Making culture work for you

AllemployeeHad a kick off conference call this morning for an international comms project. We spent quite a lot of time talking about culture and cultural differences. Which is a lot more than an operational issue.  We are mostly blind to our own cultural biases and wildly intolerant of the cultural biases of others Dissecting the style of management matters because you have to understand what is going on in head office. You need to match styles with them. And to be any use you then need to partner with them to ensure that what they implement has more than a passing chance of success because you adapt the content to business cultures in the local markets who are going to have to implement. In other words culture is central to everything you are setting out to do. Working in the same business culture you can get away with plenty of "you knows" to save time. But outside of your culture you have to think of everything and to catch yourself in the act – to avoid making basic errors.  I think its struck me forcefully because of the way it is so easy to create virtual teams when you share the same working culture. You can move incredibly fast – there is so much shared knowhow. But that can lead to a sense of presumed consensus that the client organisation doesn't necessarily share. 

Which has reminded me that I need some advice from an anthropologist on another project which involves culture change. Where conventional pre and post research aren't delivering indications of change. We need more subtle culture measurement tools. Any takers out there?

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