When my daughter, Savannah, was in elementary school she was quite the know it all and acquired the nickname “Google” because she would start nearly every sentence with, “Did you know…” followed by whatever fact fell from her rather significant brain and out of her very pretty, little mouth. Still today, she is not so different… if occasionally more contained.
As I think about our world today, how we are made up, and the rapidly expanding global marketplace, perhaps we (a little like Savannah) have become Google incarnate:
Google is a vast pool of knowledge – broader and deeper than most of us can even begin to fathom – while, as humans, we are a vast pool of diversity and complexity that spans the globe. We take in information, aggregate it… and determine how we will present it (or not). That is not to say we necessarily understand it…
The myriad of challenges our diverse global communities present, only serves to remind us that while we can certainly learn and understand general orientations and respect and value worldviews, we can never fully comprehend by simply observing from a physical or psychological standpoint. Our “Did you knows…?” come from (in large part) cross-cultural perspectives shaped from the dozens of values, thousands of attitudes and tens of thousands of beliefs that continually evolve throughout our lifetime. These worldviews combine to determine who we are and how we see the world around us.
Despite this, the hard truth is that there are very few leaders (or companies) in existence that truly embrace the differences that exist within our diverse, geographically separated workforce and leverage them for global success on a personal or an organizational level. Yet, cross-cultural communications is an undeniable, invaluable, yet almost completely unexploited lever, to global success. Not surprising, if you think about it – it is an organizational tenet that is simple in concept, but not necessarily easy in execution.
Answer these questions to assess your ability to use culture and diverse worldviews as a lever to your success:
- Are cultural/worldview differences implicitly and explicitly understood & valued across your organization?
- Do you and the leadership within your organization understand how people view critical aspects of business differently from one another? What are the gaps and what is your purposeful plan to address them?
- How can you and your teams better understand how others view business perspectives and orientations across boundaries and borders to facilitate better business results and foster innovation?
- What are the tools/techniques you need to succeed across boundaries and borders every time?
Those of you who lead across boundaries and borders know these are valid questions…and critical to both your short and long term success. Those of you, as leaders, who are willing to invest to get the most from the rich melting pot of cultures that you lead have the ability, with commitment and some hard work, to build virtual bridges between cultures and geographic locations to create thriving organizations that will enable you to become Game Changers instead of Game Players through effective global and interpersonal communications.
There is no viable way around it – world views and cultural perspectives impact the way you communicate and do business… not to mention the way you lead. As you develop the ability to understand your own cultural worldviews and communicate effectively across boundaries and borders, you will also begin to have the ability to leverage cultural differences constructively and for the benefit of all – communicating efficiently and effectively across your global organization. This capacity is of the highest importance for success in an interconnected and increasingly global marketplace. How you leverage your inner “Google”, how you relate to people from all creeds and cultures will determine, to a large extent, your ability to succeed in a global, virtual world.
If you, as a leader, can leverage alternative worldviews to better understand your own perceptions and biases, as well as help others to understand the complex network of cultures in your work and in your life, you can then begin to leverage culture as a tool for discovering creative solutions to problems and fostering innovation – increasing the human potential of everyone involved, from every culture, and achieving success on a journey toward high performance and fulfillment that will far exceed everyone’s expectations.
As a leader, it is critical to remember, as you interact with Google On Steroids every day, that the amount of effort you are willing to make to understand and learn will determine how effective you will be. However, comprehending that there is more than one “best way” and having the capacity to facilitate the blending of the best of all cross-cultural components to make the whole more than the sum of the parts… well, that’s where you accelerate the organization.
What Effort Will You Make To Build Capacity Across Boundaries & Borders In Your Organization?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how you will engage “Google” in your organization. Do you need an expert to help you leverage cross-cultural integration in your organization? 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.