You meet other cultures when you go abroad for holiday. Sometimes nearby like France or Germany, others look for it further away, for instance East Asia. Isn’t it fun to watch how people live in other countries and cultures and how they deal with each other and with you? Holiday is the moment to watch this with an appreciative view, to enjoy what is there and how that feels. Am I a workaholic or a crazy professional to bring this to the situation in the office? What is so enjoyable about this other culture? Why can I love this on holiday? And how can this help me in my job?
Johan Dahlbäck recommended me the book “The Culture Map” from Erin Meyer. This holiday I read it and it is really fascinating. The appreciative way of looking at other cultures, the search to understand and to find the benefits from it. It also gives you a mirror how influenced your own thoughts are by your own culture and that there are many ways to look at a situation.
Think of this when you are in your office and have a struggle with a colleague, supplier or customer and you start to have an opinion about the other one. Do a step back and think of how many ways you could look at the situation as well, using the dimensions of Erin Meyer, like directness of communicating, giving negative feedback, leadership, hierarchy, and trust. What values are at stake here, for you and for the other? And which cultural aspects could be there that prevents you from understanding the other?
This article is earlier posted on LinkedIn