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Cross-Cultural Senior Management in Asia

May 21, 2008
The booming Asian economy is drawing an increasing amount of business process outsourcing. Many US companies are seeking help to improve communications and team efficiency through intercultural management training. It may confuse you to realize that the challenges you counter are not unique to your team and the offshore group.

Avoidable misunderstandings over the significance of deadlines and relationship building are blown up not only by distance and time zone; they are also embedded in the core values of our different societies. Building an understanding of the core values via cross-cultural training assists to escape from problems before they culminate into project-defeating disasters. This is where cross-cultural senior management finds significance. This article will provide you with some much needed guidance regarding this.

Asian economy is an amalgam of various cultures. As is the case cross-cultural senior management is an indispensable part of the management sector in Asia. Unlike technical knowledge, intercultural understanding and skill are not something you can attain just by going through a "how-to" manual or getting familiar with a simple formula.

How people's cultural backgrounds affect their character and way of thinking is quite clear in some ways and quite subtle in others. Appearance, names, language, accents, artifacts and shared worlds of reference are displayed at once. However, Intangibles - approaches towards time, commitments, success, status, authority, accountability, planning, negotiation, rewards, teamwork, personal boundaries and social interactions - are not visible all of a sudden.

To be efficient as a global IT manager, you need to be informed of the major underlying cultural values that have direct or indirect impact on business relations and organizational functioning. The skills you require are those "soft" skills, which are, in fact, considerably tougher to attain than the "hard" technical skills. Some managers are lucky to have innate strength in these fields, most require education and training, a few are so adamant that it would be better to exclude them of major global management responsibilities.

Cross-cultural senior management focuses on utilizing one's ability to triumph in global management. If you are contemplating to appoint someone to a key position cross cultural training is a must. This kind of training is required to make your multicultural teams combine more effectively or when you are seeking to configure an appropriate management style for your global company.

Cross-cultural senior management defines some crucial skills for successful management in a culturally diverse environment. You must pay close attention to developing and sustaining these winning skills.

First of all you must have a good understanding of your own cultural values and how they influence your attitudes and behaviors. You must try to always stay aware on global trends and events. Acquiring a fair knowledge about cultural behaviors in a non-judgmental way will be a definite help.

You have to acclimatize appreciably to a wide spectrum of operational practices, business styles, and social ambiences. Making people of distinct backgrounds feel at ease, recognized and valued for their perspectives will be very good idea.

For successful cross-cultural senior management, it is necessary to make a sincere effort to get people from contrasting backgrounds to work together effectively as unified teams. Expressing yourself persuasively while genuinely listening what others are conveying to you is another advisable skill.

You have to lead in ways that trigger employees to embrace responsibility and initiative, collaborate, and contribute the creativity of their differences. You have to show integrity, openness, reliable behavior, and candor in all your interpersonal exchanges.

You should be inclined to work with other people's requirements and timetables, keeping your attention on long-term goals, and not spoiling your goodwill capital on achieving immediate results. Always remember that cross-cultural senior management and success are two sides of the same coin.
About the Author
Hunt Partners is a high end Executive Search firm providing search and human capital solutions for global and regional clients who require discreet search of top management and board level positions.
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