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The New Normal

What needs to change if 95% of cross-cultural communication happens online?

Since the pandemic, many companies and teams have been facing entirely new challenges.

The rapid digital transformation driven by Covid-19 has impacted corporate cultures, collaboration, communication, and leadership- and many of the significant changes have become the New Normal. The New Normal requires intercultures to collaboratively rethink the consequences of this transforming world of work and to adapt the trainings we offer in such a way that the content and its quality continue to meet the demands and expectations.

In an exchange with some of our intercultures trainers, different perspectives, and practical experiences in the context of the New Normal were highlighted focusing on three cross-cultural interfaces. The main goal was to adapt one’s own training practice to the new challenges.

Within three blog articles, we present three key aspects in an international context: 

  • How can we manage leadership expectations when one success factor online is Shared Leadership?

  • How can we simulate the informal spaces that are decision-making spaces in many cultures online?

  • How can we create virtual closeness in a culturally sensitive and culture-independent way?


Power Distance in the New Normal

How can we deal with leadership expectations when one success factor online is shared leadership?

Part of the framework for successful virtual collaboration and communication is to rethink the previous leadership model.  Managers from (organizational) cultures with high power distance feel that control online is hardly possible. Instead, it is a matter of creating attraction. Shared leadership

 in virtual meetings is proving to be a great success factor. One way to integrate this success principle into meetings is to distribute different roles to team members and rotate these roles among themselves.

Examples of such roles are Time Keeper (keeps track of time and gives rhythm and structure), Learning Master (records the most important aspects discussed across the various media involved in a meeting), and the Feel Good Manager (makes sure everyone gets attention, looks out for the well-being of team members, helps to practice inclusion). Leaders relinquish some of their control to participatory co-moderation. The distribution of roles, especially the appreciation for taking responsibility, help to develop a sense of belonging and virtual closeness. Since it is part of the DNA of intercultures trainings to link content and process, these principles are also implemented in trainings with participants.

Feel free to discuss it with us on LinkedIN.


Photo Credit Title Photo: Business people greeting during COVID-19 pandemic, elbow bump