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Global leadership, cross-cultural

– There is something wrong with the way people think about them. It’s not that they are bad managers… but the stupid mistakes they make! It ruins reputation of the whole company! – said the consultant from a PR agency. – Can you imagine him meeting a Prime Minister for lunch and eating salad with his hand? I don’t care that this is best manners in India! …but who can just say that to the CEO? We need YOU to work with them. – this sounded to be an exciting beginning of the project. Indeed, people around complained about the company Board, all of its members being foreigners to Poland. This might have been a result of the dramatic changes the company has been experiencing over the recent years… but there was also an intercultural component of the picture. The PR agency needed extra support to work on the positive image of the company – and of the Board members.

These people will not like to be exposed to criticism in public, we thought, and offered what we though was best here: a diagnosis of intercultural effectiveness with Intercultural Readiness Check, delivered as individual sessions for each member of the board. This created the opportunity to explore everyone’s strengths in the international setting, and identify possible blind spots. Meeting a consultant in a private phone call was also a good setup to ask more detailed questions about some habits or perceptions of people in Poland.

Apart from individual support, this highly experienced and notable team needed also some specific knowledge of Polish culture, especially in the traditional business branch they represented. Our intercultural trainer delivered a workshop on building positive image and relationships in Polish culture, some members of the board received private training to fit their personal agenda, issues, and to ensure privacy in the exchange with the culture expert. We were lucky to be appreciated and trusted with further trainings for other leadership groups in the company. As we observe, many members of the Board adjusted their habits to positively influence the perceptions in the Polish environment.

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