A non-judgmental communication

 

Trying to navigate through the business world by forming the correct relationships is always top of the company’s agenda. While this is hard enough in a monoculture, how can you do it in a polycultural society where there are people from 203 different nationalities? In fact, this can be done with extreme caution!

 

In the past 10 years, the UAE has witnessed explosive growth, and forecasts have been supporting this continued growth. This growth is underpinned by the increase of global companies having branch offices in the Emirates and SME’s growing by 50% year on year.

Having employed who they believe are the right people for the job - a majority of whom will be expatriates- organizations expend a lot of time and resources deciding on the best marketing strategy, adverting campaigns, vision and mission statements, adapting their product to have a local look and feel as well as maximizing their SEO’s strategy.

An increasing number of smart organizations are asking the burning question: How much time and effort do we spend on understanding how to position the relationship or service to the 203 different nationalities in the UAE? How to form different key relationships with people from all four corners of the earth? How to not only survive, but thrive in the UAE? How to avoid being one of 25% - 40% of the expatriates who pack up after 2 years and go back home simply because they can’t adapt to the culture? It can be a difficult transition for expats coming to live and work in the UAE. Firstly, they need to adapt to the different culture of the country, then to the culture of the organization they are joining. They will also need to deal with different cultures socially. Thus, in case this is not enough, they are also expected to hit the ground running, and become productive as soon as possible.

Therefore, how do you make sense of an intercultural world? By first understanding where you have come from and your own intercultural identity. Then, knowing where has the person you are communicating with come from. Given this understanding, you can then create a space, for non- judgmental communication using a neutral language that enhances the relationship. Experts in the cultural field have been seeking to understand the cultural diverse world we live in since the 1950’s. The forefathers of this fascinating field, Geert Hofstede, Tompenaars, and many others have been instrumental in bringing Cultural Intelligence to the Boardroom, as a “must have” skill for executives in the 21st century.

 

What is Cultural Intelligence?

 

Knowledgeworkx describes Cultural Intelligence as the ability to create new cultural spaces to facilitate win-win solutions; by anticipating, correctly interpreting, and adjusting to the culturally defined behaviors of others. They have defined three main ways in which we view the world, aptly called “Three world views”. There are many things that influence our cultural view point, one of these is how we were raised. As you grew up, the people who raised you taught you primarily:

a) What brings honor and what brings shame;

 

b) What is right and what is wrong;

 

c) Who has power and how to relate to them?

 

Thus, when people are operating in their daily life, they are making sense of the world in a different way than you are, or in the same way if you come from the same cultural viewpoint. For instance, when somebody is being interviewed for a job, the interviewee will look for different things. Those from the Honour Shame (H/S) will possibly look to see how will this position make them look, what will the title be on their business card? Where will they fit into the management hierarchy? Does this company “look good” on their CV and to their society? Someone from the Guilt Innocence (G/I) will potentially look at the contract, the policies and procedures, and the rules which enable them to be successful. A person from the Power Fear (P/F) will possibly search for other people that he knows in the organization and see how they relate to him and who can he influence to get on. MBD: Turning cultural differences into business assets. Therefore, you will need to adapt your approach and communication style accordingly.

We need to think from another’s worldview and acknowledge that others do think and operate from a different way from us. What is your strategy for being successfully in an increasingly competitive global market place? Clients can now have relationships with suppliers all over the world and sometimes there is no need to even meet them. What do we need to adjust and adapt to validate that today’s thinking work for you?

There is a need to become a cultural learner, rather than a cultural critic. It is not about acting similarly to another culture, and forgetting your own culture rather observing the other culture and adapting to make the necessary changes. In essence, the answer is straight forward, become a cultural learner rather than a cultural critic. You know the sort of expat I am talking about. The one that can be heard saying “We don’t do it like that back home, we do it like this, and our way is best,” or the way they do it is strange.

The cultural learner on the other hand asks: “This is interesting, why do you do it like that here, I would love to know how/ why…. ” Being a cultural learner means you, first of all, need to understand your own cultural or “world view,” point of view, before you can understand the opinion of others. Then things start to make sense. Once you understand your cultural viewpoint, then you can understand another’s viewpoint, this then allows for a greater level of understanding in all aspects of business, in negotiation, conflict, management managing teams and sales. “Tomorrow’s results can only be influenced by today’s thinking, yesterday is dead”- Amal Loring. MBD provides a range of training and consultancy services to help organizations build Cultural Intelligent workforces that have the potential to be successful in tomorrow’s global marketplace. It also assists global companies in becoming local, and local companies become global. Amal Loring also says: “Through being cultural intelligent, this helps the metal that people used to historically build barriers to galvanize into building bridges. This in turn helps people control the human ego, which leads to a reduction in office politics which is not only good for productivity but also helps society and the world.” NB: Information provided courtesy of KnowledgeWorkx.

 

 

About Amal Loring

Amal Loring is the founder of MindBodyDynamixs (MBD). Originally from the UK, Amal worked in senior sales management positions within the IT industry. She has coached over a period of 12 years, many individuals, teams and groups.

 

W: mindbodydynamixs.com

E: info@mindbodydynamixs.com

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