The Influence of Culture on Managing Global Teams with Stefan Ott, Ep #10

When building international teams, it’s important to have an understanding of their team culture. In this episode of Tech Talent Today, I’m delighted to be joined by Stefan Ott, CIO of a nonprofit in the mortgage industry. Stefan is an engineering and delivery leader who guides organizations through transformations and capacity build-out initiatives by leveraging technology to drive business outcomes for highly complex global organizations. Listen to learn more about Stefan’s experience and how he’s successfully managing people across various cultures.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Managing in different cultures [02:27]
  • Building global teams [05:08]
  • Digital transformation [08:18]
  • The challenge of data [12:23]
  • Taking agile to heart [16:12]
  • Stefan’s journey to IT [21:31]
  • Seeking out guidance [26:32]
  • Stefan’s work as a mentor [29:14]

Digital transformation

Any company interested in the next ten years is on the journey of digital transformation. Part of what makes transformation possible is companies and teams having an agile mindset and being able to adapt and learn together. The way data is used is another critical piece for digital transformation. Part of data is learning how to best lead with it and present it so people can make their own conclusions. Automation and integration are incredible assets for getting the most out of data.

One of the biggest challenges in data is that systems don’t talk to each other. There are many legacy and siloed systems even though integration has been discussed for about 20 years. A lot of companies suffer from a lack of integration. Automating data processing improves the data overall, helping the company with accurate feedback to set better, more specific goals. Data transformation isn’t just technology. It’s a transformation that has to happen on the business side.

Cultural work styles

Work styles and interactions vary drastically in different countries. Having worked in many parts of the world, Stefan has had the opportunity to work with people from different cultural backgrounds. He has found that feedback is given in a direct approach in Germanic countries like Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands. However, that sort of approach wouldn’t be received well in the U.S. For Americans, saying something positive upfront is necessary before following up with direct feedback. Feedback is one of the main differentiators in terms of working with different cultures across the globe.

In Stefan’s experience, the culture’s effect on feedback in Asia makes the process more private. In Germanic cultures, feedback can be more public, but this hasn’t been effective in Asian cultures or the U.S.

Helping through mentorship

Stefan began his role as a mentor at Npower because he sought a place to help people starting in their careers. He also helps people interested in making a career change, like moving from physical security to cybersecurity. There have been many interesting discussions about how that move can be made and what kind of tools are available. A lot of mentoring at Npower is about helping people position themselves on LinkedIn or Twitter to showcase their strengths and what they’ve learned.

Mentoring is something that Stefan has found extremely rewarding because it gives him a different perspective. Npower also helps many former military personnel looking for a change in their career to something more technology-related. This focus on helping people is similar to Stefen’s personal belief in continual curiosity and learning something new every day.

If you build international teams, it’s important to have a common understanding of their team culture. #InternationalTeam #TeamCulture Share on X

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Stefan Ott

Connect With Jodi Kulek Mayer

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