Are we speaking the same language?

Australian style
Posted under: Executive Coaching From the Blog 28th of March, 2014

Global commerce necessitates working across cultural and national boundaries. Increasingly Asia is more relevant to Australia, economically, culturally, education, partnerships.

British linguist Richard D. Lewis, in his best-selling book, “When Cultures Collide,” says that “Determining national characteristics is treading a minefield of inaccurate assessment and surprising exception. There is, however, such a thing as a national norm.” He writes: “By focusing on the cultural roots of national behavior, both in society and business, we can foresee and calculate with a surprising degree of accuracy how others will react to our plans for them, and we can make certain assumptions as to how they will approach us. A working knowledge of the basic traits of other cultures (as well as our own) will minimize unpleasant surprises (culture shock), give us insights in advance, and enable us to interact successfully with nationalities with whom we previously had difficulty.”

In his charts of leadership styles and cultural identities, he shows how cultures use language to negotiate, with wider shapes showing greater conversational range, obstacles marked in gray, and cultural traits noted as well.


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