Recently I rediscovered a short presentation by Derek Sivers, best known as the founder of CD Baby. Derek gave his talk at one of the renowned TED conferences. I’ve watched this two-and-a-half-minute clip several times over the past years. Even though this video has nothing to do with the cultural differences between Germany and the United States, it has everything to do with them.
What I find so compelling about it is that Sivers manages to challenge monocultural mindsets and to unmask the lack of cultural intelligence in a simple and entertaining, yet charming way. We all make wrong assumptions when interacting with different cultures. That’s why it is important that we are aware of our biases. If we don’t anticipate the cultural gap we’ll have a hard time preparing for it.
It’s a basic cultural competency: Never assume that the norms you consider “normal” are “normal” elsewhere.
Go ahead, watch Derek’s TED talk. Watch it over and over again – let’s say once a quarter. It’s that good.
Christian is a cultural trainer, coach, and consultant with extensive experience in working with multinational companies and especially in developing global leaders. He is the President and CEO of The Culture Mastery, LLC, where he leads a team of dedicated training, destination services, and expat support specialists. Christian works with global organizations (or those who are going global) to help their employees overcome cultural differences. Typically he only uses the word “normal” in quotation marks and he is an advocate for helping people understand the why of behaviors – not just the dos & don’ts. Most just call him “The Culture Guy”. Find out more about Christian here and follow him on Twitter. You can also see him, listen to him, and experience his work – just invite him!