4.18: Summary: 7 Disciplines & 3 Steps

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Aim: To adapt better to other cultures and be more effective in your communication.
7 Disciplines for doing business across cultures
Golden rule Platinum rule
– Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
– Think globally, act locally.
– Do to others as they would like you to do to them.
– Think globally and locally; Act appropriately

1. Observe the situation without making judgments
In dealing with other cultures, our first judgment about ”those people” is often mistaken. Observing non-judgmentally can help us to understand others’ mindset and minimize biases and preconceptions.

2. Tolerate ambiguity
When working across cultures, there are many situations that are ambiguous and make us feel uncomfortable. Patience and perseverance are very important qualities for the international business person.

3. Style-shift
Style shifting is the ability to expand your own views, styles and thought patterns and chose the appropriate style for the situation. If we can only do something in one way, we have no choices available and cannot style shift.

4. Practice perception-flipping
All of us behave as we do because we believe our ways are valid. Before criticizing someone else’s behavior, we should try flipping our perception to see the other person’s point of view. Walk in the other’s moccasins.

5. Reframe our questions
If we ask ourselves, ”How can he be so rude?” or ”Why is she insensitive?!”, we are expressing a negation assumption about the other person. Reframing these questions to, ”What is the reason behind his/ her behavior?” prevents us from getting trapped in our own assumptions and allows us to explore the other’s frame of reference without bias.

6. Work interdependently
”Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy – the mental, the emotional, the psychological differences between people. And the key to valuing those differences is to realize that people see the world not as it is, but as they are.”
– Stephen Covey, author: ”The 7 Disciplines of Highly Effective People” –

Cultural synergy never happens if one culture dominates others. Working as a team is more critical in a cross-cultural environment than in a mono-cultural group.

7. Keep mental stability and growth
Develop a mental toughness and see cross-cultural situations as an opportunity for our own personal development and growth.

Three Steps to Cultural Effectiveness

Outline how you will become more effective in your intercultural communication.


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