Sunday, September 9, 2007

Being able to solve problems is not enough anymore

Culture is not something that we think about analytically. As Americans, living in a multicultural society, we are particularly prone to this strategic error. In our business model, managers are expected to solve problems - there is usually a “right” way and a “wrong” way. In the international arena our managers, more often than not, will be required to solve “dilemmas”. “Dilemmas” result when the nuances of different cultural approaches may mean that what is “right” in my culture may not be appropriate in my host’s culture. Global managers need to be taught how to “reconcile” dilemmas - how to develop mutually agreeable solutions based, more often than not, on interpersonal trust and respect for cultural differences. When we reconcile dilemmas we come up with a new solution resulting from the synergy of divergent viewpoints. The power of the new approach may amaze us. Read more...

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