Understanding the Pitfalls of Working across Cultures

Cross-cultural teams offer outstanding new perspectives and fresh insights – as long as you avoid the pitfalls. Here’s how to avoid embarrassment in a cross-cultural environment and how to recover if you make a blunder.

Germany, Rur Reservoir, smiling businessman in canoe
My first experience with my employer was a memorable one, to say the least.

I had just been hired and was anticipating my first videoconference with my boss. Even as a German who would be working for a Danish company, I hadn’t given much thought to any cultural differences between us.

Having prepared all morning, I positioned myself behind my desk and initiated the call – I couldn’t believe my ears. Continue reading

It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Knowledge Superhero!

Maybe they aren’t able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, but knowledge workers are the real-life superheroes in our organizations. Let’s go behind the mask and see what makes them so indispensable to our success.

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What’s the most important position in your organization? Easy, right? The CEO. Or CFO. Or maybe chief product engineer.

They’re all critical, I’ll admit. But in my book, the heroes of every organization are its knowledge workers.

They’re the essence of our organizations. They do the heavy lifting that keeps the products flowing, customers happy, financials in order, patents in force and a whole lot more. Or as the old saying goes, they “keep the trains running on time.” Continue reading

Are We Creating Knowledge… or Just Turning Out Information?

Our organizations are awash in information. But it seems as though we’re just filing it away – instead of using it to create and share knowledge.

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 I just took a long, accidental stroll down memory lane, courtesy of one of my company’s file servers.

Let me explain. I needed a very specific report and accessed one of our internal systems to locate it. After a few minutes of searching, I was certain I’d found the report… until I discovered another, different version of it. And then another. And yet another.

After an hour of looking, I gave up. I never found what I needed.

All of which led me to a realization: We obviously do a great job of churning out information in our organizations, but are we creating knowledge? Continue reading