Saturday, 24 May 2008

Culture Club

One of the things I really like about working for a multi national organisation is that it gives me the chance to meet people from all over the world.

Last week I had the pleasure of spending time with people from the UK, Spain, Holland, Belgium, France and Singapore. It was a real cultural mix and I have to say that at times it was fascinating to observe how people interacted with each other.

Much of our training activity is now taking place on a global basis and this provides some interesting challenges from a Learning and Development perspective.

What's the good stuff?

  • People are motivated to make time to attend. They like the idea of meeting people from other cultures (and identifying future holiday home swap buddies....)
  • They represent a fantastic networking opportunity. Those evenings late at the bar can pay dividends at any time in the future.
  • The learning environment is enhanced in so many ways by having a mix of cultures together. Last week we were exploring emotional intelligence - what better an environment in which to do this?
  • The cost of international training is little different to running something in the UK. Flights are cheap and venue costs generally less on mainland Europe.

....and some challenges?

  • I have to spend more time thinking about the pace of the course. You have to start very slow mainly due to language.....and then speed it up.
  • You have to help the cultures mix together at the start. The Dutch and the British tend to click straight away. The French and the Spanish tend to take a little longer...
  • I do struggle with the carbon footprint of such activity. Flying 15 people around certainly isn't green.....

I know a lot of you guys work for large corporates so please let me know your views on getting cultures together - what's good and what are the challenges.........?

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