Webinar  Report - "Managing across cultures" with Mr. Raymond Madden

We live in an environment that is culturally so diverse. If you take a step back and look, we deal with each person very differently. Is it a conscious choice that we make? Or has it been conditioned by the response of the other person, and their background, most importantly, their cultural background?
This is the reason we were intrigued by the webinar topic “Managing across cultures”. This webinar what Conducted by the well reputed Institute of Leadership & Management on the 10th of November 2020. It's a great place to find many interesting webinars on leadership, Offered by various prominent faces. It is also an icing that some of the webinars are free to attend. (This one was too.)

This was a short 30-minute webinar, and yet crisp and gripping. It was enough time to give us an insight into an intriguing topic. The webinar was handled by Mr. Raymond Madden, whose expertise lies in learning and leadership development, with an emphasis on personal learning and how it is linked to business. With him having spent his life in various countries, his webinar was filled with valuable information with some footnotes that touch his life experiences.

Mr. Madden spoke about integrating cultural intelligence: CQ, along side our decision making to become efficient leaders. He brought up an interesting analogy of an onion: one must absorb and learn. To be an efficient leader, one must have an open-mindset and understand the similarities and differences that exist in the society.

One of the examples quoted to support this idea of ​​diversity is business branding. It is surprising as to how some big names in the business were eclipsed while creating the brand names. Well, did you know Pepsi in Mandarin (in China) meant bringing people back from the dead? Well, of course a Chinese wouldn't want to drink it. And hence, the brand wasn't a big hit in the Chinese market.

It was also interesting to learn about Geert Hofstede's principles. The most emphasized principle was power distribution. One has to break the barrier between the boss and the subordinate. In many cultures, the relationship is not considered equal. There is hesitation and approachability issues. A leader must often consider that in some cultures, a “yes” could be a “maybe”. The second is individualism vs collectivism, while some might be good team players, they might lack individuality. It is important to accommodate the differences and embrace the similarities. The third would be prepped for uncertainty and be able to avoid them. The fourth is to treat men and women as equals. While again there is gender discrimination in many cultures, it is important to reinforce the fact that humans are equal.

While cultures are different and preach different values, they solve problems to some extent at least! But one can also argue about the dilemmas they bring in. Mr. Madden repeatedly mentioned that Asia in general is a victim to many stereotyping.

Mr. Madden goes to explain different studies that categorized the response of people from different cultural backgrounds and explained how cultural values ​​affect decision making. It was rather interesting to see the trend. There was also a mention of cultural stereotyping. It is a fact that values ​​and behaviors are typical to a culture. Whether they are valuable or not is questionable. Yes, they reduce uncertainty but not if used to stereotype an individual or a community.

In conclusion, to be an effective leader, one has to mix up various communication methods and make sure that the crew gets the message and feels that there is a healthy environment to work. One has to be aware and wary of stereotyping. And not to forget to be patient!

Although many thoughts shared by Mr. Madden were simple, we do not often pay much heed to them in daily life. It is important to analyze them and make a conscious change. We must be more inclusive and sensitive to cultural differences. While it is certainly inevitable to avoid these cultural differences, one can build a good cultural quotient to work a way to deal with them!

On the whole, it was an insightful webinar, presented in a well structured manner and in good British English. You can check for similar ones on: https://www.institutelm.com

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