Successful collaboration during the COVID crisis starts with strong communication. 3Mers show how it’s done.
Apr 29, 2020
3Mers share what they’ve learned about collaborating with colleagues around the world.

Working amid the coronavirus outbreak requires teams to communicate and collaborate differently. For many 3Mers who work with colleagues based around the world, remote teamwork is an everyday reality. Here, one global team shares how they work together while navigating different time zones, cultures and working environments.

Using consistency to find balance

TJ Kreuziger, 3M’s global leader of talent acquisition and contingent workforce solutions, splits his time between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. In his role, he collaborates daily with staff in the United States, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and China.

TJ is careful about choosing meeting times, especially for his colleagues in Asia. “That’s the exact opposite of [Central] time, so one week we’ll do my morning and their evening, and then we’ll flip-flop the next time. I don’t want to place the burden on them — we all have families and things going on.”

Additionally, he strives to bring everyone together with a clear purpose, voicing expectations and priorities on a regular basis. This encourages ongoing communication between him and his local and international colleagues. “I’m very consistent about our priorities and messaging, really trying to get everybody aligned,” noted TJ. “I think it’s important - particularly when we’re all remote.”

Over the years, TJ has found these practices to be extremely rewarding. “I’ve learned so much from everybody that I’ve worked with, not only from a business standpoint, but about the different cultures. What I’ve always found most fascinating is the understanding of how businesses operate in different parts of the world.”

Embracing cultural differences

EMEA Talent Acquisition Manager Gabriela Domagala is based in Wroclaw, Poland, and works directly with TJ and other global team members. While at 3M, she’s learned the importance of listening when seeking to make strong connections with others. This lays the groundwork for successful teamwork.

“I’m always trying to get to know more about the person I’m working with, not just the job,” said Gabriela. “I try to check in regularly on my team’s well-being and what perspectives they have. Based on that you start to build a relationship, through listening and through trying to understand.”

In her role, Gabriela often speaks in a second language. “Sometimes we’re taught [a second language] a bit differently [than native speakers] — I’ll ask them to clarify if I’m not sure I understood correctly,” she said. Once both parties are on the same page, she asks follow-up questions and paraphrases big ideas to ensure information is accurate on both sides.

Gabriela makes time to familiarize herself with other cultures. She said she particularly focuses on partners’ experiences, reads articles about different cultures and seeks to understand day-to-day life in various countries. That effort has helped her thrive at 3M, and allows her to celebrate the diversity of backgrounds, life priorities and differences within the company.

Taking advantage of technology

Maryann Thomas, instructional design manager in global learning and development, helps develop training to make international teamwork and inclusion easier.

Among her recommendations? Skype, Microsoft Teams (in pilot now but to be fully rolled out in July), Yammer and Develop U, which fosters collaboration through video capabilities, shared documents and conversations, and opportunities to learn. One of the learning tools on Develop U, GlobeSmart, sheds light on cultural differences and approaches.

“GlobeSmart can really help you learn about different cultures and what cultural tendencies are compared to other cultures across the globe,” said Maryann. “You can create a profile, answer some questions and learn how to better collaborate with 3Mers across the world. GlobeSmart allows you to explore the cultures and work styles from more than 90 countries. Plus, it is available in more than 100 languages.”

Maryann emphasized the important role of technology in connecting people on a human level instead of just a process level. “Learning about the tendencies of people and then overlaying it with technology can help get voices in the room, even when they’re not physically sitting there,” she added. “There are really brilliant people in every one of our areas that have awesome things to contribute, and our tools and technology can build inclusion.”

Interested in working for a company that encourages global collaboration? Learn more about a 3M career at



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