International business culture training & team-building


 What is culture?  Why is culture training needed?  Who needs culture training?  What types of culture training are available and how do I describe what I need?

What is culture?

The word “culture” has over a hundred definitions (—-). The word evolved from the word cultivating, as when fields were nurtured to help plants to grow.  This meaning was then extended to people, so one says, “He’s quite cultured,” meaning that he was raised well. Of course, some use the word culture to include our environment, rituals, beliefs, values, and symbols. Most definitions described culture bound within a geographic area, a religion, and language; but it’s shared and reinforced by people.

Extensions of the word ‘culture’ continued as it became used to described how one countries education, rituals, symbols, food, clothing, thoughts, values, beliefs and actions varies versus another.

Depending on the business, culture may have a vital or minimal impact on the product, but it should always be considered in international business, marketing, and within international teams.

Why do we need to understand it?

Why is culture training needed? Many of us grow up in one country, where we may see differences in nationalities on the media, but we’re not exposed to the values, beliefs, and actions of those from other cultures.  So, we are not able to interpret culture indicators.  We view everything with our base of experience and our known behavior norms.  Outside of our home country, this can cause massive problems, particularly with international teams, clients, customers and suppliers.

Who needs culture training?

Culture training is recommended wherever there is an interface between two cultures.  This is particularly critical where…

Decisions are being made regarding international business, sales, marketing or product strategy.
Intersecting cultures are very different — Cultures in different geographic regions tend to be very different.
A person must work with several people from another culture — Like an expatriate or an international sales manager.
An international team brings several cultures together.
The employee is from a different culture than the manager.

What is cross-cultural consulting?

Cross Cultural Consulting
New products, different markets, and local customs lead to uncertainty.  We can help you to predict actions or reactions, and appropriate responses.  We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and determine if our expertise or training could help.  

What types of culture training exist?

There are almost as many types of culture training as there are culture trainers.  Researchers tend to write books then license their methodology to consultants who develop certification courses and processes.  These certification or accredited marks are typically self-generated by the company for marketing efficacy.  As there are no real standards or criteria, the user of culture training should really consider what they want, need and can afford.

Examples of culture training descriptive elements to consider in your request:

Business practices — Do’s and Taboo’s for doing business in different countries.  These are practical do’s and don’t.  Although visible, mistakes in business practices can be overlooked; culture values and beliefs are extremely important.

Culture values and beliefs — These are the underlying cultural dimensions and grouping of values.  It is important to go beyond business practices to understand these values. Depending on the consultant, there are 4-44 dimensions, so it’s important to find a consultant who understands your needs.

Lifestyle training — Much of the culture training today is focused on lifestyles.  Although important to NGOs.

Country specific expatriate support — As everything is a bit different overseas, this training involves how to open a bank account and use the bank machine, where and how to buy things, how to use the washing machine, etc.  These seem trivial but are difficult to navigate.

Region specific training — Relates to countries within a region of interest.

International training — Relates to key regions and some larger countries, globally.

Function specific training — Sales negotiations, presentations, meeting organization and HR practices are very different as you move around the world so request that the training be tailored to the functions attending this training.

Market specific training — Consume cultural values relating to a specific product or market normally require special market research techniques which involved inter-culturist plus market research experts.

Team building — Team building can be built into training courses to encourage people to get to know each other and work together more effectively.

Organizational culture training — Like countries, organizations also have cultures.

For example, an expatriate from the US who is moving to Switzerland to become the regional business manager should be given Switzerland lifestyle training.  He should also be given training in culture values, indicators and business practices for Europe.

What types of training does European Market Link provide? European Market Link focuses on culture training for international leaders, cross.border sales, and team building for remotely located or virtual teams.  

What types of culture training does European Market Link offer?

European Market Link focuses on cross-cultural training for international business, sales and technical teams. This includes training specifically for —
– international leaders and managers,
– cross-border sales/buying and market development, and
– team building for remotely located or virtual teams.