Some time ago David Livermore published an article that gave a great example of the impact of diversity on individuals and the organisations they work for. In his article, he explored the various concepts that define the purpose of a meeting. Read the following paragraph and imagine you are having videoconferences with people from the backgrounds mentioned and what impact their idea of what a meeting is could have on the outcome of your discussions.
U.S.: The meeting is usually meant to gather information and input from the participants. Individuals are expected to come prepared to compare and constructively analyse the alternatives.
Japan: The meeting is meant to publicly confirm decisions made in smaller groups. The participants explore alternatives just as thoroughly as their U.S. counterparts but by doing so in private before the meeting, they save face by avoiding conflict publicly.
Mexico: The meeting is meant to build relationships and trust. Once you trust someone, decision-making is relatively easy and fast.
Netherlands: The meeting is meant to identify all the weaknesses and criticisms of a particular approach or plan. There is little need to spend time further discussing the strong points.
Do you feel like exploring your level of cultural intelligence and/or general self-awareness? PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has developed a fun resource helping you to expand your awareness and knowledge on human diversity. Why not log in and take the Quiz?
I have a range of learning and development resources to enhance your organisations diversity management strategies. Please contact me to discuss further.