What is Cross-Culture?

 The world of today is drastically different from that of twenty, or even ten, years ago. The influence of multinational corporations, the technological revolution, the “Information Superhighway”, and the movement of the private and public sectors towards globalization, sets the scene.

  New laws, agreements and regional partnerships – from NAFTA to GATT to the EUROPEAN UNION or ASEAN – have contributed to make this massive change not only possible but also achievable.

  This development demands a completely new approach to business or to any type of international relations. A re-evaluation of strategies, of expansion and the use of human resources.   

Because when it comes right down to making the deal, it’s people who make the difference. It’s the people in your company who have to make the contacts, make the commitments, and follow through on them. It’s people who have to learn to understand and work with each other, whether it happens in person, over the phone, through the fax or by e-mail.   And it’s people who have to make sure these new business relationships are built on a sound basis of understanding and mutual respect.

  This is necessary because globalization could be a two-edge sword. The opposite site of immense potential markets is the challenge of understanding or misunderstanding an entirely new cultural milieu.

Other Cultures Are Not Like Yours

No matter who you are or where you live, no matter what nation or culture you come from, you will need to recognize one very important truth when you do business with colleagues in other countries. Other people – although they may dress like you, speak your language, or even work for the same company – are not “just like you”.

  You’ll do business with people that have very different histories, languages, and ways of doing business. They will have a different sense of time, and a different sense of humor. They will have different ways of negotiating, and different perceptions of when a deal has truly been made.They will also have different expectations of what it means to follow  through on commitments and agreements. In a word, they will have different cultures!

You Need To Know The Rules

Are you a sales manager setting up new distribution channels? A service representative working with overseas colleagues to set up new systems? A manager helping to run an overseas subsidiary or open a new manufacturing plant? Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, if you are interacting with people from other cultures, you need to know something about them.

  A Cross-Culture Awareness course can be an essential first step in that process. When you do business with companies in other countries, you are not just staying in a different hotel, eating a different meal, and meeting in different offices. You are entering someone else’s world, and you need to understand the history of its people, the rules the culture runs by, and the way they view the business process.

  Inter-cultural understanding does not come overnight. It will only come with preparation, effort, and an open mind.

  Every business traveler should know something about the country they are visiting – its history, its people, its heritage. It helps you make conversation, helps you learn more from the experience, and is a sign of respect for those you are meeting.

  Once you understand the basic facts about a culture, and something about its social rules, you are ready to do business. When does yes mean yes? When does maybe mean no? When should you raise the issue of payment? How are commitments followed through? – In order to get the best results, you need to know how business is done in your partner’s culture.

  Social issues form the backbone of any culture. People in different countries conduct their lives in different ways: Which color flowers to bring? Which hand to shake? How to address your colleagues? Who speaks first?  It is far better to know the rules than to risk offending anyone and losing a deal.

  Knowing the rules is one thing. Being prepared for the little things that can go wrong, is quite another. And little things can always go wrong!

Companies worldwide are actively training their staff in Inter-Cultural awareness, sensitization and communications in order to  help their sales, service and management employees prepare for interacting and doing business, successfully, with other cultures.

  They include manufacturers, service companies and consultants from electronics, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, construction, government, training and education, tourism, automotive, consumer electronics, marine engineering, and many other organizations.

  How do we prepare for a different culture? An environment that, for all its outwardly similarities, is completely different from the one we are accustomed to?   

 For instance: 

·         How do you manage a team of culturally diverse employees ?

·         You must negotiate contracts, but does your counterpart share your cultural preconceptions just because he is dressed like you ?

·         You must hire and train new staff, but how is time and education viewed in another culture ?

·        You must host a foreign delegation, but what are their goals and cultural needs?

·         How do you respond to an ambiguous command from your manager if he/she is from a different culture ?  

These are just a few of the innumerable questions that arise as soon as you move outside of a national framework.

To request more information email hinenisyndicator@gmail.com

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