Illustration of a man sitting on a smartphone looking up at a projection of cross-cultural flags
iStock/Feodora Chiosea

We live in VUCA times. Volatility is rampant across the political landscape. Uncertainty is what we live and breathe with COVID-19. The complexity of our new normal is confusing and stressful. Ambiguity seems to be waiting around every corner.

But with the frustrations of VUCA come opportunities for change and growth.

New digital solutions are making it easier than ever to connect with foreign counterparts. That means global business growth is no longer about the CEO learning a few survival phrases before his quarterly trip to the Hong Kong office. Now, anyone with an Internet connection might find themselves chatting with their counterpart a world away.

We’ll all need to learn more than a few survival phrases to make those relationships last.

Part of the challenge will be about improving general communication skills, but some elements of cross-cultural sensitivity will require a little more effort.

Is it right to believe that “we’re all just human beings,” or does that trivialize our differences?

Is it true that there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” when it comes to comparing cultures? Is it even right to compare cultures?

While cultural awareness is a skill with evolving definitions, there are some relatively solid points of conventional wisdom for us to start from. How does your cross-cultural approach measure up? Take this quiz to find out!

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Is your cross-cultural future looking bright? Or do you need a little more practice?

It never hurts to brush up on communication techniques or cultural understanding. So if you didn’t get the score you were hoping for, don’t despair! Read up a little on cross-culture, and then try again!

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