Tag Archives: Relationships

 

In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered Principle 1, Principle 2, Principle 3 and Principle 4 in earlier posts.

Principle 5 is called

“I trust even if I had been hurt before.”

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There are many instances in intercultural communication where we might have been hurt, where our way of trusting was hurt or where our values were challenged. We could have been misled by a carpet seller or a cab driver. We could have paid too much for a service just because we don’t really understand how the culture works or how the people behave in this culture. We could have thought that people were nice to us while they just made a business deal.

This misperception has led me to a number of learnings. One of the learnings is never to tell a driver in another country to take me shopping, because I will end up buying a carpet. I also learnt to negotiate the fare price with rikshaw drivers before I get on the rikshaw.

Still, I work with the assumption that people are good and that they are just trying to provide for themselves and their families. They are not out there to kill me or take away all my possessions. I am careful when I travel but I still trust people because it has led me to interesting encounters and helped me make great connections. I am not saying you should trust blindly but at least assume positive intentions of others.

In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered Principle 1, Principle 2 and Principle 3 in earlier posts.

Principle 4 is called

“I give people a third and fourth chance.”

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One key mistake a lot of my clients make before they come to our programs is that they send applications through websites in Switzerland without having any personal connections in the company. It’s very hard to find a job in Switzerland like that. Most candidates are very unforgiving or even worse start to doubt themselves. They do not yet understand how the system works and that Swiss or German speakers tend to be hard to approach at first. That is why we often refer to their cultures as being similar to coconuts.

The truth is that multinationals hire through their websites and their own recruiters. They have an inclusive policy and every candidate gets a fair chance but these companies are global corporations and the majority of companies in Switzerland are small and medium-sized. In fact the majority of jobs are not advertised openly in Switzerland. You need to learn the ropes. You need to give people more than one chance to gain your trust and you need to be forgiving if they come across as factual or even aggressive.

12695279_1056623704380238_1847484206_oIn the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered principle 1 and principle 2 in earlier posts.

Principle 3 is called

“I am more compassionate.”

 

As an intercultural coach I find it very important that you work with an open heart. This means that you show more compassion than the average person. If you have a friend or a relative in the family who is suffering from a health issue or less able to make a living than you are how about you spend a bit of time with that person and find out how you can help him or her. Another good way to show your compassion is by helping those who need support in our society: Children, elderly citizens, the homeless and refugees or migrants. Serving others with compassion is a spiritual exercise that will help you become more effective across cultures as well.

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In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles. We have covered the first principle in an earlier post.
The second principle is called

 “I watch my conclusion form other angles.”

It is easy to make a judgement without knowing the background and cultural assumptions behind certain behavior. If you want to become inter-culturally effective you need to learn to hold your judgement and watch your conclusion from different angles. It also helps to assume that the opposite of what you interpret could be true as well. So when you are experiencing a culture clash take note of what you believe is going on and then write down what else it could be.
When we look at discussions of the same event and read about this in newspapers with an opposing political view you see my point. You could read one journalist’s opinion and think “Yes, she has a point.”. The you read a contrary view on the events and you think “He is right as well.”. In intercultural competence we call this ability that you can deal with ambiguity. That is not always easy. Believe me. It’s a good exercise though.
Take a look at an intercultural clash experience you had. Write down conclusion A. Then write down the complete opposite. What is your experience from this exercise?
1st
In the series “Seven Principles of Intercultural Effectiveness” I would like to show you how you can reach your targets across cultures by adhering to seven principles.
The first principle is grounded in the lost long art of trying harder and showing more patience. It is called:

“I try harder and show more patience.”

In Switzerland, we are obsessed with the concept of time. We believe in process improvement and efficiency. What I have learnt though is that in intercultural communication you cannot be efficient in the Western worldview sense of the world. You need to learn to be “inefficient” in order to achieve your goals. Achieving your goals is what you interact with people for in the business world. I am not talking about your personal life here. Let’s say you want to develop your business in India. You have a limited budget and limited resources. Also, your time is your most important resource.
Now, you want to be effective, which means you want to reach your goal in the intercultural communication with the least amount of effort and resources. This could be a contract or a deal. It would be short-sighted to only measure the end result, i.e. the signature of the deal as the process to get there will be different in India than in Switzerland. In many cultures in the world, it is important to build relationships before doing business so if you give up on your business partners because they have not bought your machines the first time you went there you might be losing a lot of good business opportunities.
For your initial business trip to India, your main target, therefore, should be to get to know your prospects and business partners from all angles of their lives. Understand what they are struggling with, what they like to do when they don’t work and meet their children. Take the time to learn about the Indian culture while you are there. Get more information on the societal status of your business partner and their religious background. Find out what they like from Switzerland and bring it. Invest in the relationship only. When they want to talk business they will let you know.
In every interaction with your Indian counterpart withhold your judgement. It might be that this person is moving a lot faster than you and has more responsibilities to tackle but you won’t notice that unless you meet them in person. Find out what their day looks like. Be personal and approachable.