Technology has made the world a very small place, and allowed for international connections to be made in an instant. C-level executives have a great deal to gain from being able to bridge these international gaps, and in an article for TechRepublic, Mary Shacklett elaborates on the simple ways to do so.
The first barrier to break through may seem like the most obvious: language. Taking steps to learn someone’s native language does wonders for improving the relationship, and it can help enhance your own abilities. The ability to learn new languages is something that Americans struggle with. Pew Research concluded that a mere 25 percent of American adults confirm they can speak another language. Of this group, only 43 percent are willing to assert that they can do so very well. This contrasts greatly to the rest of the world. Increased numbers of organizations are offering foreign language studies to their executives as incentives to bridge this barrier.
Every country has its very own unique set of systems and regulations. Take it upon yourself to be familiar with what you are working with. Accounting systems and regulatory requirements in different countries vary drastically. Additionally, commercial software has to be researched for vendor support.
Another huge variance in differing countries is culture and societal norms. If you are working in another country you should be mindful of what is deemed appropriate so you do not offend anyone. Religious beliefs may be present, such as the Islamic customs in the Middle East that are so prominent. In Japan, if you receive a business card you are expected to thoroughly review it before you throw it in a pocket, as a sign of respect. Another important cultural difference is dining practices. Know who you are working with and what is important to them.
If you want a real competitive advantage, you will take these differences seriously. Work these expectations into job descriptions and be sure that your international edge is up to par. You can read the original article here: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-be-an-globally-minded-it-executive/