I ran a cultural awareness training programme yesterday for a client near London and although the session was initially set up as a more general global cultural awareness programme looking at generic cultural issues, it became quickly apparent that many of the people in the room really wanted to focus on India.
This client has extensive interface with India at a variety of levels:
So the relationships in India are pretty well developed and the delegates on the session were seemingly frustrated by a number of different aspects of working with India – but two main aspects came to the fore:
Despite the fact that many in the room had worked with India for a number of years and had visited on numerous occasions, they admitted that they really didn’t ‘get’ India and why the Indians they worked with didn’t respond in the way they expected (which actually seemed to mean ‘like people in the UK.’)
I think we will end up doing a more focused session on India but it always amazes me that organisations are happy to ‘bumble along’ in a state of confusion when some quality, targeted training could really help push the process forward.
Don’t wait until cultural issues bite you before reacting. Be proactive – look at cultural fluency building at early stages of any international project.