13 Mar

Are You Cross Culturally Competent?

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

Are You Cross Culturally Competent?Many of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

One of the 10 future skills offered by the University of Phoenix Future Work Skills 2020 report is Cross Cultural Competence which they define as the ability to operate in different cultural settings.

In our hyper-connected global world, you could find yourself working virtually with individuals from anywhere on the planet.  While we may like to think that people are just people no matter what, there are many differences that manifest across cultures that may often be nuanced and subtle.

Sure you can learn other languages and about customs of other cultures.  You can also get briefings on the do’s and dont’s in different cultural settings.  It is however harder to understand values and beliefs that are often unspoken.

For example, you might be on a virtual team. You are located in the US and other team members are in Europe and Asia. You notice that when you have the midnight calls to accommodate time differences, that your Asian colleagues often don’t say as much as your US and German counterparts. At first, when the calls were scheduled during Eastern time zone in the US, you just thought they were probably exhausted but the trend continued even when you alternated time zones so that it would be normal working hours for them.  The behavior was frustrating for you because you place a high value on everybody contributing and speaking up.  Later you learned that some of the Asian team actually did not agree with the direction of the project. Why didn’t they say so?!

It might have been one of those cultural differences that you would not pick up if you were not cross culturally competent. It could be that in a much more “group oriented culture” as most of Asia is, it would not be appropriate to voice a one person opinion.   In the US culture, which is very individualistic, we expect people to offer their own opinion.  Your Asian counterparts may have wanted to discuss the issue as a group and come back with a consensus answer.  These types of misunderstandings can result in lost productivity, ill feelings and a breakdown in teamwork.  Understanding them allows for adjustments and mutual adaptation. Perhaps decisions should not be made until teams have a chance to talk about it with their sub-group group and can come after they have reached consensus.

Individualistic versus group or collective cultures is just one dimension on how cultures differ.  A few other ways are highlighted below as adapted from Riding the Waves of Culture by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner.

Cultural Dimensions Table

Futurize Your Skills!

11 Mar

A Robot Can’t Do It All

Blog No Comments by Susan McCuistion

Robots Can't Do It AllMany of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the a�?technicala�? aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.A� They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

Imagine if all of the tedious, boring tasks you perform at work every day were no longer necessary. What would you do with your day?

Just because you can do something by hand doesna��t make it quick or efficient. And if ita��s not efficient, in todaya��s world, ita��s got to go. Robots save time and money, making workplaces safer and more cost-effective. They take over the mundane parts of our work, freeing us up to be more creative and perform those tasks that only humans can do.

Robots are increasingly part of our everyday lives. They work in conditions where humans might be limited, and they do dangerous jobs more accurately, saving human lives. Robots are already a part of everyday work in factories, mining, space exploration, and even surgery. They dona��t question their work, and, if programmed correctly, they dona��t make mistakes. They simply do the same rote routines over and over again.

While some jobs have been (and will continue to be) completely replaced by machines, not all will. There are some things that are uniquely human. Despite what it looks like, robots cana��t think for themselves. They cannot generate their own source of energy. They cannot be creative and innovative. They can interact, but only on a limited basis. Humans have the ability to assess emotions and build relationships, something that robots cannot do.

Despite the fears and hype that machines are taking over, automation does not mean losing your job.

Take for example, Zildjian. Zildjian is a family-owned company that has been making high-quality cymbals for nearly 400 years. Through the years they have automated many jobs, but not one person has lost a job because of automation. As jobs are automated, employees are retrained for new jobs at the same pay.

So, for those of you afraid of technology, consider this: A�Your growth depends on your ability to learn new skills and your willingness to retrain for new jobs.

Thata��s a uniquely human quality and something a robot cana��t do on its own.

Related Article(s) From LTAW:

  1. The End of Human Workers? order periactin online cheap, lioresal without prescription.
  2. A Robot Will Save Your Life (But Maybe Take Your Job)
  3. Robots in the Workplace

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08 Mar

The New Leader

Blog No Comments by Mary-Frances Winters

The New LeaderMany of us think that we need to become an expert in our chosen field, whether it be nursing, engineering, writing, plumbing, programming, etc. And that is true. However, being the best at the “technical” aspects of your job will not be enough for the future. According to a report conducted by The University of Phoenix, there are 10 skills that we will all need to succeed in the future and none of them have to do with being an expert in your field.  They are all related to our ability to grasp and work with complex ideas, to innovate and work with people who are different from ourselves. This month LTAW will feature the skills named in the report and give you ideas for how you can attain these additional abilities.

According to a report conducted by Hay Group, 20 years from now leaders will need a whole new set of skills and abilities.

The table below outlines how leadership will differ in the future.

The New Leader Table
Work will be global, virtual, and technology fueled. Workers will be multi-cultural, multi-generational, gender diverse, with greater demands to balance work and home.  The idea of loyalty to the boss, the job or the organization is a moving target with individuals following paths that give them personal satisfaction. Money and promotions will not as important as the ability to work with interesting people on interesting projects.  Leaders will have to take accountability to the next step which is “stewardship”. Peter Block defines stewardship as “the willingness to be held accountable for the well-being of the larger organization by operating in service, rather than control, of those around us.”

What does this mean for leaders?  They will need to:

  • Better handle ambiguity and change; possessing the ability to be curious and “intellectually open”
  • Have high levels of emotional intelligence (self- awareness, self- management, awareness of others, empathy)
  • Be conceptual thinkers with the ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts
  • See the big picture while managing the details
  • Be interculturally competent

Even today the person who has the most subject matter knowledge is not always the best pick to lead the team. In the future it will be more important for leaders to know how to mobilize and motivate people, collaborate and create strong networks and be able to stay centered in the wake of rapid fire change.

Futurize Your Skills!