Making the business case for cultural competence
No matter whether you are expanding your business into foreign markets, trying to recruit the best candidates from a diverse talent pool, leading a multinational (and perhaps remote) team of people, or ensuring your marketing and branding messages are received in the intended way: cultural competence and having a global mindset – your ability to work and relate effectively across cultures and behavioral norms – is a key business skill.
Companies with a global mindset, or rather: companies whose team members operate with a global mindset, are proving to be more successful. And since most people are moved to action by a fear of loss rather than by the prospect of a gain, let’s look at the inverse: organizations without globally minded employees are at risk of losing business and missing their targets.
Global Mindset affects the bottom line
A recent study surveyed 1,362 business professionals around the world and found that companies which are dedicated to fostering intercultural skills are much more likely to accomplish their most important strategic and business objectives than companies that do not. Among the survey respondents at companies that achieved or exceeded their business targets (called “Overachievers” in the study), 84% say their organization recognizes different cultural values and preferences in business activities. This compares to only 26% of respondents at “Underachiever” companies who could say that.
Developing culture-savvy teams
Now, companies don’t become culturally competent over night. Moreover, it can’t be overstated that it isn’t companies that go global – it is their people who do. And building teams with a global mindset requires a talent development strategy. Businesses need to provide employees with the right tools to work effectively with each other. As workplaces become more and more diverse, cultural differences within teams can be harnessed as an asset or they create a liability. When managed strategically and supported by cultural learning initiatives, a company’s internal diversity has the chance to be a competitive advantage for reaching international markets more effectively. Instead of only relying on market research and surveys, globally minded teams allow access to first-hand insights on the motivations and concerns of diverse customers.
In addition to that, organizations should develop culture-savvy staff among all management and leadership levels in order to successfully reach the diversity of domestic and overseas markets. Any company with business interests outside of their home market needs well trained employees who know how to develop and design, adapt and market their products and services so that they meet the requirements of an increasingly diverse customer base. That is why smart global companies attract, retain, and develop culture-savvy managers who will help them tap the opportunities of global markets.
This is where Global Mindset becomes a strategic decision for multinationals. This approach goes beyond lofty diversity and cultural awareness goals. It requires a corporate commitment an all organizational levels to utilizing difference. Is your company ready to capitalize on culture?
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