International Challenges

International Communications

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InternationalSo many more organizations today have to deal with, not alone work colleagues at other locations throughout the United States, but also throughout the world. This is obviously not a new phenomenon but is becoming more prevalent and many would try to argue it is easier because of advances in technology. However if would be a mistake to think that technological advances can somehow circumvent many of the communication challenges that often exist between different locations. If fact they can add to the angst.

When one considers the fundamentals of human nature, the realities of how human are supposed to communicate becomes apparent. First and foremost there has to be a relationship that is somehow grounded on familiarity. Unquestionably advances in video conferencing are far more effective than telephone or e-mail, but it still does not create a human connection. Site visits remain critical because the face to face social interaction is what establishes relationships.

The other component of this international divide is obviously culture. No matter what way you cut it, or despite best efforts, there are always going to be differences. One way to minimize this as an obstacle is to recognize the one common denominator in all cultures; respect. Many would argue that this is something you earn but how about looking at it from the perspective of it being something that you can lose? Start off by building respectful relationships by meeting people half way or, if taking the initiative, work hard at a relationship even if it does not appear as reciprocating.

The final piece is the dog and tail syndrome. Who are calling the shots and what level of autonomy truly exists? This is driven primarily as a function of senior leadership and whether the influential strength lies locally or at corporate. This can be a perilous situation which is great during good times, but extremely delicate when things are not going according to plan. Corporate cannot be ignored, so often the best policy is to maintain a respectful disposition that is based on open communication and appropriate involvement.

Global Leadership – The Culture Affect

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Based on some work I have been doing as an Executive Coach at Harvard Business Schools, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with business leaders from all over the world. One of the significant observations of this international diversity has been a better understanding of culture. Culture can be defined very simply “how things work around here” and no matter what way you cut it, there are always going to be differences.

 When one considers the fundamentals of human nature, the realities of how humans are supposed to communicate becomes apparent. First and foremost there has to be a relationship that is somehow grounded in familiarity. Interestingly when one assesses culture, under whatever categoriglobales might be appropriate, you find that people have typically more in common than differences. Once you understand this and people become familiar with each other, it actually becomes quite easy to build on the similarities and respect the differences.

However cultural differences are not just about people from different parts of the world; it can also exist within organizations and often between the various hierarchical levels. How does the culture that is espoused by senior leadership compare to what actually exists on the ground. In this instance, “micro” cultures are created where various leaders can shape the behaviors, the respect (or lack of), the biases, etc so that sometimes it feels like you are walking into “another world”. Anybody who has worked with different organizations can attest to this.

So as we think about global culture, be mindful of how both personal and organizational cultures can actually shape behaviors. And to ensure that it functions in a positive way for all involved, ensure familiarity to build positive relationships, which in turn will generate respect.

International Challenges

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

So many more organizations today have to deal with, not alone work colleagues at other locations throughout the United States, but also throughout the world. This is obviously not a new phenomenon but is becoming more prevalent and many would try to argue it is easier because of advances in technology. However if would be a mistake to think that technological advances can somehow circumvent many of the communication challenges that often exist between different locations. If fact they can add to the angst.

When one considers the fundamentals of human nature, the realities of how human are supposed to communicate becomes apparent. First and foremost there has to be a relationship that is somehow grounded on familiarity. Unquestionably advances in video conferencing are far more effective than telephone or e-mail but it still does not create a human connection. Site visits remain critical because the face to face social interaction is what establishes relationships. Read more