Cross-culture sensitization

01 Jul 2019

Does your organization need cross-culture sensitization?

Unaware of cross-culture sensitization

During my summer internship about two decades ago, I was having a discussion with my project guide on the Indian Consumer Durables market and the psyche of a typical Indian buyer.

He said, “Nishant, you are a Mumbaiker, are you not?

Of course!” I said.

Then you don’t know anything about India”, he replied smugly.

I was left gobsmacked. That’s when I realised what I was unaware of. Cross-culture sensitization.

A decade later, working in a large multinational IT company, my boss had a similar remark to make! In my defence, a mega metropolis like Mumbai has a very different culture from the rest of India. I didn’t know what I was lacking at that time, but now I realise it was all about cross-culture sensitization.

Cross-culture sensitization in organisations

In hindsight I don’t find this surprising, because one was not inclined to know more about one’s own culture. It was only years later when I started hosting the cross-culture sessions that I realised so much more about why we do the things we do! Thanks to that culture chip embedded in our DNA.

After our cross-culture sessions that shed light on the impact of Indian culture on our behaviour in the workplace, we have Indians coming across and thanking us for the insights. That was something we found quite surprising. On one hand, it is flattering to know we’ve disseminated valuable information, but the thought remains: why don’t we do anything about this blind spot? We, as Indians assume that we know everything that is there for us to know about ourselves. We couldn’t be more wrong.

With the global proliferation of social media, there is scarcely a person, start-up or organisation that has not interacted with other geographies. It is quite paradoxical that with this kind of increased interaction with everyone around the globe, we in India don’t feel the need to get more culturally sensitised. In our numerous interactions with corporate leaders, everyone says culture is important and leave it at that.

Cross-culture sensitisation: Know your working style

There is a very distinct ‘Indian way’ of working and unfortunately our global corporate counterparts realise this more than we do. Culture clings to our behaviour just like dust under a rug. Pick it up and have a look and you may discover something unexpected existing beneath.

As a leader, this is the best time to begin the cross-cultural sensitisation in your organization. It is equally relevant for your existing employees as also the thousands that come in fresh, bright-eyed and expectant about going global.

Cross-culture sensitization is the global need of the hour

We believe that the time has come when we need to look at ourselves, just to be ‘AWARE’ that ‘we are like this’. There is nothing wrong or right about the way we are or for that matter the person from another culture.  It’s about accepting that differences will exist. Once this awareness sets in, we can meet the other at a common ground where business efficiencies can be driven forth! The ground we call – the 3rd dimension!

For more information on our 3rd Dimension Workshop and session please connect with us by dropping me a mail on nishant@abacusyellow.com

Want to know more about cross-culture, read our older blogs:

Has Social Media impacted our Cultural DNA

What does a transition manager have to do with cross culture

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