Why Watching Cultural Performances Is More Important Than You Thought

I must admit that I am not really the type who often goes to cultural events like dances, theater and so on. Maybe this will change now. The reason why I did not appreciate it very much was that I saw it more as pure entertainment, rather than something that I could learn from. But when I went to a performance of…

Self-Awareness is the Key to Figuring Out your Personal Values and those of Others

Today it somehow made click for me. When I was talking with one of my acquaintances, she explained to my why she had only one hour time to get lunch with me in every detail you could imagine. She went round and round and round, but my question only was how much time she had so that I could plan…

Lead Like the Buddha: Integrating Buddhist Thoughts Into Corporate Culture

There was one man who succeeded in using Buddhist teachings to create an amazing corporate culture: Dr. Yoshiro Maruta, ex-president of the Kao corporation. Himself a Buddhist scholar, he was well aware of the similarities between the Buddhist philosophy and great leadership.   Maruta mainly integrated two aspects of Buddhism into the corporate culture of the Kao Corporation. Human equality…

Five Ways In Which The Mindset Of Chinese Employees Has Changed

We often think that Asians are very conservative in their thinking, that they cling to traditional values. However, according to a Steelcase WorkSpace Futures Whitepaper, there are six changes in the expectations of the Chinese employees. They no longer focus on tradition alone, but they now use it to their advantage, combining it with modern values in new ways. Check…

Nothing But Conflicts: Problems in International Negotiation Can’t Be Avoided, But They Can Be Managed

Imagine you representative of a western company want to start a joint venture with a Chinese firm. What is likely to happen, what are the common problems in these cases? Well, the most common problem is that western negotiators are often too impatient. They forget that before they start talking about business, they need to develop a relationship with the…

Turning Marmots Into Busy Beavers: Reflections on Motivating People Across Cultures

In Germany, Marmots are called “Murmeltiere”. They are the absolute metaphor for the life of a sleepyhead. It seems the fact that they only sleep through the whole winter, but not the summer, doesn’t seem to matter to us Germans. We just determined that they are lazy and that’s it. End of the discussion. Most of us are also not…

Why Cross-Cultural Learning Depends on Both of You

It is no news that when you interact with someone from a new culture, you need to be open-minded and willing to learn. Without that, your communication is deemed to failure. The problem is: no matter how experienced you are in cross-cultural communication, the success of your encounter will always also depend on the other person. In his book Management…

Brahmin or Kshatriya: Which Values Dominate the Indian Society Today?

Brahminical values, those of the knowledgeable class, influenced the India of the past the most. People were expected to be knowledgeable but compliant and to live a simple life in restraint. Excessive behavior was taboo – the one who conformed and lived a life of patience was seen as the “best citizen”. This kind of conformity was also closely related…

Why You Should Never Forget The Past

Erin Meyer surprised me. A lot. While it was always clear to my mind that a country’s history has a strong impact on its culture, I somehow always neglected that fact. Why? Because history has always been a boring subject for me. I preferred to live in the present, rather than philosophizing about the past. Sorry, dear historians! However, as with…

Beware! Culture Changes Your Brain Without You Noticing

Your brain is in constant change. With every new experience (meaning: every single moment) connections between the neurons in your brain are created. As a result, the structure of your brain changes all the time.  Scientists call this “neuroplasticity”. Seeing that, our notion of IQ does not really make sense. Since everything we learn recreates our brain, and every time…