12.1.2 How to develop intercultural competence in the organisation?

Intercultural teams and successful cooperation with partners and clients from other countries are both a challenge and an opportunity for companies. We understand competence as the ability to behave and to act properly in a certain situation. As stated above, success in this sense depends to a large degree on our attitude, empathy, motives, and values. But we also need knowledge and background information in order for us to be able to deal with intercultural differences as well as the specific differences of our foreign partners. The following table can help you to get an initial overview on the current situation and further requirements.

If you currently deal with foreign customers, partners or employees, or expect to do so in future, please reflect on the following questions and related tasks and consequences. Take note of consequences.

Short check-list intercultural training need. Please have a look at table 1.

(See also check list and self assessment in resource A and B)

Large companies offer intercultural preparation to their employees because they know that this is important for business success. There are many training courses and seminars for SMEs and awareness is growing. Some seminars offer the possibility to learn using social contact i.e. role plays. However, if seminars offer only lectures on intercultural issues or you do not have the resources, then, you can opt for internet based training material/courses, or written material (see references at the end of this module). This can be a good starting point to prepare you for direct contact. And the next time you meet your foreign partner to present him/her with your innovative product you will have the following in mind: business success often depends more on cultural competence, on understanding and on an appropriate reaction to the cultural idiosyncrasies of the business partner than it does on professional product presentation.

Please stop and think:
Have you identified a training need for you or your organisation?
If so, after reading the paragraph above, what would be the most suitable way for training?
It might be useful to take note of this idea.