced that Biva is a therapeutic risk management platform that integrates adherence management with remote and personalized monitoring of patients to improve healthcare programs. She showcased the behavioral reinforcement that patients receive, which I found to be an interesting concept.
- Brazil Company Talk: Ricardo Lauricella demonstrated what Fleximedical is and how they impact society in Brazil. Being a social impact business, Fleximedical is providing healthcare to different states of Brazil. I believe this is a great company because as Lauricella said, healthcare should not be fixed in one place, but move with the people. It was fascinating to see and understand how vans and buses could transform into safe hospital environments that made patients forget where they really were.
- Connecting the Dots: Professor Nagai went over what we have covered thus far to try and get us to understand how everything we have learned connects to one another and ultimately to Senior Concierge. It can sometimes be difficult to understand how every session connects with one another, so this session helped me do that.
- Meeting with Senior Concierge and SpinCare: The opportunity to meet with Marcia and ask her final questions about the project was beneficial. Working as a real consulting company would involve multiple meetings with the client to ensure we are accomplishing the deliverables properly. Additionally, meeting SpinCare representatives helped provide our team with a comprehensive overview of how the two companies can effectively work together.
As my team and I continue to work on this consulting project, we have come across some positives with being in a virtual setting. For example, my team and I can meet at whatever time works best for us without having to worry about physically meeting up or where to meet up. I am unaware of how this program would have been done in person, but finding a place to work could not have been too simple.
Moreover, being virtual provides me with more time to do my summer course as well as go to work. Plus3 Global Project is a decent amount of work for each team member considering we want our presentation and report to stand out. Having a virtual setting provides me with time to do other tasks while accomplishing this project.
Despite these advantages of cross-culturally working in a virtual setting, there are some challenges as well. Specifically, our team must communicate through WhatsApp. Personally, I have rarely used WhatsApp. Using a different social media platform adds an extra complication to communicating within our team. WhatsApp works perfectly fine, but sometimes can be overwhelming with many messages coming from different team members all at once. Being in person would be easier and quicker to communicate by speaking out loud as opposed to typing everything.
Another challenge with working cross-culturally in a virtual setting is that time zones are different where each of my team members live. Although this is a small issue, it creates some inconvenience and confusion when coordinating meeting times outside of class. Compared to being in person, time zones are an added complication that I would normally not have worried about. Luckily for us, we are only a few hours apart, so it is not much of a problem!
Out of everything, the worst part of being virtual is that I do not get to meet my teammates in person or get to visit Latin America. The Plus3 Global Project is an incredible opportunity that I am not taking for granted, but being virtual puts a slight damper on this experience. The alternative of being in person to physically work with my team members would have been an even better experience than the virtual version.
Being virtual has also created some difficulty with connecting with my team members. Therefore, trusting each other is more challenging as well. As we learned last week, trust is key to communicating cross-culturally and effectively. Without that foundation of trust, our project will not be the best it could be. Additionally, the skills and abilities to build relationships are tested in this virtual setting. In order to build a solid and effective relationship, it is important to put in time outside of class to do so. With the limited time we have online and all of us being busy, the time we have to meet for the project and to connect with one another is slim.
Referring to my previous blog post, I base my trust on tasks, not relationships. My team members have done their work, but we have not collaborated very effectively. Some of my team members are silent when we meet or do not turn on their cameras, making communicating with them and trusting them more difficult. Basing my trust on tasks is certainly not the best method because I am aware that my team members are doing their work outside of the allotted class time. However, I sometimes worry that the work these team members are doing is not exactly what the team or the project is looking for because they do not speak up during our meetings. Overall, being virtual has hindered our potential for trusting each other, which may lead to a less impressive project.
Continuing on with the theme of trust, my team members and I are still managing to develop it. To actively build trust is not easy, but the tell your story assignment was a great way for us to learn more about each other. I learned unique facts about each of my team members that made me want to learn more about each of them. Since the presentations were very short, I feel we all could have benefited from a longer session to get to know each other even better!
Trust has also been important to develop with Marcia, the client of our consulting. Being from a different culture than Marcia has not posed too much of an issue, especially because Marcia created Senior Concierge just like any other person, from her heart. Ever since the first company meeting, Marcia made it clear she created Senior Concierge because she wanted to develop a company where adults can find the proper care with an emphasis on the active aging process for their parents. I may not know much about Brazilian culture, but this is something every person wants for their parents: to care for them the same way they cared for us.
If my team and I were provided the chance, we would love to sit down with Marcia to truly understand all her motivations and passions behind Senior Concierge. Certainly, we would appreciate more information on Senior Concierge in order to develop an amazing consulting plan that highlights all her requests. However, sitting down with Marcia to talk about her time with her parents and how they shaped her would have created some confidence and trust in our consulting company.
In addition to building trust with my teammates and Marcia, I have advocated for the recommendations my team has created that will ultimately benefit Senior Concierge. These recommendations focus on validating SpinCare as the optimal choice of software for Senior Concierge. I prioritized and expressed my recommendations during this advocacy phase of case consultation by listening to my team members and the ideas they have. We each come from different backgrounds, academically and personally, so we each have different ideas on how to describe effective problems and solutions for Senior Concierge. As a team, we have created recommendations that appeal to the task and personal motives of Senior Concierge.
All in all, this past week has tested my team’s ability to develop trust cross-culturally with the added complication of being virtual. As we move into the advocacy stage of the consulting process, I am hopeful for my team’s final presentation. See you next week for my final blog post!