Culture is not shocking – unless you want it to be

Are new encounters really shocking – or simply unfamiliar? When preparing people for life and work abroad cultural trainers often address the issue of culture shock. Sometimes this may sound like there will be a wave of negative experiences and emotions crashing on the shores of expat existence. Let’s set the record straight on this: The idea of a shock isn’t …

First talk and then perhaps drink to connect across differences

Yes, the Heineken commercial is genius. How can we connect across differences, if we allow our differences to define us? In light of the recent political and societal trends towards even more polarization and populism this is a fair question to ask. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the Dutch brewing company Heineken released an image film in April 2017 which hit …

When moving within the U.S. feels like going from Morocco to Finland [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Melissa Hahn shares how the question of identity can shape a relationship between partners from different cultures. She also describes how the geographical distance within one country can equal that of the opposite ends of a continent. Born and raised in Arizona, Melissa has had many opportunities to travel and live abroad and to experience other cultures. However, the first time …

A sci-fi lesson for real-life cultural understanding

Note: This article contains spoilers for the movie Arrival. Read at your own discretion.   How a Hollywood movie can help interculturalists teach connection One of the best science-fiction movies of the past decade has a beautiful lesson for people who strive to better communicate across linguistic and cultural borders. While the central theme of Arrival ostensibly is that of the communication challenge …

“Chinese bastards”: What we can learn from Daimler’s cross-cultural incident

When emotions hit a high, intelligence drops to a low Whether we like it or not: Sometimes people lose their temper and act out against others. And it is usually not a pretty picture. When this happens to company leaders on foreign assignment it can create a ripple effect with far greater reach than the untamed emotional release itself. In 2016 a cross-cultural incident …

How to become a cultural chameleon [The Culture Guy Podcast]

On this episode Pellegrino Riccardi explains how he reconciles his three cultural backgrounds Born in the UK to parents who came from Avellino in Southern Italy, and raised in a bicultural family in Bath – an English city which first experienced visitors from ancient Rome as early as AD 60 – Pellegrino now lives in Norway with his Norwegian wife …

Cosmopolitans, let’s keep reaching out! [The Culture Guy Podcast]

The Culture Guy pontificates about cosmopolitans, the signs of the times, and how four agreements will help you stand for who you are. We have been seeing a rise of nationalist, protectionist, or xenophobic tendencies across the world. The Culture Guy Podcast takes a look at the dilemma this creates for some of us. For those who live and work across cultural …

Why cultural competence is one of seven success factors for ‘glocal’ business

Recently on this blog you found our Table of Elements for Global Business Readiness. It has become quite popular among our clients. And it’s exciting to see that EDGE Business Magazine published a modified version in its January 2017 issue. In their Skill Sets column Christian Höferle explains the importance of cultural competence for sustainable growth for ‘glocal’ businesses. Cultural Competence a KeyGrowth Factor …

What executives, doctors, lawyers, students, teachers, baristas, and goat farmers have in common [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Getting outside of your comfort zone is easier with the tips in Andy Molinsky’s new book, Reach Exactly a year after he first appeared as a guest on The Culture Guy Podcast, Andy Molinsky is back. In this first episode of 2017 Andy talks about his latest book, Reach: A New Strategy to help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Often, …

How lawyers can cross cultures with ease [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Why international attorneys need to learn about intercultural communication Jeri Weber is an attorney-at-law and an intercultural consultant for legal professionals. She was born and raised in the U.S. Midwest, spent time in Asia as an exchange student and has lived and worked in China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. On this episode Jeri highlights the fact that most …

Why this NRI thinks “I will” beats IQ [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Why Mitch Patel thinks skills can be taught and not attitude Mitul “Mitch” Patel is the founder and CEO of Vision Hospitality Group, Inc., which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. Mitch is the son of immigrants from India – his father came to California from a village in Gujarat with $8 in his pocket. Today Mitch leads an …

Cultural work in a post-truth, narcissistic world

This November I attended a SIETAR meeting for the first time. Not sure why it took me so long to engage with intercultural professionals and educators at this level. I certainly recommend you don’t wait as long as I did. The gathering I attended was the annual conference of SIETAR USA in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The convention officially started on the …

How a global traveler discovered the B.A.N.K. code [The Culture Guy Podcast]

Cheri Tree is the founder and CEO of B.A.N.K.code, a company which developed a unique personality-based sales training approach. On this episode she shares the story how her nomad upbringing lead her to crack personality codes. Coming from a U.S. military family, Cheri traveled a lot during her childhood and when she was a student. Now, as an adult, she …

Crack the Cultural Codes of 10 Countries

Many of the readers of this blog and users of our website work across cultures or with teams across borders and cultures on a regular basis – whether you spend your time in the office or out on the road. When you do work with people who are different than you, it is critical to have a rough sense of …

Get your global gestures guide to go with Gestunary

If you travel internationally for work or leisure, you surely have come across guides about etiquette and manners in foreign lands. Visual guides and infographics have become particularly popular in recent years – like these examples: IG1 • IG2 • IG3 • IG4. With respect to differences in hand gestures around the world these guides are helpful but they are …

Ranking countries along the empathy scale

When science compares cultures it often uses the measurement tool of dimensions. There are several dimensional models out there with the Hofstede and Trompenaars frameworks being among those which are cited most. In recent years modifications like the one Erin Meyer outlines in her book The Culture Map or Andy Molinsky’s Global Dexterity have become very popular in the cross-cultural …

What are you doing with your hands? [The Culture Guy Podcast]

When people communicate they don’t only use their words, they always include parts of their body to convey their message. Depending on where in the world we are from, we use our hands, our heads, and the rest of our bodies differently. You’ll find hundreds of infographics on the internet highlighting how some gestures work in certain cultures but would …

Let’s talk about sex(ism), baby! [The Culture Guy Podcast]

During this episode I’ll be talking about sex. In a clean and mature way. It is still a podcast around the topic of sex – and about sexism. Let me be really clear: sexism will hurt your business. And sometimes you will encounter it coming from angles you weren’t expecting. I recently wrote a piece about this topic on our …

Building trust in global negotiations

Negotiations are part of almost every communication. We talk to come to an agreement with our counterpart. This could be simply to decide on a time for a meeting, to approve a business strategy, or to make a deal. In global business more often than not these negotiations are done using the English language. Whether you are a native speaker …

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

When 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 …