Holding a meeting of people from different cultures

In one of the People and Business Management workshops that I facilitate we ask participants to outline how they would approach their first meeting as the manager of a multicultural team. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the imagination and inclusiveness of the responses.

This article in the Harvard Business Review provides useful guidance. Here’s an excerpt:

Do

  • Study up on the variations that exist among cultures and how those differences play out in the workplace
  • Create protocols and establish norms so that your colleagues understand how meetings will run
  • Incentivize colleagues to step outside their cultural comfort zones by institutionalizing rewards around what you’re trying to motivate people to do

Don’t

  • Be hung up on how people from certain cultures are supposed to act—remember, people are capable of adapting and adjusting their cultural default
  • Force a perfect dynamic in meetings—solicit colleagues’ opinions in other venues and encourage people to provide feedback in different ways
  • Overlook the importance of team bonding—encourage colleagues to get to know each other outside of meetings so that cultural differences won’t seem as glaring

 

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Recent report on world’s largest bilateral trading relationship

The United States and Canada maintain the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship, one that has been strengthened over the past two decades by the approval of two major free trade agreements.

Although commercial disputes may not be quite as prominent now as they have been in the past, the two countries in recent years have engaged in difficult negotiations over items in several trade sectors, including natural resources, agricultural commodities, and intellectual property rights. (…) However, these disputes affect but a small percentage of the total goods and services exchanged.

From a recent report on Canada-U.S. Relations from the Congressional Research Service.

What changed in the last 200 years

Powerful visuals are indeed worth a thousand words…


A bi-cultural executive

She might have three selves, but she also has two different styles. The French one, which loves these abstract ideas of freedom and the future. And the American one, with its management clichés of teamwork and listening. The two make an odd mixture.

Perhaps she herself is a miniature version of GE in France, which she says takes 20 per cent of its culture from the US and 80 per cent from France.

via FT.com

Three maps on international business

geo.worldbank.org

A mashup of Google Maps with World Bank data that gives the reader a visual entry point to browse our projects, news, statistics and public information center by country.

Business Planet

It maps online databases of the World Bank Group that support private sector-led growth and financial market development in developing countries. It features more than 20 maps that cover over 190 economies across issues like How easy it is to do business, How often firms are expected to bribe tax inspectors, and much more.

Building a Better World

A way to track the UN’s Millenium Development Goals.

The world is NOT flat

Friedman notwithstanding:

“Strategies that presume complete global integration tend to place far too much emphasis on international standardization and scalar expansion,” Ghemawat argues. While identifying similarities from one place to the next is essential, effective cross-border strategies will take careful stock of differences as well. (HBS Working Knowledge)

Global integrity Report

Many of the world’s national governments have been plagued by charges of corruption and pervasive malfeasance over the past few decades. As a result, a number of international organizations have been created to provide information on corruption and governance trends for the policy community and the general public.

With funding from the World Bank, the Global Integrity organization produces the Global Integrity Report, which features a number of “integrity indicators”, which analyze openness, governance, and anti-corruption mechanisms for a wide range of countries. Visitors to their site can read the Report in its entirety here, and also browse through a number of media resources designed for journalists. Additionally, visitors can also learn more about the organization’s staff members and their various methodologies for compiling reports. (Internet Scout report)