Global Leadership Blog

Learning New Cultures

Five Friday Highlights: Joy, Fear, and New Cultures

When you decide to visit a new country, is your initial sentiment joy or fear? Maybe a combination of both? For some people, of course, it’s not really their decision. As organizations become more global, work-related international moves are becoming more common. For person doing the moving, though, “common” may not be the first word that comes to mind! Today, five selections about people’s experiences with other cultures, some short-term and others more permanent.

As organizations become more global, international moves are more common. But for the person moving, “common” isn’t how it feels! {TWEET THIS}

Let’s start with one individual’s experience and expand into larger groups of people. In Introverts, Arriving Early, and my German Adventure, author Jennifer Kahnweiler shares her takeaways from her recent business trip to Germany. She was impressed by the vigorous attention given to debating all sides of issues (and how disagreement was not to be taken personally).

Every international trip I embark on transforms me and this one was no exception. – Jennifer Kahnweiler

Speaking of transformation, when workers move to a new country and must assimilate into a new culture, transformative interactions are sure to take place! In 5 Ways to Acclimate Multinational Employees from Talent Management, activities to enhance workers’ abilities of “self advocacy, ownership, speaking up, facilitating meetings and knowing what topics are safe for their work environments” are presented.

Trading Persian Tea for Seattle Coffee from The Atlantic is a detailed look at how the Iranian community in Seattle established their lives (and livelihoods) while also staying true to their heritage.

A tree cannot stand without the roots…and I cannot be excited as a proud American if I’m not proud of where I came from. – Ali Ghambari

The 70 executives consulted for Leading Across Cultures: The Five Secrets of the World’s Top CEOs from The Guardian have undoubtedly encountered their fair share of intercultural issues in the workplace! One of the five secrets is fearlessness, with the author asking “Are you comfortable being uncomfortable? Do you like situations where there’s no road map or compass?” My travels have confirmed that — embracing the risk of inserting yourself into a new situation is often difficult but almost always worth the risk!

Sometimes, it is possible to cross cultural lines without actually going anywhere, and to do it in a way that divides instead of uniting. A Point of View: When Does Borrowing From Other Cultures Become ‘Appropriation’? from BBC News, is an opinion piece on the evolution of political correctness. Citing incidents such as a 2015 “Kimono Wednesday” issue at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts when an activity designed to engage people led to protests over perceived cultural insensitivity, the author concludes “appropriation is far more often empowering than oppressing.” What do you think? Email me here to let me know!

Image credit: 123rf/scanrail

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication.
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