Regardless of industry, location or even years of experience, people go through a rough time when they have to close deals or manage projects in an environment with vast cultural differences. Moreover, cross-cultural learning poses great challenges because problems are so diverse according to the background of the person working in a new culture and those representing the new culture, and also according to the nature of the project, the resources available and so on. While they both fall under the label “cross-cultural challenge”, trying to meet deadlines in a laid-back, unhurried country in the Middle East or getting one’s bearings in the personal networking environment in the Far East can be totally different experiences.
Yet, if a cross-cultural business consultant like myself wants to deliver practical results, we have to find certain patterns across the diverse experiences. This is the condition not only for comparing the observations of experts in different places and times, but also for creating tools for improving cross-cultural competence.