Check out LCW's free 8-minute eLearning module to learn more about the Cultural Iceberg.
Culture is often dismissed as the exotic or perhaps interesting behaviors exhibited by people who live in a distant country and speak a different language. The reality is that culture is much deeper, broader and closer. Navigating Cultures™ is LCW's signature solution for building skills to work more successfully and sustainably with cultural differences.
Culture shapes our behaviors and preferences. Culture also consists of deeply held beliefs about what is right, appropriate, and acceptable and what is wrong, inappropriate and unacceptable. It is important to recognize that culture is learned – it is neither something we are born with nor something that we create on our own. Culture is passed from generation to generation, in the words and actions of parents, teachers, and fellow community members. In organizations, it is shaped by founding members and long-time leadership, and is continually reinforced in the halls, in communications, in business practices, and during employee orientation and training sessions.
Culture is so deeply rooted inside our minds and hearts that we often cannot imagine a world in which our values - the way we define right and wrong - could possibly be thought of any other way. Conflict arises when two cultures with very different, or sometimes just mildly different, worldviews interact. This is just as true for national cultures as corporate cultures.
Cultures arise anytime we find ourselves as part of a group that shares an ideal or experience. While national culture, based on the country in which we grew up and went to school, is often the strongest and broadest of our cultures, we always have other cultures that play a role in how we see the world around us. We mentioned organizational culture, which arises out of the expectations that are set by management and leadership. Religious culture is molded by our sacred texts and the teachings of religious leaders. Local culture is instilled in us based on our location: those who grew up on the seaside are likely to value certain things that others who grew up in the mountains or in an inland urban environment would.
Not all of our cultures impact our professional lives in the same way. Certain cultures we belong to may only manifest themselves in certain specific circumstances, but it is nearly impossible to separate them completely from our whole professional self. For this very reason, LCW embeds culture at the heart of all of its services. Navigating cultures is imperative to being successful, to building better relationships, to communicating effectively with others who are different than ourselves, and sometimes to simply finding a way to get along.
To discover your own cultures (and yes, like everyone else in the world, you have cultural behaviors and beliefs that are very visible to others, even if you do not see them in yourself as easily), you need to begin to ask yourself what groups you are a part of, what those groups value, and how that has impacted the choices (and perhaps the biases?) you exercise in every day in life.
Culture is a central topic on our blog at www.NavigatingCultures.com/blog/. For example, there you can find:
Understanding culture is important and necessary for anyone who wishes to build success in today’s growingly diverse world.
It’s a multicultural world…are you ready?