I had the opportunity to meet Erin Meyer, author of ‘The Culture Map’ and professor at INSEAD Business School, in Paris. I attended one of her remarkable conferences on Intercultural differences in business during my time at L’Oréal. Her words were an eye-opener to promote efficient collaboration with colleagues, collaborators or customers from other cultures; particularly to anyone leading international teams.
A few years later I enjoyed diving into her book, ‘The Culture Map.’ Her work stood out as a practical reading to explain and frame a unique collection of concepts that are increasingly relevant today. She emphasizes the importance of becoming knowledgable on how different cultures perceive communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding or disagreeing. I appreciate her incorporation of real-life stories that capture the experience of culture clashes from her own personal and others’ views.
From my own experience, the more exposure you have to different cultural interactions, the more you learn about the way you perceive another culture…which may be very different from the way others perceive you. What works for me in improving what I call ‘reading the air’ is being curious and the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes.
While each culture is different, there is one sentiment that I have found holds true globally and is applicable across all cultures:
Being a good observer is sometimes more important than being a good speaker.
A more in-depth read on the Culture Map.