How do different cultural preferences, or frames of reference, impact diverse teams? They provide an essential starting point for teams striving for the highest performance levels – if all the team members know how to recognize and overcome the gaps in their preferences and leverage them for better collaboration.
Recently I had an opportunity to witness this in action. As part of my client strategy role, I observed two different teams from our client organization, each participating in the same Berlitz workshop, but taking place halfway across the world from each other. I was amazed at the dynamics of the two different groups. Both teams were engaging, passionate and totally committed to the organization.
However, as we progressed through the day, slowly but surely, local values, cultural preferences, nationality, tenure, position in the organization and ethnic identities came into play, and the learning outcomes for the two sessions were driven by these visible and invisible cues.
With these differences coming into play, what was really gratifying for me to see was that the nonjudgmental, neutral vocabulary embedded into our Cultural Orientations Model (COM) and Cultural
Orientations Indicator (COI) acts as a great foundation for high-performance teams to work on. It does not matter where you are in the world, people are drawn to finding ways to engage and collaborate with the diverse perspectives present in the room, and the COM and COI help them do just that.
The COM and COI help individuals understand and work around their differences in preferences, which launches them on their journey to cultural competence – a necessity for high-performing, diverse teams.