Cross Cultural Expertise is the marketing leadership tool of a future that’s coming for us like a high speed train. While that train may go through tunnels and across challenging terrain with a new administration, technology is shrinking our world and that train is gathering speed. Our workforce, our suppliers, and, above all, our marketing professionals need the skill set of cross-cultural communication, cultural competence, conflict management, and problem solving. They are the fuel to compete in the future and without them, the train may miss its target destination and risk derailment.
An American company quietly shuts down their APAC office in Singapore. They conclude that the business model “doesn’t work in Asia.” The local team wouldn’t innovate and respond to local market needs. The American Managing Director thought having a ‘flat hierarchy’ was the answer. He was wrong. His company writes off a few million dollars.
Chattanooga’s Lean In Chapter began its exploration of global leadership where leadership begins: self-awareness. Why is self-awareness the integral ingredient to real leadership? These Women Groundbreakers answered that question with the energy and passion of people who have “been there – done that.” They shared stories of how you have to know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, values, before you can lead others. Knowing what drives you and feeds your soul gives you the ability to overcome your weaknesses and challenges. Understanding your roots gives awareness to and appreciation of other cultures. Self-awareness begins a process of growth which leads to change which should ultimately extend out to help others.
Doing business today requires a global mindset as we increasingly interact with customers, vendors, employees, and colleagues from many countries and multiple cultures. Key strategies for developing that mindset are shared by colleagues at the Institute for Cross Cultural Management (ICCM) at the Florida Institute of Technology. Curtis Curry shows us how to build cultural competence and Dr. Richard Griffith looks at how you should tweak your Best Practices. Their articles in the American Diversity Report give us how-to advice on how to successfully participate in the global economy.
For every car GM sold in China in 2004, it sold 10 in the United States. By 2009, sales in China equaled those in the US. Rapid economic growth in Brazil, Indonesia, China, and India will add a billion new consumers clamoring for goods and services from around the world over the next decade. With increasing frequency, professionals from one country are interacting with customers and colleagues from other countries.
Cross Cultural is now a common professional term. On a historical note, the term ‘cross cultural’ originated in 1970 for the professional world. This was in response to the age of globalization which produced a demand for cross-cultural awareness in various commercial & professional sectors.
We are constantly shuttling between local and global in our work today. Your markets may be in your home town one month, and across the country the next. Your consulting work can be on site around the corner, or across the country. Online night and day, we inform, coordinate, network, and market here at home and across the world. In the midst of massive information overload, the diverse team must have the expertise to cross cultures competently and the wisdom to make effective decisions quickly. In the future, the overload will only intensify. How will we master the global – local connection as it moves and morphs at lightening speed?
Five days ago, I was on the other side of the globe. Exhausted from twelve weeks of attempting to keep up with this fast-paced Mecca of the international business world, I was still not ready to extract myself from the extravert’s haven that is Shanghai. This is the land of business cards and alcohol, where the networking maniacs of the West flock to jump into the Eastern financial “boom”, assuming that the “bust” is nowhere in sight. For one brief summer, I was a part of this cultural mish-mash, ecstatic to surround myself with the expats, entrepreneurs, and “students of life” that are so enthusiastic to be exposed to the challenges of living in such a foreign, yet increasingly Westernized, environment. Being a student of psychology, the best way for me to summarize my experience in China is to describe the mental processes I used to adapt. Looking back on my little adventure, I can easily identify the points at which I hit the various stages of Culture Shock, and it is through this cycle that I feel others can catch a better glimpse of my path of growth.
It was my birthday recently and I was presented with the following question – “Do you celebrate your birthday with a cake in your culture & country? Would love to know if this a recent cultural phenomenon or long established? Is this a personal sign of globilisation?”
This is not an article about the world situation. That the situation in the world is bad, one only has to read in the newspapers, or to look at television, or to scrounge through the Internet. Some things are tragically wrong in our societies; communication techniques have failed among the different cultures, and understanding or agreement among the countries is practically zilch. So, this article writer does not intend to rain down hell, fire, and brimstone about what every country is doing wrong. Judgment will come but not from me.