What I am really asking you, is how tolerant are you of uncertainty? The reality is that some people perceive the uncertain elements of cross cultural situations as being threatening, ‘not knowing’ makes them uncomfortable. Communicating and collaborating with people who are culturally diverse often makes you feel this way.
Uncertainty triggers us, this mindset makes it next to impossible to connect or build trust which is critical. The problem is that once our inner alarm bells are ringing, we are practically incapable of overriding our protective primitive brain and tap into our more logical, trust building and empathic executive one.
Unless, we recognise what is causing our reaction and we have learned strategies to help us reset, the consequences can include failure to land new business, unproductive teams or budget overruns.
- Have you ever found yourself working with people whose approach to business feels alien to you? Regardless of which cultural dimension you or they are on, the emotional reaction is universal.
- When I am uncertain I can’t perform well
When I am uncertain I feel vulnerable and unable to build trust
When I am uncertain I make mistakes or bad decisions
Perhaps this sounds more like the realms of therapy? Well, it is. In fact, tapping into psychology helps us prepare and prevent misunderstanding and mistrust getting in the way of your international success.
Cultural differences cause us anxiety. We find ourselves facing behaviours and norms that are different to ours. It’s perfectly natural to feel and react in this way. The problem is that when the success of your project or company’s future depends on you getting it right the anxiety levels you experience impact your chances of you doing just that.
70% of International ventures fail because of cultural differences
Some people are more comfortable with uncertainty either because it’s their personality, they have the experience from the school of hard knocks or they have prepared.
Being prepared for the experience of uncertainty, planning for setbacks, experimenting with new attitudes and choosing to be in the path of cultural differences helps you accelerate learning and strengthen those business critical cross-cultural competencies.