One of the things about Durable that I’m quite proud of is the ease at which we operate with an international perspective—something that seems more and more relevant every day as the world continues to shrink. The latest European Union privacy regulation, GDPR, is just the latest example of this.
In many respects, an international perspective is in our DNA. Durable was founded by an American, a South African and a Brit who shared the simple desire to work together and do work that made them proud. These desires remain deeply embedded in our brand and how we operate.
On a daily basis, our London team works on US client business and vice versa. We’ve always worked this way, so it’s completely natural. It does, however, demand constant dialogue between our London, New York, and Washington DC offices (made up of folks from around the world). This injects an international perspective into everything we do and continues to reveal the nuances of our different cultures.
I think our perspective makes Durable pretty unique, especially considering our size. Add in our technical, enterprise-level experience, and I think its safe to say there are very few digital agencies like Durable. Here are some of the things we’ve learned along the way:
Check assumptions and stay humble
Incorrectly assuming that everyone shares your cultural references, for example, can be embarrassing and make you look foolish. In my opinion, Americans need to be particularly aware of this—the “ugly American” is a real thing.
Use time zones to your advantage
Time zones allow us to serve our clients for more of the day. They also force you to be more deliberate about scheduling meetings, which offers the benefit of devoting part of the day for uninterrupted, heads-down work.
Keep good documentation
When someone is working on something while you’re still asleep, they need to be able to rely on clear and thorough documentation—and it’s doubly important in situations where English might be someone’s second language.
And communicate clearly...
- Use international formats for dates (day/month/year) and always spell it out. “11 Dec 2017" is always clear, while “12/11/17” could be in December or November depending on where you live.
- Never express a time without the time zone.
- Avoid idioms, especially in your speech.