The Relationship Between Culture and Productivity

I would like to start this article by describing how I personally maintain my own levels of productivity. This has two reasons: firstly, it could potentially give you some inspiration on how to be more productive yourself. And secondly, I am going to talk about why this way of maintaining productivity isn’t going to work for all cultures around the…

Are you living in the past, the present, or the future?

Our cultures are predisposing us to either of these three possible orientations towards time. For those living in the past, a sense of order is extremely important. Most often, this is a result of our forefathers growing up in an environment that was characterized by extreme levels of uncertainty, such as the desert. Very clear rules and frameworks that all…

Why Germany is Losing the Innovation Battle

Why is Germany – the land of ideas – losing the innovation battle against Silicon Valley? Author Christoph Keese went on a journey to the Silicon Valley to find out for himself and published his findings in the amazing book “Silicon Valley: Was aus dem maechtigsten Tal der Welt auf uns zukommt“. Unfortunately there is no English translation available so…

Cultural Adaption and It’s Setbacks: When Expats Fall on Their Asses

“How much is the parrot” a woman asked. “Wow, ma’m,” uttered the owner, “this is a very expensive parrot, because he speaks both Spanish and English.” “Oh really? Can you get him to speak in both languages?” “Sure you can. Look, it’s quite simple: If you pull the left leg he speaks English.” And he pulled the parrot’s let leg.…

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…

How to Adapt To Your Environment Without Loosing Yourself

Eminem isn’t exactly famous for his intellectual insights, but with this statement he comes very near to what I want to express in this post: your self is much more dependent on other people than you would have ever imagined.  In western cultures, we raise our children to express themselves and to strive towards their goals. In short: we value…

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…

What Matters When We Process Information: Culture or Personality?

Hi guys, Today we will discuss how culture and personality play together in aquiring and remembering information. If you have a look at the model below, you should start with perceptual selection.  Whenever somebody is exposed to new information, he or she decides unconsciously whether or not to pay attention to that information. We make that decision based on both,…