There’s a great English expression “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I’ve found this to be a practical starting point when working with clients to build their intercultural competence. Why? Because not every problem comes back to cultural differences! So many other factors play a part in relationships. The first step is to recognize is this actually a difference in culture? And if yes, how am I different to this culture?
How can the Intercultural Awareness Profiler (IAP) and the 4 R’s help you succeed globally?
This is where the IAP and the 4Rs model add tangible value. Developed by Dr Fons Trompenaars, the IAP does a great job of explaining what these steps need to look like, and why “knowing” that Chinese culture value the group’s needs over the individual’s needs doesn’t necessarily translate into performance, commitment and results. During an interview with Dr Trompenaars we asked him to briefly explain the 4Rs model in his own words, and how he saw the Intercultural Awareness Profile tool within the context of the 4Rs.
Can you recognize that you are dealing with differences in cultures? How do you as an individual differ from those cultures? For example, ss the different approach to decision making you’re struggling with a cultural dilemma? Or a question of personality? And most importantly – what is the dilemma?
Can you genuinely respect that the differing approaches are not better or worse – just a different way of operating. Do you respect that they are equally valid and legitimate? For example, is coming to decisions through a consensus as valid as coming to decisions through the “expert” deciding, or by the “boss” deciding?
Now that you’ve recognized the difference and genuinely respect them how do you reconcile the dilemma facing you? What do you do? How can you come to an agreement? How are you going to make decisions?
How will you take what is working and make it part of your day to day modus operandi? Will you forge a team culture that is transcultural (bridges all cultures)?
Interview with Dr Trompenaars