Globalization has brought many challenges to today’s world and none of them can be addressed without a better understanding of our neighbors. It can be exciting to travel and work in new places. It can also bring new demands, particularly if we fail to pay attention to the cultural differences which lie not far below the surface of daily life. Both executives and their families will find their stay in a foreign country to be far more enjoyable when they can better appreciate their host’s culture.
Just as in leading others, self awareness is the keystone for beginning to appreciate others’ customs and ways of doing things. IDA’s approach is based on three separate but complementary methods:
- Following a more general needs assessment, clients take the Intercultural Readiness Check which helps to gauge their abilities in four areas: intercultural sensitivity; intercultural communication; building commitment and preference for certainty. The IRC is taken on line and individuals are supported by a coach to strengthen any areas which need more development.
- Second is an introduction to the fundamentals of one’s own culture to understand that our way of thinking and acting is just one of many possibilities and is unique to our country’s history. Only then can one begin to learn about another culture and to appreciate that others too have developed ways of doing things which fit their own history
- Third, IDA works with individuals who are already beginning to question themselves about how they work with others. Interacting with people of different cultures can sometimes be stressful and even when trying to work at one’s best there can be misunderstandings. Personal Leadership is a powerful method designed to serve anyone who is living and/or working across cultural differences (national, ethnic, religious, etc) or in situations of uncertainty and transition
An Asian leading a team in an international organization in East Africa felt taken advantage of by local employees. In working with an IDA coach, the team leader learned to appreciate the very different cultural perspectives involved. This helped him to relax and learn new approaches to communicate and work successfully with the team.