Posts Tagged With: respect

Culture Shock after Brexit Decision

This week-end, after the results of Brexit, must have been a very difficult week-end for a lot of People, and I would like to share not only what I went through but what some of my fellow European and pro Remain British friends may have gone through too.

I am Intercutural Consultant and I help expatriate and global managers adapt to their new environment. By helping them adapt we always mention the Culture Shock curve that has five stages: Excitement, Denial & Depression, Culture Shock, Acceptance and Acculturation. The last time I went through the Culture Shock curve was when I moved to Singapore 10 years ago !

Over the course of this week-end I went through the first two phases and am heading towards culture shock.

The excitement Phase was before the Referendum results, I think most of us were positive that the UK would vote remain and thus demonstrate that we are a strong Europe and that Europeans are part of the British folk. When the results came down on friday morning, and I woke up at 5:30am to see the results, I couldn´t believe that Brexit had passed, I was in complete denial, I just couldn´t wrap my head around it although I had a feeling that it might happen but again my excitement at the time was stronger. I accepted in a  way the decision of the British public as I live in their Country and I need to accept their wishes but trust me I still felt a bit out-of-place especially going out for dinner in the evening. The atmosphere felt colder than usual, but then I just put that on the account of my own projections.

The rest of the week-end was the depression phase, waking up in tears not knowing what the future will bring, especially working as a freelance Consultant and delivering Trainings to mostly European expats as to how to integrate in the UK, so that was a big shock ! What will I do ? I thought I would spend the rest of my life here, I have friends which are now my Family, I have a home that I bought, i have a car, what will that mean? What does the future hold?

I also had a few talks over the week-end with a few Young British People and asked them what they thought of Brexit and a lot were shocked and angry. They said they were “Europeans” and not British citizens, what will happen for their future and their kid´s future? They won´t have the opportunity to have work experience abroad, travel, learn languages and go abroad to train themselves, so Overall a big shock.

When I spoke to European friends and colleagues most felt betrayed, stabbed in the back, not welcomed and are also fearing for their future.

We all know that nothing major will happen over the next two years and that as Europeans we will be able to stay, what will be the conditions after though? I think the acceptance phase after the shock is that one way or another if there are no Jobs, I/ we will have to move back to Europe, and I think this is what our culture shock is about, leaving a beautiful country, our friends, our lives.

For now however we need to wait and see and try to get out of the shock phase to get on with our lives.

I would love for fellow colleagues, Europeans or British citizens to share their view and how they coped with the Brexit decision.

Best

Nadege Welsch

Be-a-chameleon

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Categories: Culture Shock | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Travel, a way to reconnect with yourself

After a long wait, I have finally found the time to travel back to South East Asia and Australia to visit friends and family. I really missed traveling, that said when one works it is not always easy to take time out and venture on such a long trip, but this year was about reconnecting, so Singapore and Australia here I come.

On my way to Australia I stopped for a few days in Singapore. I used to live there for about a year and a half 8 years ago, and my goodness does the city change. It is so fascinating when you come back to identify the changes, observe the people and walk through the streets you used to walk through with fresh eyes and new perspectives.

I wasn´t in Singapore for long so I could not visit everyone but one thing which is always fantastic for me and so close to my heart is to meet up with my great local friends that always take time out to spend time with me and continue teaching me about Singaporean culture. I cannot thank them enough for this, and to be honest it is such a treat and honour, I really hope some of you have such great friends that never cease to teach you about their culture !

My Singapore stop was thus reconnecting with friends, with my previous life here and to be honest I really felt like a Singaporean, there is something about having lived in a city that makes you a part of it, such a wonderful feeling. My two days in Singapore were done and I was now flying to Sydney where my sister was waiting for me.

I stayed in Sydney and surroundings for about two weeks and a half, and in these two weeks and a half I ventured out every day with my camera under my arm to discover new areas, new sites and new perspectives. I had been in Australia in 1999 and in 2009 and everytime I go back i always feel this positive energy from nature and being so close to the ocean. Very invigorating and resourcing. This time around I was privileged to be invited in my sister´s boyfriend family´s house, i got to spend two days in an Australian home and it was amazing. I learned more about the culture, about the family dynamics but also how people perceive life and that again provided me with new perspectives and ways of looking at life and the world which is very important for my learning but also teaching in the intercultural field.

After my two weeks and a half away i felt re-energised, revitalized and full of new ideas which I hope I can share with my clients, colleagues, friends and family.

The moral of this story is that traveling does open up our minds more and even if you have lived or visited a place before, you always find and discover something new when you come back and your roots and belonging to that one culture you left a few years back continues to grow when you come back and resync with your past experiences.

PS.: If you like the pictures you see they are available on: http://chameleonpictures.zenfolio.com/  – you can find more pictures of other destinations under all photographs: http://chameleonpictures.zenfolio.com/f583482853

And if you need any support as an expatriate, repatriate or global nomad, feel free to contact us: http://www.be-a-chameleon.com, thank you

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working in a multi-cultural team

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Working in multi-cultural Teams whether face to face or virtually is becoming a given today. Indeed, through globalisation and relocation of businesses across the globe we are faced with the reality that the person we are likely to work with in our team will be from a different culture.

But what does that entail ?

As you can imagine there are advantages as well as disadvantages. Remember that we see the world through our own cultural lens, and the person working alongside us may see it from his/ her cultural lens, so this may mean that these two views may differ. If we look at it as a disadvantage this would mean that there would be miscommunication between the different parties, different expectations and different understandings of status/ hierarchy which could lead the Team to underperform. On the other hand if we look at it from a positive side, i.e. as an advantage it would mean that bringing these different views together would give a bigger picture and thus more solutions to a problem and thus more creativity. Hence a higher performance.

But how do we get team members to work well together ?

To get team members to work well, these should understand that they come from different cultures and have different views and expectations, Another important issue here is language as well;  although we all speak English, we may actually not understand each other because of accents or vocabulary that we use, and examples could be that a member of a team is perceived as rude because he/ she is crude in what he/ she says. But this may be due to the lack of vocabulary or because he/she is not as comfortable with his/ her English as you may be! It is the same with humour, although humour is used to relax atmosphere it can be perceived as offensive by someone else if they do not understand sarcasm or your joke and vice-versa.

So when working face to face with colleagues from a different culture always listen actively, if you do not understand what they mean or say just ask for clarifications, if you feel that you are treated in a certain way, raise the issue and discuss it to not let frustration disturb the team dynamic; and from time to time get together and talk about each other´s cultures to understand one another better !

When you work virtually, the difference will be when you work with relationship based cultures such as Asian or Latin cultures. Today we communicate a lot by phone and Skype, but sometimes it is easier for us to just pick up the phone and call our colleagues at the other end of the world. Now experience has shown that for relationship based cultures, phone calls are not enough to build a relationship amongst team members. To build trust and relationships, it is best to use Skype or Video conferencing which will create a face to face relationship and probably enhance the team performance. Just try it out and see how powerful it can be and how quick it can change the relationships between team members and thus increase performance and bond within the team.

Also do feel free to contact us to know more or if you have tips to share, please do comment !

Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cultural Consciousness Workshop, 22nd June 2013 in London

Dear All,

It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the launch of our Cultural Consciousness workshop in London on Saturday 22nd June 2013 from 9:30 to 16:30.

FlyerCulturalConsciousness

Click here to view the Flyer

Cultural Consciousness: communicate effectively across cultures

  • Do you work internationally with international clients, in intercultural teams?
  • Do you coach international leaders?

We communicate daily with people from different cultures whether it is in our work or in our private life. And sometimes we may find it hard to communicate and do business with them.

Why is that?

We are shaped by our own culture in how perceive the world and how we communicate. We all see the world through different lenses and the Cultural Consciousness workshop is here to help you identify how you perceive the world and provide you with the tools that will enable you to succeed in the global arena.

Why Cultural Consciousness?

“Real adaptation comes from within and starts with understanding who we are”

Being culturally conscious means understanding where we come from and how we see the world. Identifying who we are gives us the opportunity to open our mind to differences and thus be more open to different perspectives and ways of communicating.

This workshop will give you practical tools that will enable you to excel in international business and help reduce your stress and anxieties towards the unknown enabling you to become more comfortable around different cultures and succeed in your business or in your team.

“Amazing experience, super useful, full of practical tools,

never thought I could get so much in just one day“

(Marie Claire, expat Singapore)

The workshop will take place on Saturday 22nd June 2013 from 9:30 to 16:30 in London at the following venue:

Evolve Wellness Center

10 Kendrick Mews

SW7 3HG London (closest tube station is South Kensington)

The fee for this one day workshop will be GBP 130.

There is a special offer if you come with a colleague:  GBP 200 for two.

Book your place now as there are limited spaces – contact us at info@be-a-chameleon.com to book your space

Categories: Intercultural relations, Workshop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being culturally aware is not only about others but also about ourself !

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When working internationally, managers and organizations focus on their business partners and clients. What are their needs, their demands, and how can these be met ?

Meeting the customer´s demand and providing excellent customer service is of utmost importance in today´s global and competitive business world.

Being aware of cultural differences through leading intercultural teams, working with business partners from other countries and doing business on a global scale is of the essence. Many organizations are aware of the need to be culturally aware, however do they take the right steps to achieve this awareness ?

Many businesses and mostly SMEs fail on the international scene as they lack the know how and awareness, training their managers and leaders would be a strategic advantage that could secure them further business abroad.

Business failure starts already with the communication: how do the managers communicate with their business partners and customers ? Then it is about customs: what is important for my customer ? Relationship or business ? How do I introduce myself ? How do I speak about business if we are at a social event ? How should I interact ? What kind of question may I ask ?

And when working in intercultural teams: how do I need to communicate with my fellow team members ? What is acceptable behaviour ? How do I provide feedback to my colleagues ? How can I bring my team to work more harmoniously to increase its performance ?

As we can see all these questions are about behaviour and how we should behave towards others. When doing business internationally it is of course the most important thing and this is what is taught in cultural awareness trainings: how to do business internationally.

An aspect which we, at be-a-chameleon, take into consideration, is the individual taking the cultural awareness training (which we call Cultural Consciousness). Additionally to providing him/her with know how about how to adapt and communicate better across cultures, we look at how he/she perceives these changes and tools and how these affect him/her. In our training we make sure that you learn to adapt without changing who you are, we give you tools and know how, however before that we seek to understand how you perceive the world and what your values and beliefs are because we are aware that certain situations may bring you out of your comfort zone. So understanding what your comfort zone is, we can help you go beyond it and make sure that in your next intercultural experiences you will be more comfortable and confident.

We will be providing a Cultural Consciousness training mid-June 2013 in London, please feel free to contact us for further details at info@be-a-chameleon.com, and watch this space as we will post more information this month.

 

 

Categories: Culture Shock, Workshop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where is respect today ?

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Have you ever taken the bus, tube, train or plane and asked yourself why people were pushing you around and talking loudly on the telephone ? Unfortunately, these situations do not only take place in these circumstances but take place in every aspect of our lives ! The tradition or value of respecting others is unfortunately fading away, the trend today is to think of one´s self and not others, whether it s when you travel or when you are at work, you have colleagues, or bosses that will do anything in their power to keep you from moving forward. This is not only based on respect, it is based on the search for achieving a higher purpose, however at which cost ?

We live in a world that grows very fast, we learn to live as a community, respect elderly people, the hierarchy and learn how to live and communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I have chosen to give an example of the workplace as i have spoken to many young professionals in the past months to understand how the marketplace was and understand how these young individuals succeed in the workplace.

I have thus spoken to many graduates and post graduates that have started working and their fear is that they do not see how they can succeed in their job as their bosses keep them on a tight rope and do not wish for them to take on projects on their own. Of course, when you start a new job, there is a learning phase, where you need to be tutored and taught the ropes, however it is 6 months to a year later that these young people do not know how to talk to their bosses and show that they want to succeed and climb the hierarchical ladder. Some say that because their bosses are afraid that they may take their place they are mobbed or kept to the strict minimum of independence and others say that they feel the need to look for another job because they do not see potential for growth in the company they work for.

Of course these are examples which are negative, however these negative examples also show that unfortunately the impact this treatment has is the word of mouth that the companies these young individuals work for are not good, and we know that if there is no satisfaction, the impact is much stronger and people speak more about it. This doesn´t only happen in the workplace, it happens also in the recruiting process where young professionals feel rejected or not taken seriously when they do not get any response from the companies they have applied for. Of course we know that there are lots of applicants for jobs, these young professionals are aware of this and also have a good feedback or memory of companies that have taken the time to write to them saying that they were not considered or that they were being kept in the database should any other jobs come up.

These little things make a big difference, young professionals feel like they mean something, and they will speak highly of companies that have given them feedback, which on the long run will have a very good impact on the company image.

I clustered these examples, travel and workplace as respect because it seems like the concept of living in a community is being lost, we only care about ourselves and do not see the impact we have on others and what this may cause on the long run. These are easy steps to take, show people that you are interested in them, that you value their opinion, their professionalism; show when you take the train or the bus or the plane that you are concerned about the welfare of others and keep your communication to a minimum or if you have to talk then use a lower tone, people will appreciate it. Last but not all, respecting others in every aspect of your life will bring positive things to you, recognition, people may look up to you and keeping your word will become a part of who you are.

Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to communicate effectively Online !

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Have you ever felt like you were spending time writing up an email, and when you received an answer from your counterpart a few days (if not weeks) later, you realized that what you asked for or expected was not understood ?

Well hopefully this article will help you understand online etiquette and how to communicate more effectively online. Please also feel free to share and comment if you have other tips to share with the community or if you have examples !

You can communicate online with different tools such as email, voice over IP, web conferencing and online platforms. In today´s world everything or almost everything is done via the web, we shop, we chat, we meet people, we train and we connect. There are however certain things that we need to keep in mind when we communicate online that are just as important as when we would communicate face-to-face.

Netiquette:

  • The netiquette states that when receiving an email, the response time should be no longer than 24 hours (especially if it is business related).
  • Be polite, clear, precise, straight to the point in your communication
  • Avoid using upper case writing as this would come across to the receiver of your email as SCREAMING !

Now this is the netiquette, we all know that some of these rules are followed and others are not, we cannot control when our counterpart will answer and if he answers late he surely has his/her reasons (lots of work, working on different projects, very busy). My advice would be that if you see that within a week you have not been answered your query send a gentle reminder email.

Emails

  • When we send emails we tend especially in the UK and the US to address them by using the first name of our counterpart. We have to be very careful as in certain cultures this could be perceived as very informal (for example France, Germany, Spain). Write your first email by using the last name of the person you are contacting. If you see that when the person writes you back using your first name, you can continue communicating on that basis.
  • Also good to know is that in certain cultures as for example Germany, titles are very important and are a sign of status so if the person you are writing to is a Professor or a Doctor, write Dear Pr. XXX or Dear Dr. XXX this will be highly valued.
  • Make sure that when you write your first email to a client you stay very formal, write short, precise and clear sentences, be clear in your message and what you offer, doing this will enable your client to better understand what it is you are selling or what it is you offer him/her.
  • Be patient with regards to answers, the netiquette says 24 hours however you may receive an answer days or weeks later, do not take it personally, just like you your client may be busy and have his reasons for not answering straight away.
  • When you receive an email, make sure you read it entirely and that you get the point of it, the person on the other side may get frustrated if you ask questions about what is already mentioned in his/her email, so dedicate all your attention to what is written in the mail.
  • If you then have further questions or need clarifications then write them clearly.
  • When you work in a big organisation, hierarchy may be very important, especially if you are on a big project so make sure to put your manager on CC (copy) so that if there is any problem he/she can step in.
  • If you are dealing with colleagues or clients from another culture make sure you use current vocabulary, so that they can understand what you are writing, avoid difficult words or phrases, keep it smart and simple, that is the best way to communicate effectively !

Building relationships:

Many cultures function with relationships, for example Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, so remember that it is not easy to build relationships via the web. Face-to-face connection in these cultures is important because your business partner will want to know you, what you do, and how you look like. A good tip would be to phone them or video conference with them to start building up a relationship. This is of course if your company has restricted travel budgets and you cannot meet your partner. Make sure that you keep in touch with them on a regular basis so that you can nurture the relationship.

Voice over IP and video conferencing:

Remember that English is spoken widely across the globe, however it is not necessarily the mother tongue or first language of your partner, so make sure you speak clearly, use simple words, make short sentences and get your point across as efficiently as possible. Also if you have any accents take them into account, speak slowly, articulate and avoid mumbling.

These are a few tips that could make a difference in the way you communicate, remember to be clear and precise, be patient, if you feel angry at something that has been written or said, bite your tongue or your fingers before answering as the rule number 1 is to stay polite and respectful to the person you are communicating with.

Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

shaking heads, slurping one´s soup – different manners

We all have our own ways of doing things: eating, working, acknowledging our counterpart when he is talking and also our own way of seeing the world

Most of the time, our way of doing things is not shared by others and we have to accept it, because how we do things is not universal and we need to be complacent and understanding towards other ways and view points.

I have two examples of faux pas which I have experienced working in South East Asia.

The first faux pas I came across was whilst we were having a team meeting to discuss our strategy. The team was composed of a Singaporean, an Indian, an Indonesian (who studied in the UK), myself and our German boss. The meeting went very smoothly and all points had been discussed, when all of a sudden, my boss asked my Indian colleague to stop shaking his head.

Now, we are aware that people have different ways of showing they agree or that they are following a topic, and that was how my Indian colleague used to do it and for that matter most Indians. Nobody said a word, we all looked at each other and left the room without any comments as we were truly shocked by what had just happened !

What happened exactly ? There is no real explanation really, we are not in my boss´s head and we don´t know what came through his mind when he addressed my Indian colleague. What might be was that it distracted him and so he lost his patience. There are surely many explanations, but still, we have to remember that what we say can be very intrusive, disrespectful and hurting to others !

Another faux pas I experienced was whilst having dinner with our South East Asian counterparts, we were having dinner and eating soup when one of our counterpart made some noise whilst eating his soup. All my expat friends just stared at him with their mouths wide open with surprise. They didn´t say a thing but the way they looked at our counterpart and their body language led him to stop eating. In Asian cultures what just happened was that my friends made this man lose his face. No wonder we didn´t hear from him anymore.

In Asia the concept of Face is very important, you have to give, earn and receive face. It is a very strong concept and you can do a lot of harm if you make someone lose face and it can cost you your business or friendship.

Therefore, please be aware that we all do things differently, there is no right or wrong way, just differences that we need to accept and not react upon so strongly. Why not try to keep it for ourself and not hurt anybody in the process.

Categories: Faux pas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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