Business Skills

14
Feb

The “Q” in Cultural Competence – Do You Have It?

 

The “Q” In Cultural Competence – Do you Have It?

A 10 minute read on how to master your cross-cultural competence, a good book recommendation, a short video and 6 empowering questions that guarantee collaboration!

I was asked, just this week, what I do. I told them. Someone then said: What exactly is that?

In a nutshell? Culture is the way things get done around “here” and the way things get done around there, and over there and also over there. My job is to support people in bringing their various ways of doing things, together. In biz talk? Two words: team alignment.

Culture – is known as folklore, habit, knowledge, lifestyle, way of life and development. It is taken from “cultura”(Latin) which comes from the verb “colo” or “colere” which means to tend, care for, look after and cultivate. It also means to till the soil, farm, grow and plant.

What do I do? I tend, look after and cultivate cross-cultural connections and collaboration through clarity in conversation.

Why? To facilitate a change for the better people need to change their thinking and to change collective thinking demands a change in the conversations they are having which then leads to a “rewiring” of the brain (mindsets) and which ultimately leads to aligning new (and better) behaviors because…

But first we need to understand that modern day cultures can be described as the outcome of many different external influences and circumstances as experienced by those who set up home up in various parts of the world l-o-o-o-n-g before you and I came along.

The lessons in survival that were endured by one clan in the Saharan sun and heat, and another tribe wading their way through steamy mangrove swamps, had to be completely different to those of a group freezing their way through the Siberian cold and dark winter, don’t you agree? And, the  frequency of their repeated “lessons” became genetically imprinted values and norms over time. “Solutions” became and continue to become a part of our everyday lives – we adopt, adapt, integrate and  embody new sets of skills so often that basic assumptions become an unconscious and unquestioned reality which we, mostly, take for granted.

Repeated behavior, healthy or not, becomes a collective programming and an unquestioned group think. It’s this group think that defines a culture and creates differences. #groupbias #whywestereotype

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6
Feb

The Sufi Judge – Why No One Answer is Ever Right!

The Sufi Judge

Why No One Answer Is Ever Right

What’s right?

Two men had an argument so they went to a Sufi judge to settle the dispute. The one made his case and was very persuasive in his reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
The other man jumped up and said, “Wait a minute, you haven’t heard my side of the story!” The judge told him to make his case which he did, also with sound persuasive reasoning. The judge nodded approval and said: “that’s right!”
When the clerk of the court heard this he jumped up and said “Judge! They cannot both be right!” to which the judge replied, “That’s right”.

Just like truth is all around you there is no one answer that is right; what matters is where you put your energy and focus. And remember, the answers you get depend on the questions you ask.

So, what does this have to do with cross-cultural competence?
You tell me!

Wishing you an awesome week of finding alternative truths and new answers!

29
Jan

Dog Sniffs and “What ifs?”

Dog Sniffs and What Ifs

Monday’s Brain Massage: “Dogs bark at things they don’t understand” Heraclitus.

I picked up two Indian street-puppies at the beginning of the monsoon in June last year. Experiencing life through their eyes has been, albeit a challenge, full of wonder. They remind me almost daily (it’s sadly getting less) to “understand” their barking. Whenever they see someone or something for the first time they bark, are apprehensive in their approach and, until they’ve sniffed it OK, they continue barking at it. Some people and things never get their OK, and that is OK because they gave it a try and a good old sniff. Not their problem anymore. 

When we are confronted with things new and “strange” we (mostly) immediately switch into negativity-bias mode. We bark at the unfamiliar. We bark our criticisms at the ideas, things and people and turn our butts to any possibilities and potential.

Why?

Where did you learn or who told you to do that?

What if you started “sniffing” a few “what if?” questions instead of bellowing “what is”? We all know that your “what is” and my “what is” isn’t really what is.

And what if, this week, you try some “what-iffing” and if you hear something you, at first, want to spontaneously bark at, try saying “hey, that’s interesting, give me some time to chew on it”. You never know what new aromas and fragrances might drift your way to make your week and day! 

Wishing you a fan-fun-tastic week,  
Contact me if you need a guiding “bark” at https://salt-pro.com/contact/

23
Jan

The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

“con” as found in consent – is also known as to deceive, bamboozle (love that), swindle, cheat, fool, mislead, sweet-talk, trick, double-cross and rip-off. It dates back to the 1500’s which was frequently used in establishing the “pros and cons” of something which, going back to its roots, means that “con” is against, in opposition to and opposed to.

“con-sent” comes from the Latin “comsentire” – “com” = with and “sentire” = to feel in other words to feel together, agree or give permission.

The weakness in “con-sent” is that the content of the “con” can be stronger than, or even work against, the feeling of together-ness and mutual agreement. “Con” can be you giving someone, albeit unwittingly (unintentionally), the permission to “con” you. Or someone can allow you to do something but work against you and hold you in contempt (mock, scorn or be disrespectful).

And then, more often than not, the agreement becomes a “dis”. Con-sent ends in dis-agreement, dis-con-tent, dis-approval, dis-sent, dis-pute, an eventual dis-allowance filled with regret and dis-appointment that leads to dis-integration of all that was meant and intended well. Ouch!

Think about this when negotiating or trying to reach consensus with individuals and also with close friends or family members. A lot of agree-ing might be happening only because the need to be liked or accepted is greater than the possible dis-satisfaction later.

Consider the amount of “con” you communicate and con-tribute in your interactions and activities. If there is more dis-appointment and dis-sent than you care to deal with, you can change the way you say “yes” to things.

Want to know more? Contact me here. Remember: words have power and the right words empower! 

Regards,

25
May

Titles, entitlement and the sweet success of serving others!

Titles, Entitlement and Sweet Success

Titles, entitlement and the sweet success of serving!

Discovering more about ourselves, our values, cultures and how to contribute to a better world through the sweet success of serving others. Written by Hester Bergh-Appoyer. Published in Business Goa Magazine, April 2017

Sweet success. Have you ever asked yourself why success is referred to as sweet? The sweet taste or smell of success? Here’s a thought. Some of us have stronger sensory filters than others, we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell success and there is the linguistic idea that sweet has been used metaphorically to refer to something pleasing since 888 CE. The earliest mention of it being used with success is 1684.

I started my career in an American company well known for its baby products and less known for its enormous global market share in surgical and optical products. But I’m not sure those “formative” years of my professional life, which have been the foundation of all my business interactions, were always to my benefit. Sometimes it served me sweetly, other times not.

So what was it that made such a big impact on my rookie mind?

It was the sweet sound of being called by my name. (Not the tone my mother used to use when she was less than pleased with me – but that is another read!)

On my first day at Johnson & Johnson I was welcomed at reception, shown around and taken to meet lots of people. Important people. I met truck drivers, warehouse packers and managers, kitchen staff, accountants, telesales staff and some of the big shots sitting in plush floored offices (bigger than my newly rented flat) as well as the CEO who was introduced to me by his first name. He already knew mine.

The embodiment of J&J’s company culture and credo is consistently demonstrated by the way they extend value to their patients, clients and employees. Click on “credo” above. Enduring mutual success is a spirit of serving that smiled and smiles through the offices and corridors in the sweet absence of titles and entitlement.

It was with this spirit to serve and eagerness to sample my own sweet success that I later went into the big wide world of international business.

Serving Others and Sweet Success

Fast forward to Kuala Lumpur and I have joined an international educational institute as lecturer in charge and head of department for the business and marketing department. Sounds grand doesn’t it?

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15
Mar

Persistance vs. Perseverance, Starting Out And Opting In For Life’s Bonuses!

Hester Bergh-Appoyer

speaker | communication craftsperson | cross-cultural connector | author

connect. communicate. co-create – vienna | cape town | goa | new york

Persistance vs. Persevering And Getting Better At Life!

You know how sometimes the universe sends you a message as if you are the only person on the planet and the words were written just for you? Well not too long ago these words written by Octavia E Butler landed on my planet…

You don’t start out writing good stuff, you start out writing crap and thinking it is good stuff and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits any writer can have is persistence!

BOOM!

That’s it. That’s the word. Persistence. I took great pride in my very own dog-with-a-bone tenacity in not letting some things go. I gave myself a hearty slap on the back for my knack in knowing how to go on and on like Tennyson’s “Brooke”.

But. Had I known just how often I would have to go hunting and gathering to feed its insatiable howling hunger – I might never have started a few projects, let alone write a book!

And then I paused to ponder on the difference between persistence and perseverance.

This. Is. What. I. Found.

Like many other things in life – we need masses of sheer stupid persistence to keep something going. And I mean stupid. Persistence is that thing you’ve convinced yourself is a virtue. Persistence is that thing that keeps you mindlessly pursuing a cause (which you may confuse with purpose) with the expectation that the next time, or just one more time – with no end goal in sight – will be the time you get it right. Persistence is what causes you to stay in a bad relationship or in a job you hate. Persistence is exhausting.

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23
Feb

Of Heaven and Hell: A Zen Parable on Anger

“Monk!” “Teach me about heaven and hell!”

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with scorn,

“Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn’t teach you about anything. You’re ignorant. You’re arrogant. You’re a disgrace, and an embarrassment to other samurai. Get out of my sight. I can’t stand to see you.”

The samurai became furious. He shook, red in the face, spitting with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to kill the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai’s eyes, the monk said softly,

“That’s hell.”

The samurai froze, realizing the grace and compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,

“And that’s heaven.”

10
Jan

Slow down, dig in! A life skills read on getting things done.

Slow down, dig in and do the thing!

Don’t run, slow down – he said pulling her hand back.
I can’t – the sand is too hot, it’s burning my feet – she moaned while hopping up and down, flicking the stinging sunburnt grains further up her legs.

Her constant clambering and tugging at his arm and hand in an attempt to lift herself off the ground was making his progress along the thick sand more difficult so he stooped down, put down his load and let her sit on his knee while he whispered a secret into her ear.

This little “dadeloog” so loves secrets. And walking barefoot.

Slow down, he instructed gently. Take your time. Every time you put your foot down start digging into the sand with your toes. Right under the hot, hot there is cool, cool. I promise you. When you find that place slowly shift yourself onto that foot and then do the same with the other foot. Dig your toes in, find the cool, stay a while, move over. And then the other foot. And then the other. And before you know it you’ll be perfect at it and we’ll be home.

She, in her childlike way still tried to get him to carry her, but he was already burdened with some of the basics they went to town for. If only he had taken the other truck – now he’s had to leave the feed behind, in the broken down truck. The baboons are going to have a feast. And, he should’ve insisted she take her sandals.

I can’t – she continued to resist.
How do you know you can’t – he asked. Have you tried it? Do you know you can’t? At least do it and if you really don’t get it right I’ll help you – he encouraged her with a smile on his face – hoping.

And so, as if knowing that he was going to prove her wrong, again, she unwillingly took that step.

If little else remains of the very tall old man whose face has faded in her memory like the time-bleached sepia shots of a family long gone, her grandfather’s words to slow down, dig in and to do the thing before convincing herself that she can’t, ring loud and clear. Just like the excited echo of the raucous baboon chatter in the rocky mountains running north and south alongside the farm.

Still today she finds herself digging in and slowly taking one step at a time when the going gets tough and things get hot!

One of my “Lewis” stories – the farm in the Kalahari. With love, Hester

22
Dec

Holy Cow(s)!, trumpery and Holi-days! A msg of Peace.

2016? Holy cow! It’s been a ride of “deestings”, unabashed trumpery, distractions and Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

Remember me telling you at the beginning of this year that sex and taking drugs, eating sleeping and doing good deeds had this “gimme more” effect. That you should get addicted to good deeds and the more you do it the more you want it? Do you remember my 3 to do’s and 5 reminders to help get you what you want? No? Then go here before you go making any new resolutions. Yes? Good. I’ll be adding a few more life hacks to those. Read on.

This 2482 word reflection is a no bullshit message of peace containing

– colorful cows, female distractions and other fun and sexy life lessons

– idiotic idiomatic and old English expressions

– a pre-view of a good book to read

– 4 tips on how to get others to start a sparkly collaboration revolution with you

– a peace mantra

all from an expat-in-India perspective.

You know what it’s like. Come the end of anything you start looking back, taking stock and perhaps, reflecting. Read more

10
Oct

C#4 – Cross-cultural consciousness

c4_collaboration

Exclusion is in-the-box thinking and an unwillingness to get out. Here’s the thing; you (unconsciously) expose and express exclusion of others in words like “we, us, our” and “they, them, those people”.

Have you tuned into yourself lately? Have you heard yourself speak in meetings and between friends? Are you expressing the wish to collaborate and connect or are you expressing exclusion?

Being Nice (certainly) Isn’t Enough is food for thought and speech! An excerpt from my book!