The Cultural Synergist - Issue 10 November 2008

Welcome to The Cultural Synergist

Hi ,

Welcome to the Cultural Synergies November 2008 newsletter.

Kind regards

The Cultural Synergies Team
November 2008

Our Interconnected World

I have had a busy couple of months.  The projects that I have been working on have taken me into various parts of Europe, Asia and the U.S.  It has been an interesting time to travel around the regions given the current world economic crisis. I have had first hand opportunities to observe via media, speak to individuals and observe organizations, on just how the credit crisis is being received and perceived and how it is being reflected at personal, professional and organizational levels and within the wider community.

Through engaging in discussions and reading newspapers, watching television etc I have noticed that there are different degrees to which some countries seem to be receiving and dealing with the results of the credit crisis.   In the U.S and Europe, understandably, much of the conversation and current focus is very much on the latest Wall Street happenings.  People are feeling very nervous about their futures and are taking immediate steps to pull back on spending and travel.  While in parts of Asia such as Malaysia and India, of course it is being reported on and is a topic of conversation, but it doesn�t seem to have the same momentum and urgency as it has in Europe and the U.S.  It has caused me to reflect on a number of things.

Firstly, I have been struck by just how interconnected the world really is. We are living in times where the pertinent words �When America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold" are our reality.  The economic climate, poverty, climate change, healthcare issues such as AIDS and sanitation, are all global issues.  The world can no longer consider these challenges as country specific, the planet is interconnected.  We need to acknowledge this on an individual and organisational level and it needs to be reflected in all facets of our lives.  We need to be conscious that our decisions and actions in one part of the world will more than likely have an impact on other parts of the world.  For example when sending components of our businesses off shore to be produced or replicated, we need to consider the impact that it will have both locally and overseas.  Questions need to be asked, such as what will be the impact on the current organizational structure locally and overseas? What are the implications locally and overseas in regards to labour laws, pay structures, the economic and natural environments, etc? 

Another example of global interconnectedness has been the U.S. elections. The level of world-wide interest in the U.S. Presidential elections throughout the campaign was both staggering and I think, overwhelmingly indicative of how the global community consider the health of the U.S. economy in relation to the health of the world economy.  Arguably, of course dependent on where your political loyalties lie, we have seen first hand the worldwide results of decisions and actions that were made and undertaken by the Bush Administration.   I believe that the world is coming to the realization that we are in fact a global community and that we need to change our current local mindsets to become global mindsets. 

The victory for the Democrats was I believe, the beginning of the dawning of a new era where there will be change and the development of some much needed global solutions.  I feel very optimistic for the future.  Obama�s win does matter to the world; he has become associated as an agent for change.  The success of Obama�s win was met with resounding joy across the globe.  I was at the Asian Diversity and Inclusion Conference in Hong Kong watching his acceptance speech with people who had tears streaming down their faces.  As many of us saw footage and read articles about how countries such as Indonesia and Africa were rejoicing in Obama�s win, it reinforced to me his links with these countries and that this healthy global interconnectedness will undoubtedly make for greater understanding and greater synergy in solving some of our global issues.  I continue to be ever amazed and in awe of the strength that people demonstrate in times of difficulty and believe that given the desire for change globally, the resilience, drive and determination that is being displayed by our global community the world is embarking on new beginnings.

If you would like to read the interview with Tom in the Virginblue Voyeur Magazine click here:

New Discussion Paper

Our latest discussion paper - 'Women Leading Across Borders'.  How different is it for women leading across borders?  What are some strategies that can assist women managing and working across cultures?  Follow this link and find out...

 Recommended Book
Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! By Robert H. Schuller (1984). New York: Bantam Books.

An oldie but a goodie!  I picked this book up during the recession in the late 80�s early 90�s and it made a significant difference to me then and I picked it up again 6 weeks ago!

Schuller questions what is the difference between those who succeed in tough times and those who do not, what is it that makes them different?  He explores the concept of �Possibility Thinking�. � Possibility Thinking� is about positive self-image, how to turn negatives into positives.  It is the application of �Possibility Thinking� that leads to commitment, determination, dreaming and the ability to take risks.

�Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do� offers some great insight and suggestions of how to evaluate new ideas, how to put problems into a healthy perspective, leadership principles and how to avoid burnout because tough people don�t give up in the face of adversity!


'The Invisible Elephant - Exploring Cultural Awareness', 2nd Edition by Tom Verghese

Many aspects of culture are invisible, yet culture has an enormous impact on our lives. Like an Invisible Elephant, if ignored these aspects can lead to misunderstanding, stress and conflict. Alternatively, if attention is given to the Invisible Elephant, it can enhance productivity, improve teamwork and create more joy in our lives.

Book testimonial by Asma Ghabshi, Learning And Development Manager, Shell Oman: 

"The Invisible Elephant made my perspective of my national culture in comparison to my personal culture more visible. It has given me a deep insight into dealing with people of different cultural backgrounds."

'Pillars of Growth - Strategies for Leading Sustainable Growth' - Book by Tom Verghese, Kerry Larkan, Steven Howard and Brad Tonini

Written with the business leaders and entrepreneurs of Asia in mind, 'Pillars of Growth' provides a road map to assist you in thinking through four critical concerns that impact the sustainable growth of every business.

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