Northampton, MA – News Direct – Inogen Alliance
Many large companies today expand to various locations around the world to do business on a global scale or to operate within global supply chains. With this global mindset of doing business, we must remember that we do not all share the same instincts or the same approach, but in fact we operate in many nuanced specific geographies and countries that are unique in their way of doing business. Although we collaborate to provide consistency and exceptional results in our project work, awareness and recognition of unique cultural behavioral differences can further encourage shared understanding and enhance flexible thinking and communication.
Top five cross-cultural communication tips for global teams
Be aware of different time zones and how meeting schedules and deadlines can affect someone’s engagement.
Provide a brief agenda before the meeting; this allows members to plan how they will communicate their key points.
Be flexible with the engagement level preferences of other team members. Often times when an individual’s camera is turned off, disengagement is assumed, but it could be the result of poor Wi-Fi or people in the background.
Pause more often; give time to members who appreciate silence and are not native speakers, and consider inviting the quieter members of the group.
Be patient, keep perspective, and apply a dynamic approach when working with colleagues from different countries.
Continuous cultural learning within the framework of ESG policies
Thanks to the launch of Inogen Alliance Environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy, the Alliance is committed to raising the cultural awareness of our team of associates. At our recent fall biennial Inogen Alliance Associates meeting, our team introduced concepts associated with global cultural differences in management styles and encouraged our international teams to examine how their own work styles may differ from those of their global partners. Recognizing our own behavioral patterns and tendencies can position us for success by helping us anticipate potential misunderstandings and can remind us to be more flexible when we encounter different styles of management and communication.
Potential challenges in different cultural contexts
“The cultural map” by Erin Meyer provides useful insight into how the world’s top performing managers navigate the complexities of cultural differences in a global environment that looks a lot like us. The concepts outlined in Meyer’s work help identify potential obstacles global teams may face when completing projects and provide suggestions for minimizing these issues and ensuring efficient project delivery.
The graph below illustrates the different cultural patterns in eight management behaviors by mapping China, France, Germany and Japan across these behavioral spectra. In order to undertake and navigate our daily roles, it is helpful to recognize how communication styles can vary due to cultural influences based on our countries of origin, and how different expectations can increase the risk of miscommunication. It is important to remember that no single style of communication or management behavior is the right approach, but learning about these variations can help team members better understand their global counterparts and, in turn. turn, foster more effective collaboration and enhance our inclusive culture within the Alliance.
Management styles across four different cultures
Additionally, an understanding of how one’s own behaviors and tendencies relate to the cultural context of one’s own home country can enhance self-awareness and, in turn, encourage more flexibility and vigilance when working with other global teams.
Examples of intercultural training
In order to develop cultural awareness, we need to know what to be aware of. Training in intercultural communication is a good place to start. An example is to look at how conversational silence is perceived across cultures. The Inogen Alliance diversity and inclusion exercise included an interactive survey to gather information on the range of perceptions within the group. Silence in the middle of a corporate discussion differs from culture to culture and within culture, depending on the context in which you encounter it. The results of the survey are below.
What does silence indicate in a meeting?
The data reflects the varied perceptions of 46 participants (each partner could choose up to 3 statements). The two most common views were “silence indicates good listening skills and ensures an understanding of the project context” and “I process ideas and listen to others before giving my opinion”. Both types of responses may reflect higher context cultures that tend to rely more on implicit and non-verbal communication. The range of responses underscores the importance of perspective; all parts of intercultural work need to appreciate the way others perceive silence and come to terms with it in a way that respects everyone.
Examples of cultural misunderstanding in global project teamsIt is also helpful to understand some commonalities of cultural miscommunication in business.
“Sit wherever you want” – Chinese / American Culture
Following a series of negotiations between a Chinese firm and an American firm, the American team invites the head of the Chinese delegation to dinner. Upon arrival, they are greeted by the most junior member of American society and told them to “sit where you want”. After dinner, the US team learned that the Chinese partner was feeling embarrassed and was reassessing the business relationship. Indeed, hierarchy is more important in Chinese business operations while equality is promoted in the United States. The Chinese would have expected to be greeted by the highest official of the American firm and to be offered a place at the head of the table.
“It’s good” – Dutch / British culture
When submitting a report for a UK company, a Dutch businessman is told ‘I’m fine’. While they take this to literally mean that the report is of a satisfactory standard, their British colleagues advise them that improvements need to be made. Poor communication is the result of the frankness and openness of Dutch culture in relation to the indirect and implicit approach of the British.
These examples provide useful information on patterns of miscommunication to avoid.
Our global alliance parallels our global customers
Inogen Alliance’s work spans the world with associates operating in over 150 countries. To be successful in achieving global coverage while providing local work, it is essential that we recognize that our unique backgrounds, cultural upbrings and work experiences influence our communication styles and collaborative processes. By recognizing and appreciating the variation in our work styles and approach, our teams build more effective partnerships, resulting in improved efficiency and better quality work. Additionally, through our global cooperative partnerships, Inogen Alliance associate team members can leverage the unique perspectives and insights of our valuable global teams to foster flexibility, agility and innovative thinking in our offerings. of service as we continue to deliver exceptional results to our largest global customer. teams. Likewise, we can help our clients in this global workspace and share the learnings we have had within our own associate members.
These are just a few examples of promoting diversity and inclusion through intercultural work. In any projects you do, it’s important to always apply multiple perspectives, find the positive in other approaches, be flexible, and proactively encourage effective collaborative practices that you will feel comfortable with. those who can take a different cultural approach.
Through our global network, the Alliance will continue to share knowledge to help clients navigate cultural variations and ensure project success while operating seamlessly in local environments.
Please get in touch with our team to find out how we can support you globally and locally.
About Inogen AllianceInogen Alliance is a global network of dozens of independent local companies and over 5,000 consultants around the world who can help you make your project a success. Our associates work closely together to serve multinational corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, and we share our industry knowledge and experience to provide the highest quality service to our clients. If you would like to learn more about how you can work with Inogen Alliance, explore our Associates Where Contact us. Look for more News and blog updates here and follow us on LinkedIn.
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