The Cultural Synergist - Issue 11 December 2008

Welcome to The Cultural Synergist

Hi ,

Welcome to the Cultural Synergies December 2008 newsletter.

Kind regards

The Cultural Synergies Team
December 2008

2008 Reflections

As we enter the last month of 2008, it is at this time that many of us look back over the year that we have had in its entirety.  I believe that it is important reframe our negative moments and to think about them as learning opportunities. It helps us to keep our perspective.

2008 at Cultural Synergies has been a good one.  Admittedly the global economic crisis has had an impact, but overall we have successfully managed to navigate our way through some tough times with a bit of creativity, a positive mindset and quite a bit of good luck. I would like to share with you some of the highlights and observations that I have made over the past 12 months.

This has been a year, particularly toward the end of 2008, of cost cutting.  My response to cost cutting has always been that it is easy to cut costs but the greater challenge lies in exploring new ways of doing business, finding new revenue streams and discovering new ways of continuing growth through innovation and creativity. 

Cultural Synergies has been involved in some talent development and leadership programmes this year.  These organisations have taken the long-term view in what were often tough times and committed themselves to working with their current talent pool.  Their efforts have been rewarded and have stood both the organizations and the individuals in good stead. A recent survey conducted by one of our clients found that the individuals who were involved within the �Global Leadership Development Programme� had lower attrition rates and moved up the ranks at a much faster pace.  Further, these individuals had a higher degree of cultural intelligence and greater strategic thinking when working across borders.

Another of our clients worked with us to create a program for their knowledge transfer teams.  Previous experiences with knowledge transfer teams between the U.K and U.S subsidiaries with India had proven to be long, costly, drawn out processes that were constantly being met with challenges and failed to meet timelines.  The projects had poor attrition rates and were plagued with issues, many of them cultural.

Cultural Synergies came in on the project when Australia had its first knowledge transfer team from India.  We worked with the client and created systems and processes that supported local and Indian teams.  It proved to be a very successful knowledge transfer program and the methodology is now employed for all of the knowledge transfer programs. The attrition rate for the U.S was 20%, the U.K. 22% and Australia 3%. It is important to realise that with all knowledge transfer teams, the processes already exist and it is usually the �human interface� that causes issues.

In 2008 Cultural Synergies extended its reach.  We created a �Train the Trainer� program, licensed some innovative programmes, created new products and gained some new clients spread around the globe who are involved in industries that are new to us.  

As I reflect on the �not so great moments� of the year I can see that they offered opportunities to do things differently. These times forced us out of our comfort zone and compelled us to be more creative in our thinking and take some risks. So overall, I think 2008 has been a pretty good year.

From all of us at Cultural Synergies we would like to thank you for all of your support in 2008.  We wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year and look forward to your continued support in 2009. 

 Recommended Book
Inspiring Tomorrow's Leaders Today.  Breaking Down Generational Barriers at Work. By Avril Henry (2007). Messenger Publishing.

Henry is one of Australia�s most respected commentators on generational leadership. This is a good read, lots of �how to� tips and information. 

Henry talks about the recent shift in demographics and values over the past 35 years.  She  stresses that if we can understand what makes generations tick then we can use this knowledge in all facets of our lives. She includes discussions in areas such as leadership, loyalty, career and career management, and learning and development and explores the diversity that exists across the generations.

Although it is very Australia-centric, the topics covered such as how to attract, retain and grow the various generations are quite varied and can be applicable across many countries and industries.   


'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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About Cultural Synergies
Cultural Synergies' mission is to improve individual and organisational performance when interacting with people across the globe. 

Take advantage of our years of international experience. All our services are tailored to individual client situations.

Visit our website for more information. 
Phone: +61 3 9654 6161 | Mobile: +61 (0) 419 999 292 | Fax: +61 3 9650 7350

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