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Topics: Communications Management, Ethics, Stakeholder Management
Working Cultures
Working in an airline Engineering Department based in Dubai, I've to deal with suppliers across the globe with vastly different working cultures. I find aerospace supplier PMs from Europe especially in my experience have distinctively confrontational and emotional approach compared to others. Appreciate if you can share any insights on how to deal with this working culture and approach for the success of the projects.
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Dear Mahadevan,

as a German and having observed other cultures I feel you are right. We can be seen blunt and aggressive and disrespectful at times, and also other country's cultures in Europe's North are similar in this respect. And if we come other places, we ourselves have to listen and try to understand other perspectives, beliefs, needs.

I personally love this, as it is so enriching. The world is a great diverse place and we as humans are at our best when we can leverage this diversity. It is not all different though, look out for common ground. All humans share values like honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility. And in the projects you are involved in you have - hopefully - a common goal, expertise, vision.

As a project manager in these multi cultural environments I always planned for a cultural awareness session upfront, 1-2 days. We worked with Hofstede's cultural differences and all became aware of these. Only then we could jointly agree on a team charter (how do we agree to behave), builld mutual respect and trust and exploit the differences (e.g. by building pairs with a cultural gap).

What you perceive as a challenge now, indeed is a huge opportunity for the project to succeed and for each individual to grow. Grasp it!
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1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:23 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Thank you for your insights, Thomas.
My work from long time ago is leading projects/programs where people of lot of countries across the globe are including. Adding to this teams are virtual. You have to search into the internet where you can find lot of information, mainly for sources like the BVA Bank, about how people that belongs to each country think and behaves. In my actual work place, we have a site that is managing by change management prople where we can find information about that.
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1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:25 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Thank you for the pointers, Sergio.
Hi Mahadevan,

Agree with Thomas as I have learnt so much from the International project course and I have learnt also those theories about cultures dimensions and how to tie my self and control my emotional to myself and for others.
I always recommend myself and my others to review such theories from time to time.

BR,
Mansour
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1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:26 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Thank you, Mansour.
Dear Mahadevan,

I find when a person is unsure of a culture or how to act in a different culture they will act out and become a more amplified version of themselves.

This is normally occurs if the person in question feels threaten by the environment, they are a bit like a "fish out of water".

This is the reason why when a new person joins a new team or arrives in a different country, they are taken out with the rest of a team into a sociable non work related environment so they can adjust and get to know the project team as individuals.

As a result they become more normalized to the environment, no longer feel threaten and their natural personality comes to the surface.

If you are experiencing this behavior amongst members of your team or dealing with other stakeholders in the project, I would try to breakdown the communication boundaries and social awkwardness so as to develop better relationships.

Daire
...
1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:28 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Great insights, thanks Daire.
Dear Mahadevan
Very interesting your question
Thanks for sharing
Working with people with different origins, different cultures and accepting, respecting and valuing differences is a path that has only recently been taken

In Mauritius they achieved this

In another perspective: What are 55 years of human history?

We have to be, in a way, multicultural evangelists
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1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:28 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Thanks for the pointers, Luis.
Remember Catherine Aird's quote: “If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.”
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1 reply by Mahadevan Sannasy
Mar 13, 2020 1:29 PM
Mahadevan Sannasy
...
Good one, Stephane. Thanks.
Mar 13, 2020 5:17 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
Dear Mahadevan,

as a German and having observed other cultures I feel you are right. We can be seen blunt and aggressive and disrespectful at times, and also other country's cultures in Europe's North are similar in this respect. And if we come other places, we ourselves have to listen and try to understand other perspectives, beliefs, needs.

I personally love this, as it is so enriching. The world is a great diverse place and we as humans are at our best when we can leverage this diversity. It is not all different though, look out for common ground. All humans share values like honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility. And in the projects you are involved in you have - hopefully - a common goal, expertise, vision.

As a project manager in these multi cultural environments I always planned for a cultural awareness session upfront, 1-2 days. We worked with Hofstede's cultural differences and all became aware of these. Only then we could jointly agree on a team charter (how do we agree to behave), builld mutual respect and trust and exploit the differences (e.g. by building pairs with a cultural gap).

What you perceive as a challenge now, indeed is a huge opportunity for the project to succeed and for each individual to grow. Grasp it!
Thank you for your insights, Thomas.
Mar 13, 2020 6:22 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
My work from long time ago is leading projects/programs where people of lot of countries across the globe are including. Adding to this teams are virtual. You have to search into the internet where you can find lot of information, mainly for sources like the BVA Bank, about how people that belongs to each country think and behaves. In my actual work place, we have a site that is managing by change management prople where we can find information about that.
Thank you for the pointers, Sergio.
...
1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Mar 13, 2020 3:52 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
...
You are welcome.
Mar 13, 2020 7:46 AM
Replying to MANSOUR THABET ALQUBATY
...
Hi Mahadevan,

Agree with Thomas as I have learnt so much from the International project course and I have learnt also those theories about cultures dimensions and how to tie my self and control my emotional to myself and for others.
I always recommend myself and my others to review such theories from time to time.

BR,
Mansour
Thank you, Mansour.
Mar 13, 2020 11:45 AM
Replying to Daire Guiney
...
Dear Mahadevan,

I find when a person is unsure of a culture or how to act in a different culture they will act out and become a more amplified version of themselves.

This is normally occurs if the person in question feels threaten by the environment, they are a bit like a "fish out of water".

This is the reason why when a new person joins a new team or arrives in a different country, they are taken out with the rest of a team into a sociable non work related environment so they can adjust and get to know the project team as individuals.

As a result they become more normalized to the environment, no longer feel threaten and their natural personality comes to the surface.

If you are experiencing this behavior amongst members of your team or dealing with other stakeholders in the project, I would try to breakdown the communication boundaries and social awkwardness so as to develop better relationships.

Daire
Great insights, thanks Daire.
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