There are many different factors that a company has to consider when moving into a foreign market. Dealing with international stakeholders, and preparing a team to do so successfully, can be a challenging task. The most important, but sometimes the most commonly overlooked factor for international business success is cultural awareness.
So what is cultural awareness?
There is no official definition for this term, but cultural awareness refers to the ability to take one’s self out of the normal way of thinking and experiencing, to appreciate and learn the different cultural values and customs of a foreign country. What may be normal and acceptable to us, may be unusual or unacceptable in another culture. When we are communicating with people from a different culture we need to be aware of their beliefs and customs, and respect them.
Why is cultural awareness important for international business success?
International businesses should always handle overseas dealings with cultural sensitivity to avoid offence to foreign business colleagues, clients or suppliers. Being culturally aware will also avoid the expense of miscommunications. All in all, becoming culturally aware will allow your business to handle international relations with respect and understanding, resulting in effective cross cultural management and successful business dealings.
How do I make my team more culturally aware?
Cultural awareness training, also known as cross cultural training, allows your employees the chance to learn and understand the varied customs and cultures of the country you are looking to do business in. Experienced trainers can come to the comfort of your own offices to teach employees in a familiar and relaxed environment.
International business dealings can be challenging, but with the support of cross cultural training your team will improve their cultural awareness, helping your company to be successful further afield.