“It’s hard to ensure all team members feel included when so many of them work remotely and overseas.”
It may seem incredible that companies still can’t get on top of organizational culture in an economy and business world as diverse as ours is, and where people from around the world work together, side by side, and remotely. Unfortunately, thi
The danger of poor corporate culture management
Differences in corporate culture have been at the heart of many of the biggest merger failures. Think about DaimlerChrysler, and you’ll understand why. Declared a merger of equals when announced in the late 1990s, the clash of corporate culture proved too much.
American management was unable to get a grip on the more formal German corporate culture, operational culture, and organizational culture. Employees in America became one of the most dissatisfied workforces in memory. An in-house joke circulated at the time: “How do you pronounce DaimlerChrysler?” The answer was, “Daimler: the Chrysler is silent.”
In 2007, the merger finally imploded after years of losses (amounting to billions of dollars) and Chrysler was sold to Cerberus for just $6 billion.
Do you want difficulties in managing corporate culture to undermine your future, the way it destroyed Chrysler?
The problems of misunderstanding the cultural diversity of globally-based co-workers
There have been many studies and surveys examining corporate culture of different workers and countries. Throughout all of them, there has been one constant underlying theme discovered: American management often doesn’t understand the cultural differences between their workers. As much as 50% of basic human values stem from culture, and where differences in corporate culture – the ingrained ‘ways of getting things done’ – are not understood, a business will experience deep and possibly divisive issues.
Do your managers understand that employees from different cultures have different behaviors, thoughts, assumptions, and values to their American colleagues?
If you don’t understand your people, how can you expect to get the best from them? When a manager doesn’t have the skills to interact with people from a diverse background, including diversity of corporate culture, the benefits of diversity will be eliminated. The business will be left with:
- A workforce that is mistrusting of each other
- Conflicts between individuals and teams
- A destructive underlying feeling of ‘them and us’
- Lost opportunities through inability to work proactively together
- Decreased productivity
Can your organization afford to experience the same problems that DaimlerChrysler’s organizational culture experienced?
Understand individual corporate culture to benefit from cultural diversity
When management accesses the advantages of cultural diversity in the workplace, the benefits don’t begin and end with happier employees. Of course, workplace relationships promote better collaboration, faster progress to solutions when problem solving, and reduce employee turnover; but they also provide other business benefits, including:
- Diverse workforces are better at being creative and innovative
- A broad range of skills and experience enables a more global service to be provided
- When employees are at ease with each other, they are comfortable to express opinions and ideas that can be used by management to foster business strategy, enabling customers’ needs to be met more effectively
- Resistance to organizational change decreases, with the benefits seen immediately
[Find out how you can jumpstart change by clicking here]
When a manager becomes aware of how to harness the power of cultural diversity, the organization reaps the benefits of a workforce collaborating in harmony.
One easy thing to do now to better understand cultural diversity
There are plenty of ways for management to better understand the cultural diversity that they are expected to lead.
You may decide to vacation in places where you’ll be forced into contact with other cultures, perhaps even staying with a family from a completely different background. You could study a different culture, and integrate their customs and food into your daily routine for a week or two. Both of these methods will help you learn about different cultures, but one could be very expensive and both may have only a temporary effect. Understanding, accepting, and taking advantage of cultural diversity requires a similar rigorous approach as maintaining momentum during an organizational change.
Onboarding a new and more accepting approach to cultural diversity needs a consistent and constant strategy. While this requires a time commitment by management, just a few minutes a day could help transform how a manager regards employees with a different cultural backgrounds.
Ask all your managers to clear time in their calendars to review the daily business, social, political, sports and cultural news from the countries in which they do business, or from where their people have ancestral roots. This can be more easily achieved by subscribing to news services. With this growing base of cultural knowledge, encourage the manager to start conversations with co-workers in other countries to discuss discovered topics.
Ensure your managers take advantage of your organization’s cultural diversity
Cultural diversity is a feature of every fast-growing business today. The potential benefits are huge, but unless management understands cultural diversity and knows how to take advantage of that diversity, then your employee diversity strategy will fail in its goals.
With a culturally diverse team all pulling in the same direction, an organization can approach the whole world of business with real confidence. Corporate culture doesn’t have to be a drag on growth. With management acceptance of their workforce’s cultural diversity, new markets and improved revenue in existing foreign markets become an achievable goal of business strategies.
Help your managers prepare for the challenges of cultural diversity they face today, so your organization can take full advantage of the opportunities they are currently missing. With culturally-aware managers, your organization will no longer be one of those that prompt co-workers from other countries to complain about U.S. based managers who are unaware − or even disinterested − in their culture. And that will be reflected in the bottom line.
Understanding Cultures of Co-Workers is a free downloadable tool that helps managers to put in place strategies to ensure they benefit from the cultural diversity of their people. If you want those benefits to flow through your entire organization, download Understanding Cultures of Co-Workers today, and Forward Focus will follow up with further information, strategies, and tips that can be put into place immediately to produce results just as quickly.