We all like to believe -or at least those of us who live in democratic countries- that we are free individuals, able to make the choices and decisions we "want" and "need". As it turns out, however, our wants and needs -and therefore our choices and decisions- are heavily influenced, and often determined, by a specific set of values and beliefs, which we absorb unconsciously from the culture that surrounds us. Those beliefs translate into specific behaviors, most of which were acquired so early in life that we are not even aware of them. It is this lack of awareness that prevents individuals and organizations from achieving their global potential in an increasingly globalized economy.
It is this lack of awareness that prevents individuals and organizations from achieving their global potential in an increasingly globalized economy. As an example, highly qualified Scandinavian job applicants interviewed by US American companies may have fewer chances to be hired when compared to their fellow Americans. That is because their cultural values direct them to be modest and definitely not brag about themselves. Doing otherwise is a considered throughout Scandinavia an impolite, and even ridiculous behavior. By contrast, American candidates have no problems being loud about their past and future success and ambitions, and they frequently use a long array of superlatives to describe their skills and accomplishments. In other words, Americans oversell, while Scandinavians undersell and downplay their abilities. As a result, interviewers and recruiters who are not familiar with the culture metrics in the U.S. and Sweden or Norway, have a big chance to misinterpret the candidate's behavior: Americans would consider the modest Scandinavians losers, while Scandinavians would perceive the Americans as braggarts. Obviously, not every American or Swedish are the same, so a short cultural intelligence assessment always brings clarification.
In her keynote speech for the Diversity, Inclusion and Global Leadership Summit -part of the Oracle OpenWorld 2015- CEO Safra Catz said:
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