52 BOOK The Culture Map (2014)

January 23, 2024

Erin Meyer (USA, 1971)

“The Culture Map” has been one of my favourite business books of 2023. It made me reflect a lot on the invisible cultural barriers that affect the effectiveness of global teams and how valuable it would be to overcome them to make the most of cultural diversity. When we think we already know something, it’s harder for us to realise what we don’t know, and that’s where the great opportunity lies in reading this book and improving our professional and even personal relationships.

✍🏽”The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer is a fundamental guide to understanding and navigating cultural complexities in globalised work environments. This book should be part of the induction program for any global company, as it is a basic tool for better interpersonal relations. The author delves into eight key cultural dimensions in work relationships, ranging from communication, persuasion, conflict management, decision-making, leadership styles, and approaches to time, among others. She reveals how these differences can lead to misunderstandings or conflicts in international work environments.

❤️Through examples and real-life cases (which are wonderful), Meyer offers concrete strategies (very straightforward, for “dummies,” so there’s no excuse not to follow them) and tools to improve collaboration and effectiveness in international teams, encouraging greater cultural sensitivity, adaptability, and intercultural communication skills. This book should be mandatory for all business leaders and professionals working in an increasingly diverse and globalised world, as it provides an enlightening perspective on building cultural bridges and fostering effective collaboration in diverse work contexts.

Key insights:

  • Being open to individual differences is not enough.
  • Key 8 scales:
  • Communicating: low-context vs, high-context
  • Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
  • Persuading: principles-first vs. application-first.
  • Leading: egalitarian vs hierarchical.
  • Deciding: consensual vs top-down.
  • Trusting: task-based vs relationship-based
  • Disagreeing: confrontational vs avoids confrontation
  • Scheduling: linear time vs flexible time
  • Culture can be a sensitive topic. Speaking about a person´s culture often provokes the same type of reaction as speaking about his mother.
  • When interacting with someone from another country, try to watch more, listen more, and speak less.
  • Asking for clarification can work wonders.
  • Ask yourself: What is the best way to build trust with these colleagues and customers?
  • Politeness is in the eye of the beholder.
  • The sophisticated global manager learns how to adapt -to alter his behaviour a bit, practice humility, test the waters before speaking up, assume goodwill on the part of others, and invest time and energy in building good relationships.
  • As always, remember the importance of cultural relativity.

Thanks for reading.

Have a great day! 😘

🫣P.S. It could be a great Christmas gift for your professional growth, your boss, or even your “foreign” colleague! 😄

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