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Did you know that an estimated 70% of international ventures fail due to poor cross-cultural interactions? When individuals from different cultural backgrounds don’t understand each other, it inevitably leads to failed projects and suboptimal results. Culture forms the way we think and act – across all spectrums – often causing members of our organizations to perceive reality very differently across boundaries and borders.
All organizations have the capacity to generate significant results… if they follow the four golden rules of cross-cultural communications. In order to mobilize the cross-cultural power in your organization, you need to invest in cultural integration from 4 critical angles:
1. Internalize Cross-Cultural Principles and Theories
Cross-cultural principles and theories will provide your people with a mechanism to not only understand that we all see things differently, but also to understand that cultural values have an enormous impact on attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. It is not enough to simply tell people about culture – they need to gain a deeper understanding of why they are different from their colleagues. Everyone must internalize the value of cross-cultural communications…
2. Incorporate Cross-Cultural Assessments
Cross-cultural assessments provide insight as to how best to interact with and leverage organizational diversity – but more importantly, they will provide each person with insight as to their specific cultural norms and preferences while also allowing them to better identify other cross-cultural angles. Once individual assessments are done, you may want to consider team assessments to allow people to discover how they can best leverage one another for organizational benefit.
3. Instruct on Cross-Cultural Orientations
Cross-cultural orientations provide the people within your organization with a way to understand their own cultural norms and their colleagues’ cultural norms. Once they can begin to understand specific components of culture they see differently than their colleagues, they can gain the ability to build bridges between cultures.
4. Integrate Cross-Cultural Intelligence
Cross-cultural Intelligence provides your organization with a toolbox of reliable methods for evaluating almost any cultural situation – national, functional, or organizational – very quickly. They will obtain a reliable method to prepare for interactions with their colleagues and clients on the spot – or use the same tools to prepare in advance for almost any situation that has a cultural context.
One or another of these tools is not enough to equip your organization for its’ best chance at success. What few realize, is that these tools build upon one another to enable organizational success. An assessment may provide insight, but it will not tell you what to do with that insight…cross-cultural principles and theories may provide a foundation from which to go forward, but they will not help your team members begin to understand their colleagues… and while cultural orientations may provide inherent understanding of behaviors and perspectives, they will not provide a proven process from which to interact. Each step is necessary – and each step builds upon the last.
Give your people a critical advantage – equip them with the four golden rules of cross-cultural communications.
Are you providing your people with the tools they need to succeed across boundaries & borders?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will equip your organization to work across boundaries & borders. You can always contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.