Culture impacts everything we do, at the workplace as well as our home. While cultural values, beliefs, and norms are invisible, they fundamentally influence our behavior and character – in many ways we do not realize. Because of the growing diversity in cultures and mobility in people, cross cultural training at the workplace is gaining immense importance. The term "cross cultural training" refers to training courses that develop awareness between people where a common cultural framework does not exist or is not recognized. It is an important element in every business. Most commonly, CCT is provided by employers to employees so that they learn how to work effectively and respectfully with each other. 
Diversity at the Workplace hiringplugThough cross cultural training is not common in India, it is trending in most countries where several ethnic groups work together. World day of cultural diversity (May 21) provides us with a perfect opportunity to deepen our understanding of the influence of culture by uncovering important basics that every business leader or individual should know about cross-cultural competency and learning.


Here are 5 reasons why Cross Cultural Training is important


1. Intercultural competence: Just a few people are born with natural intercultural competence and they provide equal respect to all cultures and traditions but not all of the people are born with it. It is a learned skill that comes from the real experience of interacting with somebody from a different culture, acknowledging that the difference is real and that there is something that can be done about it. Cross cultural training provides intercultural competence to individuals.


2.Multilingual Gets to know different languages: Knowing a foreign language or more than one language goes a long way. This increases the professional opportunities too. This helps individuals explore new countries where a foreign language can help professional and personal growth. 



3. Skill of Compromise: We wish others to change to suit our needs which is not always possible and creates conflicts and distractions. Hence, it is necessary that we understand the basic values, morals, and traditions of others as well. An understanding of the basic assumptions and values of the country you are in and/or the team members you are working with will help you understand how to communicate and manage people within that framework.



4. Do not apply the “Golden rule”: Forget what your mother told you! When working with international colleagues (especially on any international assignment in their country), don’t treat people the way you want to be treated instead, take the time and make the effort to really figure out how they want themselves to be treated. This will show that you respect their traditions and care about them as individuals. This will depict your generous nature and will help in your professional growth too.


5. Broadens our mindset: Cross cultural training is not just efficient and good for our professional arena but also for the personal life of an individual. Understanding and knowing about different cultures, traditions and values broadens the mindset of the people and help them prosper as a human being. They realize that caste, creed or religion doesn’t determine the status or intelligence of an individual. We should be secular in our behavior and character.
There have been cases in recent where cross cultural miscommunication proved to be disastrous for the company. Sabine, a Frenchwoman on a two-year assignment in Chicago, thought work was going well—so much so that she wanted to extend her stay in the States. Meanwhile, her boss named Jake had a different perception. He thought Sabine wasn’t active enough and her work was often sloppy. Where she expected to stay more, he wanted her to go. This is the cultural miscommunication as their way of working and mindsets were different. The demand for effective training programs in cross-cultural communications and sensitivity has exploded in recent years, driven by the desire to prevent such misunderstandings and to boost corporate competitiveness in the global marketplace. 
There are various ways through which a company arranges cross cultural training. Many a times they also arrange “lunch and learn” cultural and value based talks, employee rotation programs to allow their staff to work for nine to 18 months in the U.S., and diversity summits twice a year in various different locations. Boeing’s leaders can also take the “passport series” of training sessions, which are structured, materialistic and classroom-based. Generally if Indians think X and Americans think Y, and this XY conflict creates the entire difference. Hence, here cross cultural training proves to be very eminent.


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  M.Proust
 
Posted in : Work Culture 
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