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If You’re a New Global Manager, This is For You

The new global business environment makes all managers global managers.

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BY Melissa Lamson - 06 Sep 2018

If You're a New Global Manager, This is For You

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Most managers already know that cultural differences are important when they're dealing with business partners from other countries. They understand that the current business environment is increasingly global.

But what today's managers don't fully get is that they must learn and use global management skills to address these cultural differences--in every interaction they have. And, what they may not see is that they are all already working as "new global managers" and being judged on how well they are meeting increasingly complicated demands.

 

Let's talk about the terms "culture" and "cultural differences."

 

As I say in my new book, "The New Global Manager," "culture" is the name we give to the norms, perceptions, and values that drive our behavior and that we use to evaluate the behavior of other people. We use the term "cultural differences" to refer to everything from corporate cultures, to differences in religious beliefs, gender orientations, countries of origin, ethnicity-- and so much more.

When everyone has the same norms, perceptions, and values, interacting with others and doing business is pretty straightforward and easy. But things get more complicated when the people with whom you do business, who are your customers, employees, colleagues, or bosses, have different norms, perceptions, and values.

 

Why is this?

 

It goes back to something rooted in human nature. We all make choices based on our cultures; all of the influences that have made us who we are. But the people we interact with evaluate our action based on their own cultures, which can create confusion, misunderstanding, and potential problems, at times. Especially in a global business environment.

 

Welcome to the new global business environment.

 

As I wrote in a recent article, we conduct business today in an almost borderless, boundary-free marketplace, made of multiple countries, cultures, languages, ethnicities and time zones. Technology makes it possible for us to enjoy near seamless connectivity to people in geographic locations far removed from our home offices.

We work with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds--a reality that is only projected to increase in the years to come. U.S. demographics are changing as well. According to the Pew Research Center, immigrants are driving overall workforce growth in the U.S. Today, and more American managers work for companies that are headquartered outside the United States.

Most of us are doing business in a new global environment, which means we need to be able to work successfully with teams of people from varying locations, levels of experience--and cultural backgrounds.

The pressure on managers is intense. Managers must be able to work and react quickly to this rapidly changing global environment with the challenges inherent in digitalization, new markets, and diverse cultural backgrounds.

Whether you are a new global manager or someone who has worked in management for the past twenty years, today you need to be able to quickly make sense of situations where cultural differences add levels of complication. You must learn to recognize, assess, react and solve complex management situation where diverse styles, personalities, and cultures are in play.

 

Sound daunting? It doesn't have to be.

 

I understand the dynamics at play and want to assure you that there are practical resources available to help you learn to be an effective global manager and work well with culturally diverse customers, teams, colleagues, and bosses. I use a broad range of tools and frameworks that I recommend highly, which help my clients, manage these challenges effectively.

In my new book, "The New Global Manager," I introduce some of those including OAR, a multi-purpose tool to help you become aware of situations that aren't working, or have suddenly changed, ask questions to help you analyze the situation, and react appropriately.

The acronym, OAR, stands for Observe, Ask Questions, React. Using OAR, when someone behaves in a manner that catches you off guard, instead of responding immediately, you stop and observe the situation.

And this is just one tool. There are many other tools and frameworks you can use to your advantage in your work as a manager working in a global marketplace. We live in exciting times, and that means that you'll be facing challenges that your predecessors may not have had to address. But you can do it.

I wrote "The New Global Manager" as a daily resource for managers, to provide practical tools and frameworks like OAR and 4DCulture, and strategies and tips for successfully managing abroad and at home, face-to-face and virtually. Whether you are a new manager or a manager with twenty years of experience, this is the comprehensive resource you've been waiting for.

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