I am often asked about the key elements of effective international collaboration and whilst there is no secret recipe for success, these ten points might help you to navigate through the complexities of international cross-border working. The list is not exhaustive but I hope these hints and tips are a good starting point:

  1. Avoid making instant judgements or assumptions about colleagues or clients from different cultures with regard to their working style
  2. Try to do some research on the culture of each team member when you are working with a culturally diverse group
  3. Try to understand how your style might be viewed through the eyes of colleagues or clients from different cultures – they may view your style as confusing
  4. Remember that not all challenges encountered in cross-border situations are the result of cultural differences – the issues could be personality-based, technical or commercial
  5. If something happens when working with somebody from a different culture, step back and try to work out if the challenge is cultural or more business-process focussed – your solution might be different depending on the answer
  6. Remember that your colleagues in other offices want the best outcomes for your company as well – you are all working together to a common goal
  7. Just because people do things differently in another country does not mean that they are necessarily wrong in their approach – it’s just a different way of doing things
  8. A good idea is a good idea regardless of where it originates – one country does not have all the answers
  9. When communicating with team members who are speaking a second language, do not over-estimate their linguistic abilities. Just because they are good at a second language does not mean they are perfect.
  10. Teams and organisations which are at ease in cross-border situations and co-operate well across the cultures will prosper in an increasingly global economy.

You can probably think of many other ‘Golden Rules’ but these are a good starting point to a more open and culturally aware approach.
Global Business Culture works with clients all over the world, helping them develop greater levels of cultural fluency within the organisation. If you would like to discuss how we might be able to assist you or your business contact me at keith@globalbusinessculture.com

3 reasons why global law firms need to develop global cultural fluency

Over the past decade, I have worked with some of the world’s greatest international Law Firms and I have been heavily involved with their globalization processes. This has been a fascinating journey and I’ve learnt an enormous amount along the way. Many of the firms have grown from local powerhouses to global super powers and… Read More


Off-Shore Partners in India

Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of major projects where U.S. or European companies have looked to transition work from their home countries to outsourced facilities in India. The drivers behind these projects have been many and varied, but I suppose that cost reduction is always a major component of any such… Read More


Global Compliance and Global Cultural Difference

A report published by Control Risks titled ‘International Business Attitudes to Corruption’ succinctly highlighted some of the extreme challenges faced by Compliance Officers within global organisations.  As regulators increasingly extend their global reach whilst at the same time anti-corruption laws become ever more comprehensive, Global Compliance comes face-to-face with culturally differing norms around the world…. Read More


You really need to build your own levels of cultural fluency

I really believe this statement is true if any person is to be able to work really effectively across the barriers of culture, language, geography and time. The basic problem is that people are not born with an innate understanding of how business works in areas of the globe they don’t know and maybe have… Read More


Lots of our clients are WEIRD

cultural awareness training

It’s probably not a great idea to start a post by appearing to insult most of our clients – so I’d better quickly explain what I mean by calling you WEIRD. Joseph Henrich, Steven J Heine and Ara Norenzayan issued a research paper a few years ago showing that most behavioural science theory is built… Read More


Global Compliance in a Culturally Complex World

A report published by Control Risks titled ‘International Business Attitudes to Corruption’ succinctly highlighted some of the extreme challenges faced by Compliance Officers within global organisations. As regulators increasingly extend their global reach whilst at the same time anti-corruption laws become ever more comprehensive, Global Compliance comes face-to-face with the often uncomfortable on-the ground reality… Read More


English as the Global Communication Language

global virtual teams

Like it or not, English is the common global language adopted by most international companies. The trouble is that language levels in English vary around the world – even within one organisation. Native speakers often assume that ‘if somebody is working in my company, they have to have really high levels of English.’ This is… Read More


5 Reasons your Organisation should become culturally fluent

Lots of organisations seem to face huge capability gaps when it comes to successfully implementing global strategy. The strategy may be fine as a concept but individuals within companies very often lack a sufficiently global mindset to allow them to implement the strategy successfully – and that’s when things can go badly wrong. Many of… Read More


10 Golden Rules for Working Globally

I am often asked about the key elements of effective international collaboration and whilst there is no secret recipe for success, these ten points might help you to navigate through the complexities of international cross-border working. The list is not exhaustive but I hope these hints and tips are a good starting point: Avoid making… Read More


Globalisation gap and global strategy

The findings of a recent Boston Consulting Group report highlighted the fact that many companies face a huge capability gap when it comes to implementing their global strategy. The strategy may be fine but if individuals within the organisation lack the global mindset to enable them to implement the strategy successfully, then things can go… Read More