Tag Archives: Cultural Awareness

Bridging the Cultural Gap

This month I invite you to view a short video interview of me with AHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute) where I discuss what individuals can do to become more culturally aware and communicate more effectively. I will be speaking about developing culturally intelligent leaders at AHRI’s National Convention on 26 August. Registration is now open. […]

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Meeting the Challenges of Cultural Diversity

Last week I was a panelist for the discussion “Building Cultural Capability Networks” to further explore findings from Cracking the Cultural Ceiling: Future Proofing Your Business in the Asian Century research. The Diversity Council of Australia surveyed over 300 leaders and emerging leaders from Asian cultural backgrounds working in Australia. One of the challenges that I came away […]

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Cultural Intelligence for Entering New Markets

IKEA, a Swedish furnishings company that began in 1943, is now operating in over 46 different countries and territories; having recently opened one of their largest stores in Seoul, South Korea. It is a great example of a culturally intelligent company that continues to adjust, flex and learn from and acknowledge the cultural specific differences […]

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Cultural Chameleons

We all know people who are what I term ‘cultural chameleons’, they adjust to pretty much any new cultural environment quickly and with ease. Whether they’re traveling in a work or leisure capacity, or even if they’re in their home environment mixing with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, they know how to communicate at a […]

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Communication Technology and Culture

How does culture impact the effectiveness of communication platforms and apps? One our Cultural Synergies staff members shared with me a recent article in BRW that reviewed a new app called BLRT. Her interest was piqued since it is an app that has been created with one of the key design requirements being the ability […]

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Cultural Intelligence – Sharing Stories

It is useful to take a moment to reflect on the CQ success stories and consider what the key principle and techniques were that led to some positive outcomes; and to consider those not so successful outcomes and learn from them. Rather than always reinventing the wheel we would do well to examine how other […]

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Knowing When to Speak and When to Listen

I read an interesting article of an experience shared by Erin Meyer in the Harvard Business Review ‘Cultural Coaching – Knowing when to shut-up.  Erin was working as a cultural coach, her assignment was to prepare a French couple for an expat posting in China with the support of Bo Chen, a Chinese country expert. […]

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Consciousness and Cultural Intelligence


A friend recommended an interesting TrueTube clip that I thought I would share.  It is an excerpt from an address to a graduating class by David Foster Wallace titled ‘This is Water‘.

The message of ‘This is Water’ is that the most obvious realities are the hardest to see and talk about. There are parts of our lives that we do everyday that are routine and tedious.  We don’t see or talk about these realities, such as grocery shopping and travelling to and from work; they are a part of our unconscious default setting.

The point is that we choose what we pay attention to.  Our natural default setting is to pay attention to our own needs and desires, often only paying attention to the barriers and frustrations that may get in our way when we are conducting our tedious tasks.

‘This is Water’ highlights that we do have the power to view our situations in different ways, that we can think outside of ourselves and consider the perspectives of others.  It takes will and effort, it isn’t easy and sometimes you don’t want to do it or simply can’t do it.

An important component of cultural Intelligence is the ability to pay attention to our behaviours, beliefs and attitudes and consider alternative perspectives.  It is about recognizing when we do revert back to our default setting and making changes to our attitudes and behaviours.

Learning how to think and what requires our attention is within our power.  We can change our ways of thinking.  We have the freedom to decide what is meaningful and what isn’t and we have the freedom to change our attitudes and behaviours in different cultural settings and interactions.