The Cultural Synergist - Issue 16 May 2009

Welcome to The Cultural Synergist

Hi ,

Welcome to the Cultural Synergies May 2009 newsletter.

Kind regards

The Cultural Synergies Team
May 2009
Sourcing Across Cultures
As hopefully most of you are aware, earlier this year Cultural Synergies launched a new DVD and CD titled �Tom Verghese on Sourcing Across Cultures�.  The response from our new product has been very positive indeed and has highlighted to us the value that it can add to a range of different industries.  Some of the feedback has suggested that it offers some practical and critical thinking as well as some useful strategies of how to be more successful when sourcing from around the world. 

Given the encouraging responses, I thought that it would be a good idea to talk about some of the topics that I discuss and some of the strategies that can be useful when procuring across borders.  The DVD/CD is a live breakfast presentation that I gave in Melbourne to a group of Procurement specialists who represented a variety of organizations and industries.  The breakfast was organised by The Faculty.

Globalisation has flattened the world, opened up new customer bases, increased competition and has allowed organisations to source not only goods and services but also talent from around the world.  We are now competing for everything, with everyone from everywhere.  Organisations need to be mindful of the benefits and implications that culture can have on the effectiveness and success of business transactions in these new markets.  There is also the need to nurture and develop these relationships to ensure that they are sustainable over time.

A high level of cultural intelligence is imperative to successfully procuring across borders. For example pricing structures vary across the globe, from objective to subjective pricing and culturally aware individuals and teams should know how to navigate their way through these differences.  In countries such as Australia and the United States objective pricing is the norm, where as in areas such as Asia and parts of Eastern Europe for example pricing is subjective and highly dependent on often complex relationships and levels of trust.  

The significance of trust is examined as it influences pricing structures. Trust, particularly within high context cultures, is consistently at the core of successful deals.  Some of the questions posed in the DVD are: How do you establish trust in a high context culture?  How do you deal with conflict? How do you relate to people of the opposite gender?  How do you develop cultural agility?  How do you improve and expand your communication styles?  Throughout my discussion I refer to several examples and situations to illustrate my points and reinforce my suggested strategies.

Some of these strategies are:

  • Improve your communication skills; your conversational and conflict resolution skills are essential.
  • Pay attention to your intuition.  Stop, pause and raise the issue.  Disclosure will create openness and help to build trust.
  • Develop the mindset and the skill-set to be a �bridge� between cultures.
  • Educate yourself on how trust is established in that particular culture that you are dealing with.  Trust in some cultures will directly influence your entire interaction, the financial dealings and outcomes.
  • Suspend judgements and observe the various cultural nuances.

If you would like to find out more about �Tom Verghese Sourcing Across Cultures� or purchase a DVD or CD please go to our website


"If you are doing business around the world (and who isn�t these days) you need to make the acquaintance of Tom Verghese from Cultural Synergies. Tom spoke at a breakfast attended by procurement leaders; these are the people who world source. Tom had us on the edge of our seats.  He is a true info-tainer; not only does he know his stuff but he is a delight and a pleasure to listen to. Tom is up there with the absolute best of them".
Janie Sweeney
The Faculty

 Recommended Book
Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy. Dev Patnaik (2009) FT Press

When organizations reach outside of themselves and create an empathetic connection to other people, the effects can be profound on the individual and the company.  It can offer a sense of meaning and it is this sense of connection that can enable individuals to seek new opportunities and take risks that they might not otherwise take.

This book is packed with engaging stories about the efforts of various organizations to understand their customers through empathy.  Patnaik asks what is the critical difference between Nike and every other shoe company on the planet?  What has enabled Zildjian, a family business founded outside Istanbul, to thrive for almost 400 years? How does Harley Davidson use empathy to connect with their customers and employees?

Empathy helps to make good leaders into great leaders and at the end of the day human beings are wired to care.  Patnaik uses some great examples to drive home the benefits of organisational empathy that are relevant to a range of business people, educators and citizens especially in the current economic climate. 



'Raising Your Cultural IQ - New DVD and CD

'Raising Your Cultural IQ' explores the issues around culture, the challenges that culture can pose and provides some great strategies on how to leverage on cultural differences and similarities.

'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.

Visit our store at


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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