“The manager who knows only his or her own country is doomed to become obsolete. Most organizations can no longer afford to employ culturally myopic managers.” Philip R. Harris & Robert Moran, Managing Cultural Differences
Financially challenged companies that are facing the worst economic crisis in more than fifty years may be tempted to eliminate or postpone “mission critical” global leadership and culturall training, consulting or coaching for their employees due to budget constraints. This may be very “penny wise and pound foolish”.
Companies are also faced with cutting workforce numbers. The effects on remaining employees should not be overlooked, particularly when they are working across cultures and more and more often in a virtual environment.
Global competition is just to important and challenging to expect employees and managers to just “wing it” without proper preparation and the necessary skills when working across cultures. Ignoring or not understanding the impact of cultural differences can be much more costly than training programs.
In the global marketplace, knowledge and skills not only mean power, it can also mean survival. Understanding the need for cultural awareness and sensitivity is just the ante to get into the game of global business. How well you play depends upon your level of cultural savvy.
It is estimated that more than half of all international joint ventures fail within two or three years. The reason most often given is cultural myopia and lack of cultural competency – not the lack of technical or professional expertise.
Developing global cultural competency is one of the most challenging aspects of working globally. Managing the myriad work and management styles that companies face across geographies, businesses, functions and projects can be daunting. What is effective in one culture may be ineffective, or even inappropriate, in other cultures.
Cultural Savvy recognizes that for cross-cultural training, coaching and consulting to be effective as an enhancement to an organization it must deal with several complexities in the learning process. Employees must be able to apply new learning in the performance of their assignments, and be able to observe and make the appropriate behavioral adjustments when cross cultural issues become important to their productivity or the effectiveness of the organization as a whole.
Customizing the learning experience is the most effective way to address specific issues and objectives and maximize the impact cultural competency can have on the company’s bottom line. In today’s global marketplace, being culturally savvy is no longer just “nice to have” but a key ingredient in building and maintaining a competitive global advantage. The “one size fits all, off the shelf approach” is not effective.