Cultural Understanding and Business — In conversation with Nnamdi Njoku

!mpact
3 min readOct 10, 2022

Our world today has shrunk into a global village. Cultures and communities are intertwined and closer than ever before. Regardless of where you are, the traditions, lifestyles, and values of others are valuable to know and understand. This phenomenon is even deeper for someone who has lived in and experienced various cultures. In that situation, just awareness is no longer enough — understanding, accepting, and embracing comes into play. Cross-pollinated views and ideologies are what makes our world so global.

We are in conversation with Nnamdi Njoku — a healthcare professional who has lived and worked around the world. He shares with us how those experiences have shaped how he approaches business.

You bring a broad background in having worked in different countries, environments, and teams, across the world. This provides you with a unique cultural understanding. How does that benefit you in business?

“When I think about business and whatever “success” I may have achieved, I think of three primary elements.

“People are at the heart of any business. Working with the right people, inspiring, and simultaneously learning from them is key. The reason I think I have been able to do that well is due to my experiences and background. Moving around different places and experiencing various cultures has allowed me a deep understanding of how to connect with people. It has allowed me to identify a common humanity that runs through all our veins and see individuals as individuals. My ability to empathize, really understand the cultural context within which a person exists, their values, what is important to them and just be curious about the world have all been derived from my international exposure. When I look back on my career and also on what’s to come, I believe one of my biggest successes to be my ability to lead and inspire people. I think this comes from my ability and willingness to connect with the folks I have the privilege of working with. The people aspect of the business is one that really jumps out to me.

“The second part of business I deem important is having a purpose. It is difficult to have any kind of success if you are not clear about what you are trying to accomplish. Living in different countries and experiencing different cultures really anchored me to be clear about my purpose. Aside from the obvious benefits, having a purpose has enriched my professional experience so much. It has allowed me to recognize and reap the right opportunities and it has allowed me to compartmentalize. As a business leader one is often burdened with so many issues at once — the ability to switch from one to the other easily is an important skill indeed. When linking this to my background — having had to switch from different cultures and quickly adapt and embrace really demanded this flexibility from me — and now I am able to apply it in business.

“The next thing around business that has a link to my background is to do with risk. Business comes with immense opportunities, but also significant risk — making the right investments, hiring the right people, building the right partnerships, and so on. My background has instilled in me the ability to recognize risk. I don’t look at risk the traditional way, instead, I flip it and look at it from the perspective of inaction. What risk I am taking by not taking what seems like the original risk? What opportunity am I potentially losing out on by not taking that first risk? Usually when making a critical decision one looks at the benefit of taking the risk or not taking the risk. On the other hand, I see it as what’s the benefit, and what is the risk I am taking by not taking any action?”

Thanks for sharing, Nnamdi.

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