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?
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.
To live abroad will change your ways of perceiving things. You become an ExPat, a new person just as the patriarch, Abraham. ExPat is not a meltdown. He or she does not submerge him or herself into a different society and lose their personality. Becoming an ExPat is not some kind of fusion process where you amalgamate into a new culture; it is a cohesion process that moves the ExPat into the periphery of objectivity as it strengthens the experiences acquired.
Before I returned to the literary field as a writer, I had the incredible privilege of teaching English to business corporations in Germany that have a multinational clientele as well as employees from every nation. As an expatriate living outside of the United States of America, one of the first lessons I learned, was that the English Language is diverse. Pronunciation, spelling and the phonetic stress placed on certain words are different. In fact, the vocabulary may be the same, but it does not necessarily mean that the words have the same meaning.
One of the many benefits I enjoy from writing this column is that I get to stir stuff up from up here on my, shall we say, “perch.”From here, I get to rant and rave, sprinkle dashes of the uncomfortable into conventional wisdom and comfort zones, take folks dangerously close to the edge, leave them suspended Wile E. Coyote-like midair, then lasso them in before they plunge over the cliff into the “diversity dangers” that may lurk below. From here, I also get to do some vigorous backpedaling, or source attribution when I need to pass the buck if things get a tad too hot or have the potential to backfire on me.
Members of the European culture usually have a settled way of life. In their eyes, Americans are admirable models of mobility. If in Germany, where I come from, a person becomes unemployed, he will look for a new job in his ancestral city first. Only when that is unsuccessful will reach out to other parts of Germany to look for a new career. Or not, it depends on lots of circumstances. People are ingrained in their communities. Visiting is easier than moving and nobody has to take an airplane to visit friends and family. To cross Germany by car even at its widest point will take you nine hours.