We came across this interesting blog and thought to share it with you!
“I was having lunch with a friend who wanted to understand what my recently founded company is about. After walking her through the cross-cultural development programs we offer, she asked me “But is this really necessary? I mean isn’t dealing with people from different culture all about basic human respect? We are all human at the end of the day and deep inside we are all the same.” There was a big portion of truth in what she said; deep inside we are all the same. We all hate injustice; we all want to be rewarded for our achievements, we all share similar fears.
As I wanted to bring wider perspective into the conversation I shared with her a story of a leader who I met the other day.
An HR leader from France who was managing a global HR team and was well known for his human approach to management and respect to other cultures travelled to Japan to meet his Tokyo based team. During a one-on-one meeting with one of the top performers of his global team, the leader directly expressed that he was not happy about the way this team member led a specific project. Right after the meeting, the Japanese team member handed his French boss a resignation letter. The leader was in shock: he did not want to lose the top performer. The top performer however could not stay any longer as he had disappointed his boss and had lost his trust.
Both sides lost.
Neither the leader’s ‘we-are-all-humans’ approach nor the common goal to manage the project effectively, were enough to avoid the loss. Had the leader known that the French way of delivering negative feedback sends out a strong message in Japanese culture, in which indirect communication is preferred, he would most probably have adapted his way of conveying the message.
Learning to understand cultural differences and adjusting our behavior accordingly is not a simple task. But it can be developed through specific education programs. The benefits are priceless.”
Contact Pauline van de Ven firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Cross Culture Training.