With a myriad of cultures in multinational corporations, research into leadership has been endless, yet not very conclusive. An old friend of mine posed me the question on leadership: “Could you please enlighten me in understanding how to lead a multi-cultural team?” So far we were pleasantly talking over a drink on a nice and warm summer morning. At the time I had no idea to offer. It initiated a long period of my research at the end of which I published the book “Leadership by Virtue”.
It was no easy matter. Four decades ago, IBM tried to unify corporate culture in her subsidiaries all over the world. Geert Hofstede carried out a world-wide survey on employee values with a very informative and demonstrative result. Based on his approach, Turner pointed out the problem of international projects and claimed that “when working on international projects we need to understand the approaches of different cultures to be able to work with people and predict behaviors, and not to give and take offence”. More researchers followed the same topic. A common conclusion of all those studies is: “we are definitely different”. And this conclusion is what bothered me the most. It is a common knowledge. To successfully lead people you need to find what binds the people together and not what separates them.
My research goal was to support the idea that, at their core people are similar no matter where they come from. The new leadership approach should follow these principles. This is why I aimed to find at which level we are “the same!”
For the complex mix of cultural, spatial and temporal factors in an increasingly globalized world, existing leadership and management tools no longer suffice. In my TEDx talk I tried to describe such a human behavior that surpasses what I have named “the cultural background noise” – a noise we, voluntarily or not, hear throughout our life and which normally, mentally and subconsciously, influences our values, ethics and morals.
It took me a lot of effort to open the eyes and see what I basically knew all along. For decades now I have been practicing martial arts. Martial arts in the Far-East countries focus on the martial way, on the mental culture that makes one with the body. In the Western countries’ perspective is more sports and competitiveness, winning becomes the main objective. But how and what martial arts’ philosophy has to do with a leadership process in multi-cultural environment? The answer is simple: martial arts are practiced all over the world no matter of the background, ideology, color, gender. And, for all of them, the basic philosophy stays the same.
The latter triggered and shaped my research toward the leadership that can bridge “the cultural background noise,” connect west and east, internal and external … as described in my book “Leadership by Virtue.” As I want to promote ans share this knowledge I will – for a limited time / EXPIRED – offer you to get it for free from STORYCARTEL. Please READ it and find for yourself if my discoveries can add to your personal growth …