What Emotional Style Is And Why It Makes You Look Good Even Far From Home

Going abroad can be hard on your emotions. All the loneliness, home-sickness, strangeness, confusion. It can simply overwhelm you. One friend of mine even went back home after just one(!) week. It then comes to no surprise that companies select their expatriates carefully and often provide them with extensive training. However, this training can not do much to prepare you…

The Classic Match-Up: Diverse- VS. Homogeneous Work Groups

It is a classic problem and until now it’s unresolved. The question what teams work better: diverse teams or homogeneous one’s. Oh man, all these dilemmas we face…. Creativity vs. performance. Intra-group Conflict vs. Groupthink. Fresh Ideas vs. Real Results and so on… But what if we wouldn’t have to face these dilemmas anymore? What if we could have everything?…

Seek, Sense, Share: A Framework For Making Sense Of The World

There is a good reason why I love moving from country to country: I want to understand the world. I know it’s impossible. Nobody could ever understand everything. But still, I think experiencing the world is the key to coming as far as one possibly can. Wherever you go you will see unique perspectives on the world. Now, of course…

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…