Friday, October 29, 2010

The Fifth Best Practice and Cross Cultural Resolution

Dear friends,

As Cyberweek 2010 comes to a close today we will bring cross cultural resolution to the one issue we chose to look at in our case study.

The Fifth Best Practice is all about cross cultural resolution which flows from adhering the first four Best Practices. Best Practice Number Five asks that a person create an awareness within oneself of the issue at hand and of the cross cultural concerns that exist among those who are involved in the issue.

Applying this to our case study, we have Maurizio who is responsible for procurement on the Monterrey jobsite. He was born and raised in Italy and so carries the national cultural values to his work. There are many ways to name and to assess a national cultural value. One way is to look at a culture's value of a manager as a facilitator or as an expert. Here the Italian value of a manager is far closer to valuing the manager as an expert and fairly distant from valuing a manager as a facilitator. So it is likely that Maruizio will see his responsiblity for procurement as flowing from his expertise. For Maurizio it is likely that he sees the group that reports directly to him as depending upon him for his expertise. Edwin, the Assistant Manager for Mexico is Norwegian and so carries into his work his Norwegian cultural values. Edwin then highly values the manager as a facilitator and manages all of those reporting to him as a facilitator, and not as the expert in each area. Aimee who is responsible for all engineering is Belgian and in carrying his Belgian cultural values to his work sees a manager more as a facilitator but as strongly as Edwin. Samir is from India and as he carries his national cultural values to his work sees a manager in nearly the same way or more strongly so as Maurizio. This means that for Samir a manager is the expert for those who report to him.

As the management team approaches resolving the one issue that we have raised from the case study, each team manager will then understand his role as a manager in an entirely different manner. To bring c orss cultural resolution to the delivery of low grade materials to the Monterrey jobsite, it is fundamental that each manager not only understand his own cultural value of a manager but also the cultural value of a manager that each person on the management team brings to the team. As Edwin strongly believes in his role as a manager-facilitator, he will empower Maurizio and each management team member to look at his part of the responsibility for resolution. This means, that Edwin will not challenge Maurizio's nor Samir's authority as that could bring a break in the communicatiuon within the management team. Edwin will choose words and behaviors that lead to empowering the team members to work collaboratively with each other toward quickly bringing in an appropraite grade of raw material and assuring the return of below grade raw materials likely at the vendor's expense.

The goal of the Best Practices is to create a cross culturally collaborative global work team which maximizes the present work opportunity for all on the global work team. Here our management team, as culturally diverse as they are learn to collaborate across their national cultural values differences to resolve issues on a daily basis. We did a very brief analysis here. For more time on this and perhaps other case issues you may see, please contact me.

It has been a pure joy to write this blog daily in support of Cyberweek 2010 at U Mass, Amherst. Our global work place requires a working population globally that is skilled in working through cyberspace.

Warm regards,


Jane Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services, Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why is the Issue Noted a Cross Cultural Issue?

Dear friends,

This is the question we look at today. Why is the delivery of below grade raw materials at the jobsite in Monterrey a cross cultural issue?

The simple anwer is that the mixture of national cultures and their widely varying values means within the mangement team alone, the individuals on the management team will very likely see and understand the issue from very different sets of work place values. The workplace values of a Norwegian will lead Edwin to easily bypass workplace hierarchy for himself and for those that work with him, in order to get the answer to why the below grade materials are being delivered. The workplace values of Maurizio the Italian member who is responsible for procurement will guide Maurizio to see the that hierarchy in the workplace is extremely important and to be followed in all situations. The workplace values of Samir the head of engineering for the project will guide Samir to see that hierarchy is always valuable and that all details must be channeled through the appropriate individuals. The national cultural workplace values seen very simply in these three gentlemen demonstrates the wide range of cultural workplace values that exist. Thus if the manager of procurement handles the matter in his way, his way could create a lack of understanding from some of his fellow mangement team members, and also perhaps from some of the entire workplace employees. The lack of understanding created through one workplace behavior as compared to what another employee on the global job site may choose as a behavior leading to a solution leads to a global work opportunity where there is little understanding, poor real communication.

The poor communication and low level of understanding among the individuals at the jobsite is actually a low level of TRUST. Trust is fundamental to a successful global work site. Best Practice Number Four asks that each person at the global jobsite have an awareness of his cross cultural communication skills. The required "awareness" is created through knowing one's own national culture workplace values and those of each national culture present at the same global worksite. Cross Cultural Trust is built and maintained through the required "awareness" of the national cultural values functioning at the global jobsite and then choosing workplace behaviors that communicate "Trust" to each person at the jobsite. At times the trust creating behaviors will be different as is seen in the contrasting values of hierarchy at the jobsite. Cross Cultural Trust is the goal of Best Practice Number Four. Cross Cultural Trust is also fundamental to resolving the one issue we have singled out of our case study. The delivery of appropriate grade materials will be achieved through each management team understanding what is a cross cultural trust creating behavior for the members of the team and for each person at the jobsite.

I look forward to hearing from you on your thoughts as we have looked, ever so briefly at this case study during Cyberweek 2010 at U Mass, Amherst.

Warm regards,


Jane Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cross Cultural Case Study- One Cross Cultural Conflict Issue Examined

Dear friends,

It is already Wednesday of Cyberweek 2010. Here on the LiSimba blog we are looking at what is actually a case study that could be talked about and analyzed for many weeks in a client setting. We have lifted only one aspect of the case study for what is here a brief look at the case. We are applying the Best Practices to work toward a resolution of the cross cultural concern in this global work setting.

Yesterday in our blog we were introduced to the individuals who work on the management team for the Monterrey, Mexico, project. The introductions gave us many insights into the many national cultures and their core values represented on the management team.

We have raised only one issue which at first sight may not appear to be a cross cultural issue, but in actuality is a clear cross cultural concern on this project management team. Why is the delivery of below standard raw materials to the job site a cross cultural concern?

As we discussed earlier, Best Practice Number One requires that each person on the global work setting learns to understand him/herself and his/her national cultural values that are at the core of all of their work behaviors in the global work setting. With one's own understanding of oneself regarding our national cultural values, we are then required to learn the national cultural values of each national culture represented on the mangemant team, and of the those working on the global work setting.

As a result of Best Practice Number One, it is likely then that the core values of the various national cultures represented on this global work site are different from each other. Perhaps the degree of difference between the various national cultures is large enough, as such differences are clearly measureable through extensive research applied in such work settings, as Best Practice Number One teaches when applied in its full strength. With the varying degrees of difference in the core national culture values in a now normal global project management team, the cross cultural concerns become clear and are commonly in the double digits when counting the number of such concerns.

Best Practice Number One is fundamental to and informs all of the other Best Practices. Here Best Practice Number Two is important. This Best Practice requires the creation of a critical awareness of the impact (in each global work setting) of cross cultural concerns on the financial outcome of the global work opportunity. To resolve the one concern we have raised in this work setting it is fundamental to realize that the cross culturally appropriate resolution of this issue will have a high impact on the daily and long term financial outcome of the Monterrey job site . The daily financial influence will be seen in how one keeps the project moving forward on its daily completion schedule. The long term financial outcome will be seen in the completion of the project on time with no over run costs due to delays from many potential sources. These sources of delay, one of which is the delivery of lower than contract grade of raw materials to the job site, come together in the end to determine the financial success of the project. The knowledge of the cross cultural national cultural values of each person working at the site can if applied appropriately, minimize any risk of financial loss on a daily and long term basis.

Best Practice Number Three requires acquiring a critical awareness (on a daily and long term basis) of the impact of cross cultural concerns on the present and potentially future work opportunities. Maximizing this present work opportunity and thus hopefully creating more future work opportunities through the work collaboratively completed in the future in Monterrey, can lead to future work opportunities for all working on the job site.

Please apply the Best Practice Number Three to our case study, especially to our concern with the delivery of below agreed upon grade of raw materials to the Monterrey jobsite?

We will talk about this tomorrow on our blog and as we do, we are working toward the potentially cross cultural successful resolution of the issue we are examining this week.

We look forward to you experiencing our Simulation online which can give you a score on aspects of your present cross cultural management skills.

Warm regards,


Jane E. Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services, Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success
Telephone: 612-802-1240

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Best Practices in Managing Cross Cultural Concerns

Dear friends,

Today we will move quickly into the case study with the team I introduced you to yesterday, with the names and positions held by each team member. We already know that:

- John is the Manager of the entire Mexico presence of his USA based corporation and is
National Manager of the Monterrey site. John's office is in Mexico City where he lives as well.
John travels to the jobsite twice a month unless concerns on the site require his presence.
To that information we add the following:
- Aimee is the Belgian team member and he lives and works ouside of Brussels, Belgium. He has
taken the engineering position with the team as his company has the contract to do the
engineering on the Monterrey, Mexico jobsite. Aimee will travel once a month for a week to
the Monterrey site and otherwise he is available virtually. Aimee has a team made up of
engineers from his company some of whom are Mexican and many are German. The
engineering team is temporarily, for perhaps three years, living and working at the Monterry
site. Aimee reports to Edwin.
-Samir is the team member from India whose work is to create and maintain
the communications within the jobsite and to all other parts of the globe with vendors, end
users and all who wish to communicate with the facility in Monterrey. Samir reports to
Edwin and for three years will live in Monterrey near the jobsite.
-Edwin is the Norwegian team member who is the on site manager of the Monterrey site. Edwin
reports directly to John.
-Kevin Chu is the Taiwan team member who is responsible for all human resources in
Monterrey. He reports to Edwin and has a dotted line responsibility to John in Mexico City.
Kevin lives and works in Monrterrey and has global virtual contacts to fill the human resources
- Maurizio is the Italian team member and he is responsible for all procurement for the
Monterrey job site. Murizio lives temporarily in Monterrey near the jobsite and reports to
Edwin. Maurizio's company has the contract for the hunman resources requirements for the
Monterrey project.
-Andrejs is the Lithuanian member of the team who is the financial officer in Mexico, working for
the parent company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Andrejs has a home and family in Cincinnati, Ohio, but
for now all of his family are with him in Mexico City for the three years that the project in
Monterrey will require. Andrejs was born, raised and educated in Luthuania and is now a USA

Why are all of these details important in the case study?

The concern that has arisen on the jobsite is that there is a problem with two of the vendors supplying electrical materials to the Monterrey jobsite. The quality of the materials being delivered to the jobsite are a full two grades lower than what was negotiated by Kevin Chu and his procurement team. Secondly one of these same vendors is delivering the below grade materials at least two weeks late, so not in the timely manner set out in the procurement agreement.

With Best Practice Number One in mind as described in yesterday's blog entry, namely the fundamental importance of creating an awareness in each team member of what is a cross cultural concern on the global work site, what do you see as potential issues that will be part of the resolution of the procurement issues that have arisen on the Monterrey project?

Until tomorrow for further discussion and sharing of the case study for this Cyberweek 2010,


Jane E. Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success
Telephone: 612-802-1240

Monday, October 25, 2010

Best Practices in Managing Cross Cultural Concerns

Good morning all participants on the first day of Cyberweek 2010,

Today we will begin our blog time together by introducing to you the "Best Practices" that are fundamental to effective, collaborative management of cross cultural concerns globally. These
"Best Practices" reflect the scores that a participant will earn through experiencing the simulation that LiSimba is offering as part of Cyberweek 2010. The scores that each person earns through the simulation can be sent to Jane Smith at LiSimba and she will return to each person experieincing the simulation a personal interpreting the scores and giving an understanding of that person's skill level at the present time in managing cross cultural concerns globally.

The first Best Practice is creating in oneself an awareness of the existence of a cross cultural concern in any global work setting. The process for creating this awareness is:

1. Learn what your own cultural
a. heroes,
b. symbols and
c. rituals
are which are the outer view of one's core cultural values.

2. Learn what are the
a. heroes
b. symbols
c. rituals
which are the outer view of one's core cultural values, of each person and his/her national
culture uin the global work team.

During the week we will discuss a real life global work team and through that team's experience we will apply the Best Practices to create a global, genuinely collaborative work team.

Our team is working presently in Mexico City, Mexico. The team members all work for a USA based corporation whose headquarters are in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Team Manager, John, is from San Diego, California, where he was born and raised. His family came from Mexico two generations ago and have been citizens of the USA since the grandparents were able to apply for citizenship and become citizens. The Team Manager has created a virtual and face to face work team with offices in Mexico City, to manage the many aspects of a manufacutring facility which is located in Monterrey, Mexico. John reports to Derrick, who is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The chosen team members are from Belgium, Norway, India, Taiwan, Italy, Lithuania.

This is our team with whom we will spend the next four days and we will resolve one of the many concerns that naturally comes their way through their work together in collaboatively managing the manufacturing facility in Monterrey.

If you were John, what would be your first step after choosing your team, to begin to create a collaborative team through trhese individuals?

Warm regards,


Jane Smith
LiSimba consulting Services Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success
Telephone: 612-802-1240

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cyberweek 2010 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dear Fellow Cyberweek 2010 Participants,

What a pleasure to welcome all of you to LiSimba Consulting Inc.'s participation through the Internet Bar Organization in Cyberweek 2010. The activities available through Cyberweek 2010 represent some of the most creative and effective means of truly communicating through cyber space globally.

It is a great pleasure to be part of the Internet Bar Organization's participation in Cyberweek 2010. It is a harmonious, joint participation. The Internet Bar Organization "works to promote the emerging online justice community by using technology and the Rule of Law to promote human rights and to alleviate poverty". Presently the IBO's project Peacetones works on these exact values held by the IBO. Similarly, LiSimba Consulting Services work daily to build working realtionships globally for international business success, for all parties to each global work opportunity. LiSimba applies the Best Practices, created by Jane Smith, to work toward productive, effective global work sites where dispute resolution in a cross culturrally effective manner is a normal part of the successful management of each global work site.

Using technology as well as promotiong the Rule of Law, LiSimba Consulting Services Inc. offers each Cyberweek 2010 participant the opportunity to experience an online simulation, giving each participant scores that refelct that participant's level of expertise in managing work settings with individuals from many different cultures. The scores can then be sent to Jane Smith, President of LiSimba Consulting Services, and Jane will return a personal note giving insights into each person's scores demonstrating that person's skills in successfully managing individuals from all across our working world. Jane will also send a download of a portion of the chapter that she wrote in the ABA's book THE ABA GUILDE TO INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS NEGOTIATIONS, A Comparison of Cross Cultural Issues and Successful Approaches, 3rd Edition, Chapter 8, "Minimizing Risk: Best Practices in Managing Cross Cultrual Issues in Global Contracting", May 2009.

Daily LiSimba and the participants in Cyberweek 2010 will come to this blog to talk through cyberspace, about a case study, based on real facts and individuals, working virtually together and at times face to face to as a team to achieve goals for the global corporation that has put together the global work opportunity.

Please write to LiSimba through e-mail or this blog, any questions or comments, thoughts or ideas you would like to discuss that arise from LiSimba's participation in Cyberweek 2010.

Thank you in advance for spending some of your time with LiSimba Consulting Services Inc. during Cyberweek 2010.

Warm regards,


Jane Smith
LiSimba Consulting Services, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN 55364
Telephone: 612-802-1240

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Resolution for a Cross Cultural Concern

Good morning Cyberweek 2009 Participants,

As the title for today says, I am today offering you how the scenario was worked out for all those concerned. This scenario is based upon a real expereince, yet I have changed the names and a few recognizable details.

I had shared with you earlier this week the fact that the core of each culture is its values, seen on a daily basis through the practices of each member of that culture. Values have been described by Geert and Geert Jan Hofstede through the dimensions of culture, as I shared with you also this week. In brief the four initial dimensions that Hofstede used to measurably describe a culture are: 1. Power Distance (an individual's relationship to power and its source); 2. The value of the individual in a society and the value of the society (the individual vs collectivism); 3. Masculinity vs Femininity (assertiveness versus "modesty"); 4. Uncertainty avoidance and how ambiguity is handled.

In applying this information to our scenario, Henrik was surrised that the people who worked with him did not accept his and marta's invitation. Note that his thought was that he "worked with" these people. Even though he was their leader, their boss, in his mind they all worked together. He made time to talk with each Indinesian employee personally, on a face to face basis. With this private time, each employee revealed their own reasons for not accepting. The employees all expressed one common thought and that was that he is their leader, their manager. He is the expert in all things and they are all very loyal to him. They all had a low comfort level though in being close physically and socially to Henrik and to his family in the Johnson home. They were not comfortable with being close to what they saw as their "source of power".

As Henrik continued his face to face talks, during the course of work, with each person who had been invited to the dinner in the Johnson, Henrik learned the differing perspectives of the Indonesian individuals. Henrik valued the individual and was from one of the most individualist cultures in the world.

He also took the time to notice the differing approach to life in Jakarta. Henrik also learnead that huis own approach to "power" was with ease and tht he was very confortable with the sources of power in his work, community and personal life. He was very comfortable in having power close to him. He noticed too from his conversations with the Indonesian employees that they did not have the same approach to power. They were more used to having power at a distance and to a long distance relationship with the sources of power in their lives.

Another observation that Henrik made was that in his work while living in Sweden he was accumstomoed to having a working relationship with his superiors, meaning that his immediate superior in his company was a facilitator for Henrik and for all those who reported to her. She was not a source of all of the answers byt she worked hard to guide Henrik in his career where to get the answers he needed and to be self motivated. In comparing his work experiencde with that of the Indonesians with whom he now worked he noted many differences. First of all, there were no women managers in the Jakarta branch of the organization for which all of them worked. Secondly he noticed that the managers with whom he worked in Indonesia were more like experts for each of their employees who worked for them. This observation gave Henrik the understandings that an invitation to his and Marta's home was not in keeping with the more what expert type of relationship that existed among the Indonesian individuals, superior and employee.

These observations that Henrik made, both about himself and his working style and values and that of the people with whom he was now working in Indonesia allowed him to adjust how he worked with each of the area managers in Indonesia. Eventually Henrik had been a teaching superior for all of the Indonesian employees of the tea growing, processing, manufacturing and shipping organization for which all of them worked. The Indonesians had taught Henrik and his family how to live in a way that demonstrated honor and respect for the Indonesian individuals. Henrik had set an example of allowing the Indonesians to respect and honor him and his differing background. Henrik and his family lived and worked in jakarta for four years, before moving to trheir next assignment within the same multinational corporation.

Can you see how Hofstede's dimensions that desdribe how to understand a culture were discoverd by Henrik? Application of the dimensions along with work on learning self assessment allows for a potentially successful cross cultural global work experience.

It was a joy to write this blog this week as part of Cyberweek 2009 in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please contact me as I would enjoy blogging with you at any time. Also if you have not done so please experience the simulation and send the scores to me. I look forward to writing a personal note inreturn, giving some insights into your score set.

Warm regards,


Jane E. Smith, Esq.
LiSimba Consulting Services, Inc.
Building Relationships for International Business Success