When most people arrive to a new culture they are mesmerized with their surroundings. In the scope of culture, this concept is called the “honeymoon phase.”
It is quite normal for you to be intrigued when you arrive to a new country, but this love affair quickly ends when you must begin working with, living among and interacting with the peoples of your new environment. Below I share with you a few tips on how to manage this first stage of culture shock:
Arrive Prepared: – Your success depends on your being prepared. It is like hiking, in order to stay on path and accomplish your goal of completing the hike you will need to be aware of your surroundings. Understand them and your place in it. For example, if you plan to hike a new or difficult path you must arrive prepared with the proper hiking boots, appropriate clothing, have enough snacks and drinks so you can stay hydrated, same applies when you enter a new culture, you must understand the new surroundings in order to effectively function with your new environment’s boundaries.
Keep an eye on things: – While hiking, you will need to keep an eye on the trail. What do you see, is the path properly marked with green, red or blue colors; or is it poorly marked, or not marked at all? If you enter a new culture and do not understand the simple functions of that new society you will have a difficult time navigating your way around. Keep your eyes wide open to how others around interact with each other, it will help you prevent minor or serious mistakes early on.
Look at things from different angles: – At times during your hike, you may need to look up, look out or look around yourself; this allows you to can gain perspective on where you are. For example, watch how people greet each other in casual meetings and contrast it with how they greet each other at work. Pay notice to the local environment’s media, how do they portray business people, family, children, all these images are telling you what the culture values.
Prevent yourself from getting lost: – In order to not get lost while hiking you must look back. This is the point during your journey where you stop walking, turn around and look back, check out your back trail. Doing this prevents you from getting lost. You get a clearer picture of where you came from when you look back; this looking back process allows you to move forward. “When it comes to culture and your new surroundings, you must look back at your roots, the ways in which you were brought up play a major part in how you interact in your new environment.”
“The looking back process is most overlooked. When I work with leaders, I ask them to look back. It is one of the most important steps towards global growth. If you don’t look back, you can’t move forward.”
Look ahead, plan for the unexpected: We have “looked back,” now we must “look forward.” At times, during your hike, you will need to stop and look ahead so you can plan and think about where you want to go. Ask yourself, are there any obstacles preventing me from completing my hike? Same applies to global business, you must be willing to look ahead at obstacles that may block your forward movement, sometimes the blocks are small, sometimes big, but looking ahead allows you to plan as best you can for them. Even if you can’t change them in the here and now, knowing they may show up allows you to not be caught off guard.
Don’t do it alone: – Just as it is recommended that you never hike alone, the same applies to global leadership, have a support system in place in case you hit crossroads, barriers or obstacles. Sometimes in hiking you may come to a fork in the road and may need to think about which path is the way to go, or you may not be able to see far enough ahead into the path to determine how to proceed. Should things suddenly not look right or you feel confused, you may need to have others guide you so you can remain on course or pick a new direction.
Have a map: – When hiking it helps to have a map of where you are and where you would like to end up, it is the same when you are developing your Global Leadership Persona™ you will need to be aware of where you are, understand where you are going, and prepare for the unexpected. Your success depends on it!
I end this piece with the following: “Pay attention to your surroundings, be mindful of where you are within your surroundings. This type of attitude will allow you to reap the benefits of a more productive and invigorating work and living environment.”
Candida Marques – Global Arrival ©2018.