Reframing cultural difference as a resource improves business strength
Cultural Difference At Work Is An underused Opportunity
In a business setting I am always struck by how one dimensional the descriptor “company culture” is. To look at the ways an organisation can make a place into somewhere people want to work is great for all sorts of reasons; retention and engagement for a start, particularly in capturing that 35% of discretionary effort.
However, this is simplistic and a bit of a blind spot in Australia. It ignores the multitude of people who have come from elsewhere to live and work here.
Who says they even share our ideas of what makes a great company culture??
What kind of a roadmap do they get for operating effectively in this business environment?
Who guides their transition into this community and makes them feel their “whole self” is valued at work?
What other valuable insights are we losing because we don’t explore other valid ways of seeing and doing?
Recognising The Impact Of Our Approach On Team effectiveness
Recent Harvard Business Review studies have shown that downtime in organisations when production stops or tasks have to be redone are most often caused through miscommunication. Not surprising when you consider the many different nationalities working together these days often using English as the operating language with varying levels of fluency. Adding to this mix the cultural overlays that can influence everything from decision making, leadership styles and scheduling, it makes sense that a clear understanding of this can have enormous benefit for an organisation.
So what does understanding the effects of culture on everyday activities mean for business? In a world where organisations and individuals are increasingly mobile globally wouldn’t you want to be able to more accurately predict how your colleagues from a different culture might react? Wouldn’t that help your organisation to craft more effective strategies, build more effective teams, be more agile and better able to mitigate risk?
We Can Create Stronger Business Communities
I am passionate about ensuring that people working outside their own culture receive the guidance necessary for them to work and live up to their full potential. Why? Because I know how important understanding cultural cues is when you are outside of your own cultural network. It can mean the difference between doing a job well or even getting the job at all. When we begin to reframe cultural difference as a resource rather than something to solve or assimilate we will begin to create more effective partnerships in business and that flows on to building stronger more resilient and cohesive communities.
Astrid Hofmann presented an interesting model on understanding communication cues and bridging cultures. Members of The NCP can access a pdf handout of some of this presentation in the members area of this site.
Next Steps Towards A Stronger Business
The business advisors, consultants and coaches of The Network Of Consulting Professionals agree with Astrid Hofmann that you can improve your business strength by reframing cultural difference as a resource, both internally and when dealing with customers, suppliers and partners.
The members of The NCP are in an ideal position to identify the symptoms of a missed opportunity caused by preventable misunderstandings. In addition to having access to the specialist expertise of CTC, they have the experience and resources to recommend and support the implementation of smart strategies to turn cultural difference into a high performance factor.
Could your business benefit from reframing cultural difference as an opportunity? Contact The NCP to organise a review of how your business could better leverage cultural differences.