When I tell people that I offer cross-cultural training, there’s usually a little bit of interest in what that means. When they are facing an overseas trip, or a challenge in a cross-cultural team at work, and I suggest I could help, there is usually a vague response of, “yeah, that might be valuable.”
Then I usually never hear anything again.
In general, I have found most people think that cross-cultural training is a “nice to have.” It’s not necessary.
But for those who have participated in cross-cultural training, their response is usually, “I wish I’d known this sooner!”
And it doesn’t just have small implications. I was chatting to someone the other day who is in a cross-cultural relationship. They’ve really been struggling with their communication. In the process of our informal chat, I explained there are a lot of cultural factors that aren’t seen, but that once you gain awareness of, can really help in understanding a situation. I offered one example, of how their culture was low context, and their partner’s culture was high-context. As I explained the difference, and what the implications were, you could almost see the lightbulb go off in his mind!
|Photo credit: seabass creatives
They said their mind was blown, because it had a huge impact on how they understood what was going on in their marriage. And that’s just one cross-cultural factor!
So if you’re unsure whether cross-cultural training is really necessary for your next overseas work trip, your group of culturally diverse employees, or even working things out in a cross-cultural relationship – the answer is a resounding YES.