CROSS-CULTURAL

Why do they do that, it’s so rude!

Why do they do that, it’s so rude!

We were grabbing dinner at the local open-air restaurant on a hot Tanzanian night. My Swedish friend across the table wondered aloud why the waiter had left her bottle top on our table after having opened her coke, wasn’t that rude? While a smile on his face, our Tanzanian friend nicely rested the bottle top back over the opening of her coke bottle and replied, “because now you can cover your coke and keep the bugs out.” Touché.

So often what we label as rude, weird, or annoying about the actions and behaviors of people from different cultures is simply different. When we understand why other people do the things they do, more often than not it makes total sense.

When I work with people traveling internationally, one of the biggest limiting beliefs they have to overcome is “my culture is right, theirs is wrong.”

The #1 Mindset Every Leader Must Develop

The #1 Mindset Every Leader Must Develop

With the expansion of globalization and rapid advancements in technology, cross-cultural interactions around the globe are at an all-time high. No longer are cultures bound by their geographic borders. Local developments be they technological, political, social, economic or environmental can now have instantaneous global impact. With news available 24-7 around the world, people are more aware than ever before of what is happening globally, and businesses and organizations are affected more quickly than ever before by events in far reaching places. Take the 2008 economic crisis in the United States for example, its impact was felt way beyond the United States’ geographical borders.

Today’s leaders must integrate an appreciation of global dynamics and cross-cultural competencies into their leadership framework.