Unless you live deep in the jungle or in a cave, in today’s world of ever expanding overseas business, intercultural communication affects you more than ever.
And that’s why in today’s global business environment your need to invest in cross-cultural communication training is even more important for teams overseas, employees selling to international markets.
You probably already realise how important it is for your employee and team members to understand how to work with people from other cultures. It’s necessary for them to have the communication skills to bridge cross cultural differences.
Who will highly benefit from Cross Cultural Communication Training?
Obviously, the first group of people most in need of intercultural communication training are expats. Those who are living abroad need to understand the environment where they are living.
Often key employees are sent abroad by large multinationals with the expectation that those skills alone will result in the success of the overseas project.
However, this comes with a significant risk and those risks can incur significant cost.
Although the expat might be highly talented and skilled at their job, if they fail to integrate and understand their new environment then there’s a major risk that may jeopardise the new overseas project.
The lack of cultural intelligence and basic empathy could cause the business to lose business, clients, new opportunities, create disharmony at the overseas office and ultimately lose money.
I have personally witnessed this in various organisations with different overseas offices more than once.
One excellent risk management strategy to prevent this problem is to invest in those key employees you plan to send overseas with intercultural communication training and intercultural communication skills.
You then protect your overseas investment, operations, your key employees and reap the maximum benefits that overseas markets offer you.
An example of a problem such as this was a senior executive I once worked with. His firm acquired an overseas business operation, In the hope to save money developing rather sophisticated software for the tourism industry. Those familiar with the tourism industry would recognise names like Amadeus, Sabre or Travelport.
Well, what happened next was that this highly talented executive took responsibility for this new software development, integration and rollout operation. He was fully competent on the operation side but he didn’t understand the overseas environment.
He was perfect with all the administrative and technical know-how but there were all sorts of cross cultural communication issues which began to pose problems. And the young executive was ill prepared for these challenges.
Problems arose such as misunderstandings between the home office and this overseas operation centre. This created delays in milestones, completion dates, creating more misunderstanding, then distrust more delay in roll out date, significant cost overruns, everyone blaming the other, backstabbing and an all around basic disaster.
Why? All because of a lack of understanding and intercultural communication. One side didn’t understand what the other side was actually saying or needed.
What started out as an investment to save money turned out to be much more expensive than had this software development been done by one of parent companies’ European offices.
Result everyone lost money, and the executive was terminated. Personally, in this particular case I seriously doubt that the young executive was to blame. But sometimes someone got to take the blame!
Cross cultural communication in Overseas Business
If you are expanding your business into new overseas business opportunities. Or you are importing/exporting overseas, selling and negotiating deals with cross-cultural partners – Then everybody in your organisation should have some training about the countries and cultures your company is doing business with to prevent problems and ensure your success.
Intercultural communication coaching and intercultural communication skill training can help guarantee your success to better understand and outperform your competitors in overseas business.
A second group working with International teams are those of you who work virtually or f2f with overseas teams.
If cross cultural teams want to collaborate effectively they need effective communication skills. Aside from understanding the local language, good communication skills requires understanding the local culture, conduct and norms.
It is critical we understand other people’s perspective and culture. Particularly, if you work with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. It’s crucial you develop empathy and understanding of others. You can accomplish this by applying effective communication skills like active listening, enhancing your empathy and having a genuine interest and curiosity about other cultures and people.
It is pretty well established that diversity in teams brings a richness of creativity and perception to an organisation. Once cross cultural teams understand each other’s values and motivators, effectiveness and productivity can reach new levels.
Diversity in teams brings a richness of creativity and perception
The third group to examine are Global executives
If you are working on a foreign assignment, then being able to speak the local language, like Business English, is very important.
But you also need to be able to think like the local culture environment and that takes lots of time and experience.
As a leader, it’s critical to know how to motivate and inspire your cross-cultural teams with cultural intelligence, effective communication, and empathy by understanding the culture.
Global Executives need to know how to adapt to build relationships within that cultural environment.
Rather than go through the frustration of trial and error, doesn’t it make more sense to learn from an experienced communication coach who understands the local custom and manners of doing business.?
For example when yes means no or when yes means maybe…we’ll think about it.
Sometimes people have the unconscious habit of oversimplifying things by stereotyping and intercultural communication and cross cultural relationships are much more complicated than having an idea or two about the culture.
If you are faced with challenges or frustrations of working in a global business environment. If you don’t fully understand or if you simply want to to prepare yourself or a team member for an upcoming oversea assignment then you may be interested in learning more about cultural intelligence, intercultural communication and cross cultural communications training.
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