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Cross Cultural Training

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 5 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cross Cultural Training Benefits Of

Cross cultural training is one of these relatively new ‘buzz’ phrases that have become more common over recent years given that so much of business today is conducted on an international scale to such an unparalleled degree as we’ve never seen before. This has led to an increase in the number of people from different countries and cultures that interact with each other and have to come up with mutually agreed solutions. And it’s not only between businesses where this occurs, but also within the companies themselves where one single organisation may have numerous offices and thousands of staff situated all over the world and, therefore, it’s important that, no matter how big an organisation is and wherever its offices and presence are located, there needs to be a carefully managed corporate response about everything a business says and does.

This is where cross cultural training helps as its purpose is to develop an understanding between people from different cultural backgrounds in order to ensure that there are clearer lines of communication which, in turn, makes for better relationships and ensures that everybody is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. Here are several examples of the results that can be gained by undergoing a cross cultural training program.

Interpersonal Skills

By understanding the cultural backgrounds of different people and what has influenced them, we can get to understand some of the previously hidden behaviours of people which enables us to demonstrate a greater degree of understanding and sensitivity which we might not have been able to previously.

Finding a Mutual Common Ground

Quite often, workplaces in general tend to unwittingly ‘pigeon-hole’ people into different categories, often stereotyping them in the process. This only has the effect of alienating certain groups which often results in them withdrawing into the groups of people they feel most at ease with. A good example of this is seen in the separation of communities in most large cities and towns. Take New York as a prime example – you’ve got Little Italy, Chinatown, certain areas which are mostly formed by the Jewish community and many others besides and even in this great big ‘melting pot’ of a modern day city, outside of work (and even sometimes within work) most people will socialise with those with whom they feel most comfortable. Likewise, in the workplace, cross cultural training aims to break down those barriers and instead of retreating to where it feels ‘safe’, it aims to bring about a situation where people from different cultures can all feel a sense of common ground with each other. In this way, mutual understanding develops which helps them in business to overcome culturally challenging obstacles.

Career Development

The training is also very beneficial in terms of career development and promotion. By being equipped with the personal skills, knowledge and awareness to feel comfortable about conducting business in any country in the world, you are going to be perceived as a valuable member of staff, especially in a company that has strong international ties.

Crossover into Personal Life

Not only does cross cultural training look at problems in the workplace and resolutions to them from a very unique perspective, people who have taken these courses often find that the skills and knowledge they learn helps them to adopt a similar approach when faced with personal challenges in their own private life in that they think far more broadly in terms of potential solutions to a problem or issue.

Ultimately, cross cultural training helps to create a better understanding of people’s various cultural backgrounds, makes for better interpersonal relationships, increases awareness, improves self-confidence, builds trust and breaks down barriers. It also helps you analyse your own previous thought patterns, beliefs and behaviours and motivates you to learn more about yourself which, by doing so, can only result in improved relationships in business which, in today’s global economy, is an absolutely vital quality to have for many companies.

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