Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

Global Teambuilding: How Bowling Brings Us Together

My bowling scores have never crossed 100. Laser tag, however, I take seriously and am quite a competitor. When it comes to pool, I can manage though I enjoy the social aspect more than anything else. But these games are not something I would typically run out to do with my friends. In fact, I rarely thought of them as something I would want to do at all until I started spending extended time in Vietnam.

At our Harvey Nash Vietnam centers of excellence, we strive to make our offshore teams easy and accessible extensions of our clients' teams. We put a high priority on building camaraderie among the dispersed teams our technical experts support for the simple fact that it's easier to work with someone you know and understand.

Before I began visiting Vietnam, a lot of the cross-border and cross cultural team building I was engaged in was training and development oriented. There were classes, ice breakers, lunches and dinners. There were drinks at the bar, but rarely do I remember enthusiastic and playful hours of bonding. That's the difference that we -- and quite often our clients -- enjoy in Vietnam.

I have relearned an essential lesson in Vietnam -- one that may seem quite obvious but nonetheless essential in building successful, multinational technology teams. Fostering team unity is as important to our staff members as it is to the clients they support. The gutter balls, laughter and friendly banter that come with a night at the lanes -- be it in Hanoi or Silicon Valley -- are treasured time to build cohesion and common ground. And when you come from different cultures, live on different continents and work in distant time zones, common ground is a valuable asset.

The sky-high enthusiasm from our Vietnamese staff for adventures with clients, to laser tag centers and pool halls reminds me of the many meanings of the word "company." A company is a business of course. But "company" also means companionship and friendship. A company can also be a circle of friends, a band of brothers, a party of people who come together to share. Everyday our Vietnam-based developers, testers, programmers and analysts share expertise with clients around the world. They do it with confidence and carefulness because of how highly they value the "company" they keep. You can see it in the team pictures I have shared below. There's a closeness that comes from enjoying time together and its makes us better at our jobs.

It's a funny thing, but I never thought there was that much to bowling. Now I know better.