Creating Positive Change in a Cross-Cultural Setting
Change can be slow or immediate, inspiring or disruptive, efficient or costly. The difference between positive, catalytic growth and rampant, frenzied upheaval has everything to do with how the change is being managed. No one knows this better than the executive teams of multinational firms.
Effective global leaders understand that the truest test of their mettle is leading in times of rapid change across geographies, time zones, and cultures. The best ones are proactive with a keen awareness of how change is translated and manifested down the ladders and throughout the cultures in their organization. They know the way to manage change isn’t to avoid it, but to prepare for it like they do all aspects of business, with thoughtful attention to communicative strategy and cultural repercussions.
For global companies, developing a successful change management strategy involves looking at it through several cultural lenses. Failure to do so disengages those who could be most affected by the change and undermines the potential for a globally connected workforce.
For example, in some parts of the world, change means dismantling some hierarchic concepts in order to increase competition and exploit the benefits of innovative risk-taking. In others, change means creating a transparent work environment where information and ideas flow freely throughout every level of an organization, and employees are empowered to work together to solve common problems.
At Professional Passport, we work with our clients to tailor a cross-cultural change-management process that:
- Analyzes change by asking critical questions directed at the desired result.
- Engages in serious self-reflection and promotes focused leadership.
- Constructs change on an incremental and intentional level with a priority-directed strategy built on progressive steps.
- Communicates change with clear language that encourages understanding and support for the desired result, thereby increasing the buy-in for the strategy.
- Drives change by forming a guiding coalition, communicating urgency, and establishing clear change milestones.
- Sustains change by normalizing discomfort, practicing new leadership styles, and rewarding new behaviors.
- Evaluates change against the established milestones and clear success metrics companies can engage again in analyzing, then driving the next iteration.
Just because the leaders of multinational companies must (or should) have a global mindset, it doesn’t mean their employees necessarily will. Managing change across cultures is about understanding comfort zones and creating a trustworthy, communicative environment that invites those comfort zones to grow, overlap, and engage to their fullest potential. That, in essence, is why we are here.
Learn how we've helped countless companies manage cross-cultural change successfully, and contact us to find out what we can do for you.