How to build cross-cultural rapport by leaving your food comfort zone [The Culture Guy Podcast]

michael-spencerWhen he moved within the United States, from Maryland to Arkansas, Michael Spencer realized that some of the stories about the U.S. South are sometimes more than just stereotypes. Or, as he found out, Southerners like their tea sweet. Which meant that rapport building in the Ozarks is different than at the Chesapeake Bay.

Then his company offered him an opportunity to transfer to Hong Kong. Having learned to adjust to other ways of establishing trust Michael instinctively knew that leaving his comfort zone around the dinner table would help him build a cross-cultural bridge. That’s where chicken feet entered the picture.

Throughout his assignment Michael was responsible for a big team which extended into mainland China, India, and Japan. As Chief Ethics Officer for one of the world’s largest retail organizations he needed to find a balance between the expectations of an American corporation and their top talent in Asia.

Michael’s biggest advice for “Western” executives: sit, listen, and observe.

 

Listener feedback for The Culture Guy Podcast continues to be excellent and we encourage you to keep sending us your input for future episodes:

  • What are your tips and tricks for cultural adjustment?
  • What were some of your most memorable “cultural fool moments”?
  • Which topics would you like to hear discussed on future podcast episodes?

To send in your feedback for the show, please email Christian and use our social media outlets: The Culture Mastery Facebook Page, the Facebook Page for The Culture Guy Podcast, our company’s Twitter feed, and Christian’s personal Twitter.

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e can get a feel for which cross-cultural topics you are most passionate about.

Please use the hashtag #TheCultureGuy when you share this idea with your connections.

Comments 2

  1. Christian, I was reading up this morning on the difference between cross-cultural and intercultural communication. I still can’t say that I would be able to articulate it succinctly.
    I was wondering if you make the distinction in your work, and if so, how do you define and differentiate the two?

    1. Sabine,
      Thank you for this clarifying question. The two terms often are used synonymously and many in the field make it a point that cross-cultural and intercultural are two different terms and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Each term has a different meaning and should be used accordingly.
      These two articles explain it well:
      https://ixmaticommunications.com/2011/02/03/cross-cultural-vs-intercultural/
      https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/multicultural-cross-cultural-intercultural-you-using-niccol%C3%B2

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