When crossing cultures, use global dexterity
Many managers and leaders have lived, worked or studied abroad, and there are many books and articles describing cultural differences. But what these books don’t tell you is that learning about differences across cultures is only a f irst step toward effective cultural adaptation, and if all you do is read about these differences, you will likely suffer the same fate as Greg. It’s not only the differences that most people need to understand to be effective in foreign cultural interactions; it’s global dexterity, the ability to adapt or shift behaviour in light of these cultural differences. And that’s something that’s often easier said than done.
For starters, it’s often very difficult to behave in a way you aren’t used to, even if you have an intellectual understanding of what these behaviours are supposed to be. From my work with professionals from a