Start by asking the right sorts of questions
We often start with the “Six ‘C’” model in order to get some bearings. A good description of the ‘C’s can be found in the article, “The ‘Six C’s’ Model for Building a Culture of Innovation. The Six ‘C’s as presented there are: Collaborative, Customer Centered, Context Rich, Curious, Confidence Building, and Challenging.
The ICI framework is important from the start: orienting your company on the global stage requires some insights into these six characteristics from an inter-cultural perspective, and some idea of how you can leverage them for your journey. Before you can even engage with the external implications, there will be some internal considerations to examine.
For example, how do different members of an multi-national or multi-cultural company define and view the six hallmarks? Conceptions of the Six 'C's won’t be consistent inter-culturally; and it will be necessary to map out what alignment will look like within your company, and how it will be achieved.
Following the analysis of a company’s corporate culture, we typically work through five steps to help set a company on its journey toward realizing a Global DNA.
1. Define your core
In part 1, we discussed how your company’s true core is determined by behaviors (rather than by a published list of values, for example). We go through an alignment process to make sure that the core is really solidly defined in terms of behavior; and to make sure the core is transferable to other geographies and other cultures.
If we do have a set of desired values, do our core behaviors — or behavioral charter of the business — allow us to live out our values? Can we do this all over the world without compromise? Do our behaviors result in the values we wish to project, in most cases, in most locations? (If not, then we need to look more closely at our behaviors.)
Ideally, that means our core charter can be a much shorter document, with core behaviors that are truly culturally transferable. We can then add local practices to that core behavioural charter as applicable. Necessarily, the head office will need to provide some inter-cultural consulting or coaching, in order to keep local executives and leaders true to the core essence of the business, while at the same time allowing some inter-cultural flexibility to develop the finer details of the behavioral charter at the local level.
2. Contextualize your communication
The second step is to examine how well we talk about our products and our services. So, we have a certain set of products or services: How do we talk about them? What is our go-to market strategy? And does that go-to market strategy strongly resonate with our local clients?
Asking these questions is necessary because, quite often, the go-to market strategy is copied and pasted from one geography to another. When it is copied and pasted, people wonder why they aren't selling products or services, or why they aren't connecting with potential customers.
3. Adjust systems and processes locally
The third step is to ask ourselves, “How do we need to tweak our systems and processes to cater for the local market?” This affects both our clientele and our local staff. Determine which are the core, essential, uncompromisable processes that we won't change (because that is part of who we are); and which are the processes and systems that we can change or tweak in order to make them useable and efficient in the local context?
4. Develop local competencies and skills
In the fourth step we ask, “What competencies and skills do we need from our staff in that local context? Typically, we talk about the passions and attitudes we need from our staff in that local context, as well as the more obvious technical skills and people skills.
These four together are used to start asking questions about competencies: passions, attitudes, technical skills, and inter-personal skills. When we determine that, we can begin to develop specialized local teams with the competencies and expertise that we need for our company to thrive in that local context.
5. Develop the ears to listen to different customers in different places
The fifth element relates to how well we interface with our customers in different parts of the world. How do we create conversations in different markets which allow us to listen to our customers effectively? And as a result of what we hear, how do we gain customers and improve our interface or customer service? With new data and knowledge in hand, do our systems and processes allow us to tweak our products and services at a local level?
This is glimpse into the journey that our experience and methodology helps companies embark upon as they transition from merely surviving to thriving in a global world. Contact us to learn more about how KnowledgeWorkx can help you develop Inter-Cultural Intelligence in your organization. You can also start your culture learning journey from our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: from surviving to thriving in the global space.