Category Archives: Cultural Quick Tips

Cultural Quick Tip: Understand Your Expertise

The average margin of victory in a Formula One race is 10 seconds, thus victory is dependent on every second spent on the track. During a pit stop when all four tires are changed, the pit crew must exercise over 50 maneuvers  in an average of 7 seconds. Many Formula One races are won or lost by the pit crew’s speed, skill, and execution. Successful collboration on the track or in an office requires a team with diverse roles and skills working in concert. Diverse teams with members from different backgrounds will offer an even greater variety of expertise and personalities. While it may take an increased amount of respect and awareness to work in concert, the team has a greater potential for victory.

Action Step:
Understand the expertise you bring to the team and commit to performing your role with confidence and skill.

Cultural Quick Tip: Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Communication

When new parents first bring home their baby, they are faced with many new communication challenges as they try to understand and meet the needs of their newborn. Without verbal communication parents must rely upon observable types of communication in the form of facial expressions, cries and body movements. Parents have a vested interest in learning to decode their child’s nonverbal communication, as it will help them to raise a healthy and happy baby. While your colleagues in the workplace communicate both verbally and non-verbally, understanding how to interpret their nonverbal communication can be a great advantage. Keep in mind that the meaning behind body language and facial expressions may vary from culture to culture, so it is always good to check for understanding.

Action Step:
Research communication etiquette from other cultures to aid your understanding when communicating with people from outside your country or culture.

Cultural Quick Tip: Use a Mediator to Help Stalemates

A referee’s job requires them to be an impartial expert on the game, clear headed and capable of fairly applying the rules. During games, it would be impossible for coaches, players, and fans to make unbiased calls without a referee. Similarly, in high-pressure work environments, differences between colleagues may lead to disputes that make it impossible for them to see past their biases, resulting in a conflict or stalemate. In these instances, asking for the assistance of a ‘referee’ or a neutral, third party colleague, may provide the necessary insight to tease out the cause of the miscommunication, which could be rooted in cultural, generational or personality style differences.

Action Step:
Reach out to an impartial referee to help resolve communication conflicts in a productive way when an impasse occurs.

Cultural Quick Tip: Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Communication

When new parents first bring home their baby, they are faced with many new communication challenges as they try to understand and meet the needs of their newborn. Without verbal communication parents must rely upon observable types of communication in the form of facial expressions, cries and body movements. Parents have a vested interest in learning to decode their child’s nonverbal communication, as it will help them to raise a healthy and happy baby. While your colleagues in the workplace communicate both verbally and non-verbally, understanding how to interpret their nonverbal communication can be a great advantage. Keep in mind that the meaning behind body language and facial expressions may vary from culture to culture, so it is always good to check for understanding.

Action Step:
Research communication etiquette from other cultures to aid your understanding when communicating with people from outside your country or culture.

August 21: Ninoy Aquino Day – Philippines

August 21: Ninoy Aquino Day – Philippines

Ninoy Aquino Day is a special non-working day in the Philippines to commemorate the assassination of politician Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on August 21, 1983. The assassination of Benigno Aquino sparked a series of political rallies in the Philippines, which grew into the “People Power Revolution”. This series of rallies and revolution eventually led to the collapse of the Marcos’ backed Philippines government in 1986.

Ninoy Aquino – Young Politician

Benigno Aquino was an ambitious and democratically inclined politician who served as Mayor, Governor, and Senator within the Philippines. Ninoy Aquino opposed the suppressive government led by President Ferdinand Marcos. Through the formation of the Lakas Ng Bayan, otherwise known as the LABAN party, Aquino actively criticized the way President Marcos ruled the country. After President Marcos established Martial Law in 1972, Aquino was imprisoned for seven years and sentenced to death by firing squad.

Ninoy Aquino – Imprisonment and Failing Health

While imprisoned Aquino suffered a heart attack, after which he was allowed to travel to the US for medical treatment. After three years in the US, during which time he continued to speak out against Marcos’ leadership, Aquino returned to the Philippines to challenge President Marcos in the 1984 election. Aquino was shot to death when he arrived at Manila International Airport as he disembarked.

Ninoy Aquino Day

People in the Philippines observe Ninoy Aquino Day on the anniversary of Benigno Aquino’s assassination date every year. Since Ninoy Aquino Day is a special non-working day, many Filipinos use the day to gather with family. Some people commemorate the day solemnly by recalling and honoring what people have done to establish democracy in the Philippines.

International Business Etiquette Tips – Qatar

Culture Coach International is doing a new blog series, where each weekly segment will have a list of the of 5 essential “International Business Etiquette Tips” to working with a specific country.

If you enjoy the series, Sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter to receive monthly cultural quick tips, international holidays, and proverbs from around the world.

International Business Etiquette – Qatar

  1. When Muslims greet each other, instead of saying, “good morning” or “hello” they often say “Assalamu Alaikum,” which means, “May peace be upon you and may God’s blessings be with you.” It is good to learn these greetings in Arabic as a sign of respect and effort on your part to learn a phrase of their language.
  2. Most Qataris do not eat any meat that has not been prepared to “halaal” (lawful) standards. Pork products are illegal in Qatar and many Qataris think of pigs as unclean animals, so it is very important to avoid pork products.
  3. Qataris often value close contact and less personal space, so do not back up or shy away; physical contact among males is common; if a Qatari man tries to take your hand while walking, do not quickly pull it away because this is a great sign of friendship.
  4. Be aware that in Qatar the Hijrah (Arabic) date is used as well as the Gregorian date; the workweek typically runs from Saturday to Thursday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Friday is a Muslim holy day; during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (the two most important Islamic holidays) no business will be conducted.
  5. Qataris may leave for 15-20 minutes throughout the day to conduct prayers; when hosting, appointments and meetings should be set between particular prayer times if possible; make sure there is a space reserved where they may go to pray undisturbed.

If you enjoy the series, Sign-up for our Monthly Newsletter to receive monthly cultural quick tips, international holidays, and proverbs from around the world.

Latest Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Out Now – December 2012

Culture Coach International just finished releasing the Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter for December 2012. The theme of the month is Combining Old and New, which takes a metaphorical look at how diversity initiatives require both new and old resources in order to be effective.

This month’s holiday features Junkanoo in the Bahamas: This post Christmas Day celebration is believed to date back to the 17th century and is filled with colors, costumes and street carnivals.

We also included the international secular and religious holidays for the month of December, alongside some interesting proverbs and idioms from Hawaii, Russia and Korea.

For a complete look at the newsletter, click here. If you are interesting in signing up to receive the monthly tip in your inbox each month, sign up here.

Latest Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Out Now – November 2012

The skyline of Boston has many skyscrapers. Like skyscrapers, diversity initiatives require “blue prints,” or plans and benchmarks, to be implemented successfully. (Photo by Culture Coach CEO Kari Heistad)

Culture Coach International just finished releasing the Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter for November 2012. The theme of the month will be Creating a Blueprint, which takes a metaphorical look at how diversity initiatives require well-laid plans to be successful.

This month’s holiday features Guy Fawkes Day in the UK: a celebration of the failed Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605; it is celebrated with a large fireworks show.

We also included the international secular and religious holidays for the month of November, alongside some interesting proverbs and idioms from Tajikistan, Nigeria, and the Czech Republic.

For a complete look at the newsletter, click here. If you are interesting in signing up to receive the monthly tip in your inbox each month, sign up here.

Latest Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Out Now – October 2012

Worker honeybees are part of the collective effort of an entire colony. Much like the employees of a company, each plays their role in the overall success. (Photo Credits: Shutterstock.com)

Culture Coach International just finished releasing the Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter for October 2012. The theme of the month will be Building On The Collective Effort, taking a metaphorical look at how each individual plays a key part in the overall success of a company.

This month’s holiday features Double 10 Day in Taiwan: the island’s Independence Day which occurs on the start of the Wuchang Uprising that eventually lead to the overthrown of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

We also included the international secular and religious holidays for the month of October, alongside some interesting proverbs and idioms from Egypt, Ethiopia, Poland, and India.

For a complete look at the newsletter, click here. If you are interesting in signing up to receive the monthly tip in your inbox each month, sign up here.

Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Out for September 2012

We have just released the September edition of the Cultural Quick Tip for those of you who are signed up to receive it in your inbox. This month’s newsletter features the international holiday dates for the month, cultural quick tip on Setting Audacious Goals (An homage to Neil Armstrong who passed away last week, as well as the late President John Kennedy), idioms and proverbs from various cultures, and a holiday spotlight on Ge’ez New Year on September 12, one of the largest celebrations for Ethiopia and the horn of Africa’s Orthodox Christian communities. Click here to check it out for the month of September. And, if you’d like to subscribe to next month’s newsletter, please send us an email:admin@culturecoach.biz or visit our webpage to fill out a simple request form.

Cultural Quick Tip Newsletter is Here for August 2012!

Feeling vulnerable in a time of transition can be difficult in the workplace, but is essential for growth. Just as a hermit crab must leave its shell in order to find a new, larger one, so must an employee change with the growth of a company. Having clear goals and roles can help your employees feel less vulnerable during this time.

We have just released the August edition of the Cultural Quick Tip for those of you who are signed up to receive it in your inbox. This month’s newsletter features the international holiday dates for the month, cultural quick tip on acknowledging vulnerability in the workplace, idioms and proverbs from various cultures, and a holiday spotlight on Honey Spas, Russia’s honey harvest and summer’s last hurrah. Click here to check it out for the month of August, and if you’d like to subscribe to next month’s newsletter, please send us an email: admin@culturecoach.biz or visit our webpage to fill out a simple request form.

Cultural Quick Tip #12: Fasting and Religious Observance

Today is another Friday installment of a new series for the Global Voice Blog. At the end of each week we will be posting a Cultural Quick Tip to promote broader thinking on the company and individual levels. These tips, along with their accompanying action steps, are meant to encourage everyone to work more effectively in a diverse workplace.

Cultural Quick Tip #12: 

Fasting and Religious Observance

Many faiths adhere to strict fasting guidelines. For example, during Ramandan – the ninth month of the Islamic calendar – Muslims abstain from food and water during the daylight hours and alcohol and tobacco completely.

Similarly, the Baha’i undertake a 19 day fast each March in preparation for their New Year holiday. During this time, followers refrain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset.

During Lent, a 40 day period leading up to Easter, many Christians may choose to give something up such as tobacco, chocolate, or alcohol. During times of religious observance, be sensitive to any fasting colleagues, and try not to hold meetings when people want to return home and break their fast.

Action Step:

Be aware of dates when people may be fasting when scheduling work flow and company events.

If you are interested in more quick tips, please visit our website for more information on the book 101 Cultural Quick Tips for the Workplace at: http://www.culturecoach.biz/CCI%20Store/ccistore.html

Cultural Quick Tip #11: Organizational Culture

Today is another Friday installment of a new series for the Global Voice Blog. At the end of each week we will be posting a Cultural Quick Tip to promote broader thinking on the company and individual levels. These tips, along with their accompanying action steps, are meant to encourage everyone to work more effectively in a diverse workplace.

Cultural Quick Tip #11: 

Organizational Culture

An organization creates and refines corporate culture, norms, standards, and values every day. These elements, which usually remain unwritten, diagram the ways in which work is accomplished at a company.

How quickly and easily a new employee joins a corporate culture can determine their future success in the company. Depending upon an employee’s background, it may be challenging for them to “read” the corporate culture and to fit in.

When a new employee joins a company, learning the unwritten rules and company culture is critical for them to be successful.

Action Step:

Foster success by examining the ways that your company teaches new employees about the corporate culture.

If you are interested in more quick tips, please visit our website for more information on the book 101 Cultural Quick Tips for the Workplace at: http://www.culturecoach.biz/CCI%20Store/ccistore.html

Cultural Quicktip #10: From Tolerance to Respect

101 Cultural Quick Tips for Working Effectively in a Diverse Workplace

Today is another Friday installment of a new series for the Global Voice Blog. At the end of each week we will be posting a Cultural Quick Tip to promote broader thinking on the company and individual levels. These tips, along with their accompanying action steps, are meant to encourage everyone to work more effectively in a diverse workplace.

Cultural Quick Tip #10: 

A Foundation for Fast Growth

Often when workplaces become more diverse, many people “tolerate” the colleagues who are different from themselves; that is, they may put up with someone for the sake of avoiding possible conflict, but do not seek to understand the other person’s point of view.
Tolerating another colleague is a good first step, but the ultimate goal should be treating everyone with respect. Respect is the acceptance of points of view different from your own and the recognition that all are equally valid. In order for different viewpoints to have equal validity in an organization, respect must be present. When respect is present, different viewpoints are seen as being equally valued. In turn, this can spark creativity and innovation when different points of view come together in a respectful manner.

Action Step:

Help employees develop respectful relationships by first finding commonalities that can help bridge their perceived differences.

If you are interested in more quick tips, please visit our website for more information on the book 101 Cultural Quick Tips for the Workplace at: http://www.culturecoach.biz/CCI%20Store/ccistore.html

Cultural Quick Tip #9: A Foundation for Fast Growth

Today is another Friday installment of a new series for the Global Voice Blog. At the end of each week we will be posting a Cultural Quick Tip to promote broader thinking on the company and individual levels. These tips, along with their accompanying action steps, are meant to encourage everyone to work more effectively in a diverse workplace.

Cultural Quick Tip #9: 

A Foundation for Fast Growth

Bamboo is renowned as the world’s fastest growing woody plant. Bamboo’s “trunk” is actually underground and provides the top growth the support and energy it needs to grow quickly.

For some bamboo, the root takes years to develop before any top growth is seen. Thus, the amazingly “quick” visible growth is actually years in the making. Making progress in diversity is much like bamboo; a company may need to take a long time to build the “trunk” of its diversity efforts before seeing visible growth.

Action Step:

Spend time developing the “trunk” or strategy behind your diversity initiative. It will allow your organization to withstand challenges and to sustain growth in the years to come.

If you are interested in more quick tips, please visit our website for more information on the book 101 Cultural Quick Tips for the Workplace at: http://www.culturecoach.biz/CCI%20Store/ccistore.html