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…

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…