Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"MANAGING ACROSS CULTURES - The Seven Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset"

Without a doubt one of the greatest joys of my professional life is that I now meet ‘virtually’ many people from all over the world. I would not have had the opportunity to ‘meet’ these people without the aid of the internet, email, blogging and the myriad of other modern communication methods at the fingertips of all of us.

In addition I've spent all my working life meeting and working with thousands of wonderful colleagues from all over the world in my healthcare management career.

Some of the challenges this brings include creating a common language and understanding the subtle (and often not so subtle) differences we have, depending on our nationality, our upbringing and our work experiences – in other words, the culture we live and work in.

It has become clear to me – often through mistakes I’ve made - that we are all different; generalisations are not helpful; and what make us tick is as different sometimes as chalk and cheese. Failure to recognise and respect those differences is a huge deficit. Like most managers, I imagine, I’ve learned mainly through experience about these things. I have delivered training workshops on the joys of diversity and I’ve read a few articles on the subject. But I've not found an easy to read guide about all this … until now.

For anyone whose work involves understanding cultural diversity and the nuances of different cultures (by the way - that means ALL of us) I recommend with great enthusiasm a book
I’ve just finished reading;

“Managing Across Cultures -
The Seven Keys to Doing Business with a Global Mindset

This book by Charlene M Solomon and Michael S Schell is crammed with practical ideas and suggestions of how to work in a multi-cultural business world. It gives the reader an opportunity to assess one’s own cultural position on each of the seven dimensions considered by the authors as the key planks in recognising and working in a multi-cultural business world.

The book includes real world scenarios where ‘missing the trick’ of recognising, and more importantly, respecting cultural differences is not just an unfortunate oversight that can cause offence. It can also mean failure on the bottom line financially in a big way and result in missed business expansion opportunities.

As I read the book I found myself saying that this stuff is actually more than about how to manage across cultures. It is in fact about managing - full stop. I suggest the kind of respect and awareness called for in this book is as applicable working within a single culture population.

I congratulate the authors for such an insightful and brilliant reference book that will be regularly used by this trainer/consultant in my work.

The world is becoming a very small place. I often say that I now have more friends that I don’t know and may never meet than those I have met. “Managing Across Cultures” is a book I highly recommend.

It is written in an 'easy to read' style that I suggest ‘travels’ across cultures which of course means the authors are also 'walking their own talk.


Anonymous said...

You are so right when you say that ALL of us work across cultures and will benefit from being culturally aware and culturally sensitive in the workplace. Beyond work, relationships in general can be difficult or confusing to develop across multiple cultures, so this book would be useful as a guide to understanding friends and family members that come from other countries. You never know how much knowing culture makes a difference in your perception of others until you start recognizing it as such!

Thanks for the recommendation.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Anonymous. I agree with you that the tips and guidance in this book can equally be applied in our personal lives and relationships as much as in our work life.

My life has definitely been enriched tremendously through getting to know so many people who come from a wide range of cultures that differ from mine.

I would go as far as to say I have learned far more in my life through this than I would have done by remaining within settings where there is only one culture. It feels to me like I would be missing out on so much valuable learning.

Trevor Gay said...

PS - If you get the book do let me know what you think.

Dan Gunter said...

Will try to check this one out soon. Thanks for the recommendation and insight on the book.


Trevor Gay said...

You will enjoy it I'm sure Dan.

Marilyn Jess said...

Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing a speaker talk about web 2.0 innovations that we in business need to consider. Part of his remarks concerned who is developing the cutting edge software we need.

Answer? Europeans and Asians. These people are already riding the next wave. We have much to learn and gain across cultures. Thanks for reminding us that business is global, no matter what business you're in.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Marilyn – my entire career has been spent working with many people from different cultures and Nations. This has enriched my life no end and my outlook on life generally. I learn so much from different cultural approaches. I think if I ever had to work in a single culture setting I would feel cheated and frustrated. I say long live diversity!