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Our understanding of intercultural training

On the face of it, everything would seem quite simple: a few cultural eccentricities here, a few tips and anecdotes there, a couple of pleasant exercises thrown in to round it all out well – and your training session is all set! That’s the impression you would get from a good number of training proposals, and we have met clients who have expected as much of ours. You can and should expect much more!

What we avoid
What we strive for
Addressing the conflict between credibility and complexity

 

What we avoid

The term “intercultural training” does not fully communicate what we do. It may mislead one to think that intercultural competence can be conveyed merely by imparting some specific knowledge and through exercises.

The original definition of training is “to make proficient with specialized instruction and practice”. This proficiency is expected to be transferred to real-life situations.

By way of this approach, deceptive intercultural training proposals of the kind from which we distance ourselves are rapidly created, e.g., “How to Do Business in 99 Cultures”. This method also implies a knowledge gradient that, in practice, impacts negatively on the learning process.

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What we strive for

The majority of our clients are people who are required to perform efficiently in accelerated globalized work processes. This is done in mobile environments where they face the pressure of having to learn ever faster. They switch between cultural affiliations (country, region, organization, profession, team, etc.) and must often make decisions which carry far-reaching consequences.

Our understanding of intercultural training therefore always takes into consideration the manifold impact of the individual, the organization, the prevailing circumstances and cultures on work processes.

In practice, people often turn to us under duress: expats for whom intercultural training is the only non fact-oriented preparation for a long-term assignment; teams that operate globally under extreme pressure to succeed; specialists who are suddenly required to manage staff not only in another country but another language.

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Addressing the conflict between credibility and complexity

To meet our clients’ needs, it may often be necessary to shift between training, coaching or consulting modes. A convincing and authentic switch between different methods and addressing the area of conflict between credibility and complexity are the distinguishing features of high quality intercultural training.

Though we use the familiar term “intercultural training”, we are aware that our clients often expect elements of consulting and coaching as well.

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intercultures | Services | Culture-specific training | Our understanding of intercultural training

 

 

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