It is widely recognized that training individuals in intercultural competencies in order to compete more effectively in the global marketplace is now a necessity, not a luxury. Today not only is the workforce in many countries increasingly diverse, but a company’s key supply chains and customer bases are often all over the world. In our complex global environment, misunderstanding and miscommunication can cause potential loss of business opportunities and profits.
An important component of developing global managers is overseas career experience. However, the transition to a new country is not always easy, even for experienced managers who have managed diversity at home. Failure in an overseas assignment is often due to unsuccessful or incomplete integration into the new culture. Therefore an initial investment of time and energy to deeply understand and adapt to the new environment may pay big dividends in terms of future individual and organizational achievement and success.
This training emphasizes a holistic perspective to cross-cultural communication, by examining factors that play a key role, such as personal perception and cultural values within the larger framework of intercultural competency. Utilizing theoretical models, games, and exercises in an interactive and lively training approach, participants will clearly see how cultural misunderstandings and miscommunication often occur in work settings, and practice improving their cross-cultural communication patterns.
This training program has the following course objectives:
1. To better understand Chinese culture through common habits and customs in daily life
2. To gain deeper understanding of Chinese and Western cultural values, and how these influence behavior in both professional and social situations
3. To develop cross-cultural communication awareness and skills which will help participants develop more effective social and working relationships with colleagues, customers and friends in China
On Day One, the focus is on introducing participants to the Chinese work and social environment and to the relationship of perception and cultural values to behavior in the workplace.
We begin by getting to know the participants. How would they describe themselves from a cultural perspective? What were their first impressions of China, and of Chinese people? No doubt entry into a new culture is accompanied by a certain degree of stress. Therefore, the first step is to acknowledge and validate the participants’ personal experience so far and provide essential information for survival in order that they feel less like a visitor and more like a native. The pace is light and lively, including an interactive game from which participants will quickly learn some essential background information and interesting trivia about China.
After participants feel a connection with the trainers and the group, we explore what is culture and the nature of human perception, using a mix of mini-lectures and individual or small group exercises. Even many people who have traveled for business or pleasure don’t realize that everything we think and do is influenced by our cultural programming, which we are mostly unaware of until we meet with others who don’t think and act as we do. Usually people have humorous stories of “culture clash” to share, which are often disorienting. Because the concept of “culture clash” is so critical to understanding and adapting to a new culture, we run a simulation game (best played with 9 or more participants) in which the culture clash dynamics are highlighted and debriefed in detail.
Participants are psychologically grounded by closely examining their own cultural background and values as a foundation and lens for understanding other cultures and peoples. Using an unique Cultural Values card deck, participants can clearly compare their own with others’ values, which provides for a lively discussion of the impact of culture on values. We then introduce a classic research-based conceptual framework which provides a lens to understanding all cultures, “in general.” Using this framework, participants will learn the key set of cultural values that most impact the workplace. This exercise in cultural contrasts creates a solid basis for cross-cultural understanding, the first step to intercultural competency. The first day ends with an examination of how one group of people may see themselves as opposed to how they are perceived by others, which further deepens participants’ ability to observe self and others in a cross-cultural context.
Day Two focuses on examining Chinese core values and cross-cultural communication dynamics in depth and applying concepts learned to practical work situations.
In the morning, we will examine Chinese core values as a window to understanding Chinese thought and behavior. Using mini case studies participants will understand how Chinese values are expressed and operate in the workplace. Seemingly inexplicable behavior can be better understood and responded to when values are seen in a larger cultural context. However, in actuality, participants will not be only observers of culture: they must interact with Chinese colleagues, customers and friends in both professional and social settings. Therefore the afternoon is devoted to learning how to best interact in teams, meetings, and other professional and social settings -- and avoid the common communication mistakes made that may create misunderstanding and conflict.
We end Day Two with a look at what is intercultural competency – using a model from which we can see at a glance where we currently stand and what is ahead with respect to our cross-cultural skills development process. This gives us a roadmap for self-assessment and for areas of improvement.
Last but not least, an inevitable part of developing intercultural competency is the management of culture shock – how to recognize the symptoms and finding successful coping strategies so that it does not become overwhelming or debilitating. In fact, this step may be critical to the success of one’s transition. We end Day Two with a written evaluation of the training and trainers.
Warm-up: Cultural Introductions
Game: Chinese Society & Culture
Survival Q & A
Introduction to Culture, Perceptions and Values
Game: Culture Clash
What is Culture?
Exercise: Exploring Personal Values
Warm-up: Cross-Cultural Time Expressions
The Cultural Values Continuum
Cultural Differences at Work
Self Perception vs. Group Perceptions
Homework: Observation Exercise
Warm-Up: Review Observation Assignment
Chinese Core Values in Depth
Exercise: Mini-Case Studies and Dialogues
A Cross-Cultural Communication Model
Cross-Cultural Communication: Common Pitfalls
Assignment: Observation Notes
Introduction to Working with Chinese Colleagues
Working with Teams
Giving and Receiving Feedback: Do’s and Don’ts
How Do I Know When I Am Culturally Competent?
An Intercultural Competency Model
Symptoms of Culture Shock
Lynn King, M.A. is a Senior Trainer and Consultant, specializing in cross-cultural interventions and organizational effectiveness.
Since 1989, her broad range of professional experience includes change management, cross-cultural/diversity training, team building, conflict management, leadership development, coaching, and organization development research in the People’s Republic of China. She is conversationally fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Major Training Account:
Recently in Asia,Lynn provided training in Diversity,Creativity, and Innovation，Living and Working in Shanghai, and Communication skills and Presentation Skills to executives and managers.She has worked with multinationals such as Gemplus, Amersham/General Electric,Danone,Mitsubishi Chemical, Alcatel, Proctor & Gamble, Roche, Ubisoft, and many others.
In Silicon Valley,Lynn reported directly to the CEO and worked with the executive team as Director of Human Resources and Organization Development for RAE Systems, Inc. and as Manager of Organizational Learning and Development for Rapid5 Networks, Inc. In an earlier USAID project, she was Director of Training for a summer “Peace Camp”which successfully brought together youth from Georgia and Abkhazia to learn conflict management skills.
Lynn has traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, Academically, she spent one year at Beijing University studying Mandarin, received her BA in Art & East Asian Studies from Princeton University, her MA in Organization Development from The Fielding Institute.
In addition,she studied Advanced Intercultural Communication with Al J. Kraemer, a pioneer in the field of cross-cultural awareness training and the inventor of the now popular "critical incident" training methodology.
Organization and Systems Development from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland
Human Resource Management from the University of New Mexico
Leadership Development from Santa Fe Leadership Institute
World Work Process Oriented Psychology from the Process Work Center of Portland