Lisa Blackshaw Howell

March 22, 2021

Is it time that you, your colleagues and business divisions and teams were more culturally aware and less ‘black and white’?

Black and Grey horses

A year later and who woud have thought on the UK paniversary of Covid  that we would still be in a pandemic. With the challenges that this still inevitably brings and no glimmer of a complete end in sight during a still uncertain post COVID world….

However, out of the wake of the devastating pandemic management and lessons learned from crisis management leaving businesses battling future health threats as well as their leaders navigating their organisations through recovery and coping with ongoing uncertain futures and exhausted resources. Many studies carried out during this period however have also noted some benefits for all organisations around the globe in some interesting ways (WHO, 2021).  

Emerging Trends

How will we work? How will leaders adapt to a new reality? What opportunities exist for innovation, transformation and cross cultural connection? Reiche and Neeley’s research (2021) looking at the challenging nuances of cross-cultural workplaces noted accelerated geographical distancing within companies and this enabling them to gain a new edge for those based both locally and virtually.

Key Findings to Global Acceleration During the Pandemic

  • Reduced social distance – so much of the world was so eager to do this producing downward deference:

“We find that some leaders enacted downward deference when they recognized that they had less expertise, networks, and influence relative to their local subordinates. This manifested in …  attempts to reduce social distance, which involved seeking connection, earning trust, and participating in adjacent collaboration with local subordinates” (Reiche, 2020) 

  • Transferring influence on all levels within organisations was also noticed:

“… yielding to subordinates’ expertise by privileging their judgement, transferring influence on them, and conforming to their local hierarchical expectations.” (Reiche, 2020)

  • Speedier cross cultural bonding on projects than had been seen previously in a pre pandemic world :

“Cross cultural barriers in Europe, USA and Asia were noted to be disipated from consultancy projects undertaken in 20 years of business change work undertaken in pre pandemic Programmes’ (Blackshaw-Howell, 2021)

Benefits Noted

  • Business transformation
  • Break down of traditional silos
  • Shared knowledge and working jointly across specialities
  • Debunking of teleworking myths i.e., innovation not hindered
  • Pivotal progress in building a more sustainable workforce; teams; organisations, environments and healthier people as a result. (Blackshaw-Howell; WHO, 2021).

At BHC we offer a personalised opportunity for leaders / business owners to work with cross cultural facilitators and experts around the globe linked to up-to-date research of changing business and world cultures and practices. This enables them and their teams to learn and capitalise on pivoting to thrive and achieve powerful, sustained success individually, in their teams and their organisations globally to utilise cross cultural differences as competitive edge amongst others flailing during continued uncertainty. Difference can be leveraged incrementally and powerfully.

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