July 2018

Recognizing and Reconciling Cultural Differences: A New Team Collaboration Program by Fons Trompenaars

Recently inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame 2017, he is a well-respected speaker and author.

National and regional cultures have many implications on how people interact across the globe and therefore on business. For example, cultural differences have an enormous influence on work relationships, on the way people trust each other and how they communicate among themselves, hence their impact on a company’s financial results.  In this new program, Fons Trompenaars shares a method that he has developed to recognize these cultural differences, respect the different points of view involved, reconcile the dilemmas that result from the tensions between different value orientations (cultures) and realize the business benefits of making these reconciliations and embedding a mindset across the organization that helps it to continuously improve in this area. 

Successfully changing corporate culture 

Corporate culture is an instrument that should be used by every organization to implement its strategy, whether the company is dealing with a merger and acquisition, a strategic transition or the process of becoming international. If an organization does not adapt its culture accordingly or fails to do so correctly, even if it has the best strategy and the best people, the odds of failing are very high. Every change should therefore be accompanied by a cleverly thought out cultural change process. In this program, Fons Trompenaars shares a 5-step method to define the path to success, from diagnosing the challenges to be met, identifying the changes needed to meet them and implementing the appropriate concrete actions and behaviors to make that change happen.

Fons Trompenaars 

Fons Trompenaars is an internationally renowned Dutch author and consultant in the field of cross-cultural communication. He has published 13 books on all areas of culture and business, including the bestseller “Riding the Waves of Culture.” Listed regularly in the past decade as one of the world’s most influential living management thinkers, he has been awarded the International Professional Practice Area Research Award by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). Recently inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame 2017, he is a well respected speaker and author.

Working across cultures 

Dealing with the challenge of intercultural collaboration
Working across different cultures is quite a challenge. In this Session, discover Fons Trompenaars’ 4-step method to meet this challenge and deal with it successfully. 

Improving your collaboration with colleagues from different cultures
This tool sheet will help you identify strategies to improve the way you work with people from different cultures and will enable you to implement these strategies effectively. 

Analyzing international differences in key aspects of culture
This document brings together statistics provided by Trompenaars Hampden -Turner on key cultural aspects of countries around the world. Its purpose is to help you understand the cultural issues lying behind work-related or communication problems you are experiencing now or may experience in the future. 

Doing business with people from different cultures
Fons Trompenaars shares some tips on how to do business with people from different cultures. 

Understanding the deeper layers of culture
Culture is a multi-layered and therefore complex matter. Fons Trompenaars explains Ed Schein’s model that compares culture to an onion, and shares some tips to avoid misunderstanding and stereotyping your colleagues. 

Navigating between universalism and particularism
Not all cultures deal with rules in the same way. Fons Trompenaars explains the differences between universalist and particularist cultures and shares some tips on how to reconcile the 2 types. 

The clash between group-focused and individual-focused cultures
Some cultures are well known for putting the individual first, whereas other cultures tend to put the group first. This can cause some tension when the 2 cultures interact. Fons Trompenaars reveals how to recognise such cultures and gives an insight into how to reconcile the differences. 

Dealing with emotions across cultures
One of the key challenges that intercultural teams need to resolve is how different cultures manage their emotions. Some cultures are overly expressive while others make a lot of effort not to show their emotions at all. Discover Fons Trompenaars’ thoughts on how to manage the potential clashes between these opposing types. 

Specific vs diffuse cultures
Different cultures have different approaches to privacy. Some cultures are quick to share things that are considered very private in other cultures. To understand these differences, Fons Trompenaars has defined 2 types of culture, the specific and the diffuse, which he illustrates with the powerful metaphor of the peach and the coconut. 

Achieved vs ascribed cultures 
One key cultural differentiator is how people earn their status. Is it for what they do or for who they are? The first category corresponds to what Fons Trompennars calls an “achieved” culture and the second to an “ascribed” culture. In this video you will learn how to recognise the characteristics of each type and how to make them work together in the context of intercultural collaboration. One of the solutions Fons has identified for this is “servant leadership”. Let’s see what this is and why it works. 

The sequential vs synchronic dilemma
Fons Trompenaars analyses the difference between monochronic and polychronic cultures, that is, cultures that carry out actions in sequence and those that carry them out in parallel in order to save time. Let’s see why the Japanese concept of “just in time” might be an effective solution to reconcile these different approaches within an intercultural team. 

“Take control” vs “go with the flow” cultures
One key source of problems within intercultural teams is when a culture that believes that you should control your environment meets head-on a culture that thinks that you should adapt to the environment instead. Let’s find out how Fons Trompenaars suggests you can overcome this dilemma. 

How can you reconcile a cultural dilemma?
In this video, Fons Trompenaars uses the story of a problem he encountered with a Korean company to describe a method that he developed to solve intercultural dilemmas. 

How to implement solutions to reconcile cultural differences
Dealing with intercultural problems involves going through 4 different steps to solve them: you need to recognise the different approaches of the cultures involved, respect these differences, find a solution to reconcile the approaches and, lastly, implement the solution effectively. Fons Trompenaars provides expert guidance in the best way to carry out this final step and ensure that cultural differences are fully reconciled. 

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