Globalisation Lessons Learned During My Masters

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When I did my MSc International Management at the University of Sussex I was very proud. I was selected as one of the 33 people from 19 countries who could attend the course at SPRU which is ranked second in the world only to Harvard University in innovation studies.

Globalisation Is the Greatest Asset Or Liability Depending On How It Is Managed

I felt lucky until our first project when we almost failed. The problem was that we all had our best ways of working, communicating and we have assumed that we understood each other just because we spoke the same language. Big mistake with the best intention…assuming that common sense and best practices are enough in a globalised world can cost us a lot of money and frustration.

Nowadays companies can employ the best of the best from all over the world and they can do business in almost any countries, yet, 75% of them fail within 2 years due to lack of cultural intelligence. What is that exactly?

Diversity exists because people have different ways of solving problems depending on their cultural background such as generation, nationality, gender, educational level, profession and personality types. Even though we look at the same situation, we do not see the same thing, we just process the information based on what we know consciously or subconsciously. Basically, we assume the meaning of a word, gesture, reaction or behaviour.

Assumptions In Communications Are Like Termites In The Wood

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Termites can cause serious problems in the wooden structural components of a house, and may go undetected for a long period of time. In an average year, termites are responsible for $1 billion to $2 billion in property damage. Their presence is hard to notice, and damage usually is found before they are seen.

Sounds familiar? Everything seems to be fine in your company, relationship, family, and with your customers, and you do not notice anything special, then it starts crumbling before it collapses? Familiarity is dangerous...comfort zone turns into laziness...a stronger pattern of assumptions which would spread onto new relationships and situations...

How many times do you make assumptions about what people will like or not like, how they will react to an event or something you need to tell them or even what they are thinking, what motivates them, what their desires are? If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advancement and innovation.

No matter how open we think we may be, bias affects all of us. According to research by the Perception Institute, 85% of Americans consider themselves to be without bias, when in fact, the vast majority of us carry biases that exist and operate beneath our conscious awareness. We do 98% of our thinking in our unconscious mind. And that is where we collect and store our implicit biases. (FORBES, 2016).

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