Cross-cultural communications instructor Luciara Nardon goes beyond what you might have learned in your corporate cultural-awareness workshop. She makes a convincing case that, in today’s business world, you’re likely to interact with people from multiple cultures on any given day. She stresses that you can’t prepare for these fluid, dynamic situations just by studying cultures. You must gain skills in adapting effectively to working with people of various backgrounds so you can do business in any context or situation. This requires emotional intelligence, “situational awareness,” experience and practice. She makes a strong case for the need to develop mindfulness and empathy. getAbstract recommends Nardon’s manual to anyone whose work includes interactions with international colleagues.
An Intercultural Imperative
In virtually every business, exposure to people of many cultures and backgrounds comes with the territory. Yet even as your mix of peoples and cultures accelerates, your “intercultural competence” doesn’t – at least, not automatically. You must make the effort to develop the skills to work effectively in multiple contexts with people of different nationalities, races, ages and backgrounds.
Diversity brings organizations a wide range of benefits, including multiple perspectives, creativity and knowledge as well as the fresh ideas of employees from different backgrounds. Diversity makes collaboration more challenging – at least, at the beginning of the process. Trusting relationships may take longer to build due to the discomfort of working across cultures.
Like most people, you may gravitate to associates whose background and culture resemble yours. But you may also find that working with people who are different from you is enriching. While misunderstandings might occur before you see advances, persevere through the setbacks. You’ll overcome the lack of shared experience and...