Possessing strong cross-cultural skills is crucial. Good thing Gunawan Jusuf has some insights.
The world has shrunk over the last several decades, and now many companies run global operations that span multiple time zones and cultures. Working with folks hailing from other cultures can lead to some challenges, especially if folks fail to adopt the proper approach. Fortunately, international business expert Gunawan Jusuf can offer some tips.
“Perhaps the most important factor is simply being aware that people from other cultures may think differently,” says Mr. Jusuf. “That may seem pretty obvious, but many people glance over this. If you’re aware, however, you can adjust your approach and grow your mind.”
Before visiting a country or working with folks from another place, it’s wise to read posts on forums or other sources of information. Often, it’s possible to develop a solid grasp of the overall etiquette of a given society. Simple things like small gestures say giving someone the thumbs up might mean something different in another culture.
Pitfalls in understanding can quickly sour relationships. This is especially true if you’re meeting people for the first time. Not only might they not understand what you’re trying to say or imply, but you may also misunderstand what they’re trying to tell you. As with most life activities, empathy goes a long way.
Gunawan Jusuf Says It’s All About the Laughs
Want to get to know another culture? Study their humor.
“They say that people who can detect sarcasm in a secondary tongue possess a very high comprehension of that language,” says Mr. Jusuf. “Ditto for jokes. To understand the unspoken messages of a language, you need to have a very high ability to comprehend that language.”
With that in mind, it’d be wise to watch comedy movies or stand-up shows. This could help folks learn more about the language and how people think and view various issues. A high grasp of humor may not only make folks laugh now, but it could also help them relate to people.
Don’t Forget the Company’s Culture
Cultures often vary from country to country. In some cases, the overall culture can be quite similar but also different in nuanced ways. Canada and the United States share a lot of aspects of their respective cultures, but at the same time, there are many subtle differences. Likewise, regional differences can result in cultural misunderstanding. Increasingly, different companies also have their own unique culture.
“Want to enjoy your job or business? If so, it’s smart to find a company that offers a culture that meshes well with your personal preferences,” suggests Gunawan Jusuf. “If you prefer a more buttoned-up environment or a laid-back environment, you should try to find companies that offer such cultures.”
Finding a great cultural fit may help you excel in your career. Likewise, a poor fit could lead to challenges and perhaps even shortcomings.