Af Søren Brinch
Direktør & Partner
International companies usually face cross-cultural challenges. This leadership task cannot be overstated.
Different strokes for different folks?
Leaders often find that people react very differently to challenges due to cultural differences. People are motivated by very different input, which can lead to very different behavior.
The only way to deal with cultural diversity is to make a cultural framework statement explicitly in the company values. This becomes the focal point for how we interact individually and in teams across borders of culture, competences and countries.
Thus, the company values must have a much deeper rationale than "We will enjoy ourselves" or "We will be loyal" etc. Statements like this produce no value for customers because they are not aligned with the customer's value chain.
In my professional life, I have seen many examples of rather dubious company value statements. However, I have also seen brilliant ones! Statements that guide value-adding behavior towards the customer's value chain.
One of the best examples I know, is that of the Danish consulting company NIRAS: Listen - Learn - Deliver. Values like these make sense to customers and employees both - and they express that customers are to be taken seriously. At the same time, these values make sense across cultures and nationalities - and the employees can adapt them in a meaningful way, regardless of their work place.
That is what leadership is really about. Facilitating a process of translating company values to human and organizational behavior across cultures.
In PROSUM we know, that the way towards success is to create company values that have effect, not affect!
What are your company values?
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