May/June 2019, Volume 3, Issue 3

Your "Natural Cultural Mindset"...will others change for you?

An executive who is on a global assignment is responsible for big things. They may need to open up new factories, lead a new sales team, initiate major company changes, and build alliances, whatever the project; it is a complicated process of acclimating and adjusting to their new environment so they don't feel like strangers in a foreign land. In this piece, we will explore your Natural Cultural Mindset, (NCM) understanding it allows you to use your native functioning ability no matter where in the world you are.

Let's face it, when we enter any new environment we always need to be cognizant of how to best work in that space, whether you are at home and working with a new team or overseas leading a global operation, the same principle applies, you will need to adjust "YOU" in order to work effectively.

Many leaders who are in charge of big things overseas think that those around them should adjust to their style of behavior. This mindset will disappoint, and leave you feeling frustrated, because people will not readily change who they are to accommodate you.

What made you successful back home will, not make you successful in your new environment. Back home you knew how to communicate with your peers, your colleagues, your customers, even the local marketplace. You knew how to behave, what to think, how to think, what to say, how to say it, you intuitively understand body language and the subtle expressions on someone's face and its meaning. You knew how to delegate, motivate and inspire those around you. Developing plans, setting up meetings, doing presentations were a breeze. You understood the timing of projects and how quickly or how slowly to move projects, you understood the values of your team members and co-workers you knew how to maneuver yourself within those value systems.

Doing those things were natural to you, you did them without thinking. That natural feeling is what made you successful in your own home turf.

However, when you enter a new culture to live and work, there will be a series of beliefs and practices that are biased and skewed by the local culture's Natural Cultural Mindset, their NCM, you may be unaware of how the locals think and feel, and they in turn, are not aware of the subtle differences that exist between their own mindsets and yours. This is because the people you are interacting with are on their best behavior and so are you. Each party is entertaining each other; there is a lot of politeness, and everyone is working at getting along. However, what both sides are seeing is not reality, but a glimpse of people at their best behavior. Think about a first date. At first, both persons are on their best behavior, careful of how they look, what they say and how they say it. The same happens when you go overseas on "look-see tours", or travel back and forth, or while you are waiting for your visa to get approved. These first impressions and early interactions are not real; they are people behaving at their best. Everyone is hosting each other. Once the romance is gone everyone is left with real situations to tend to.

This lack of reality from both sides, yours and the locals in the new culture that you will be interacting with, will actually cause you to believe that your "homegrown success" will work anywhere. Many times, you will not be able to duplicate that same success in the local environment. You may think that everyone will "get it." and may be disappointed when you learn that they didn't. For example, you gave a compelling speech to your new team and colleagues, they enjoyed it, so now you think you will be able act and behave in the new culture exactly as you did when you were back home. Nothing can be further from the truth. Chances are you missed the local cues that told you even though people were listening they may not have fully understood you.

Once the newness of being submerged in a new culture wears off, you will no longer be traveling back and forth, the "look-see tours" are over, you are now positioned in your new office and responsible for making things happen, this is the point when situations start to occur. You may become disillusioned and may begin questioning everything. You may begin complaining, you may become confused and your work may stall. If you are not careful an attitude of them vs. us begins to develop. I call this the Cultural Awareness Syndrome or the Four F's. You can learn more about it on my website,

If I can leave you with one tip, it is to be aware that you bring who you are to every situation. You can't expect others to change for you, even if you are their boss. You must be cognizant of the differing ways in which people behave, think and feel. In addition, be aware of the early patterns of social behavior that affect you when you first enter a foreign land. It's fine to submerge yourself into your surroundings and to learn as much as you can about the culture, but know that in the beginning of each assignment, you will be in a sort of romance phase and once it wears off, you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves, because that is when the real work starts.

You have own Natural Cultural Mindset, but so do those around you, begin early in the process to understand theirs and you will be well on your way to success, no matter where in the world you need to accomplish great things.

I end this piece with the following: You don't impose yourself onto a community, you allow the community to merge into you". Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2019.

Six Tips for Successfully Joining a Team

Being new to a company means you must learn how the culture of that company works. You must be able to integrate yourself into an existing team and be mindful and inclusive with all members. This task isn't always easy.

Over time, every group develops its own culture; teams have their spoken and unspoken agreements as to how the members function and how things get done. As the newcomer, you need to know how to integrate yourself into the group without causing any disruption to the flow and harmony within the team.

If you succeed, you'll be able to add value and most likely you will have a constructive, even happy experience. If, on the other hand, you face difficulties integrating, you could find yourself isolated, in the middle of conflict or struggling to get things done.

The six following tips will help you successfully join a group.

  1. Be yourself. Many of us feel insecure when in new situations or around people we yet don't know too well. This feeling can make us present ourselves in ways we think people want us to be, rather than the way we really are. However, it takes a lot of energy to pretend, in addition, you'll have to keep being different in order to not be exposed as a fake. Most people can sense when you're not being authentic, and will avoid you or feel you're not trustworthy. Relax, remember: you're fine just the way you are and people need to know the real you.
  2. Find out who the group leaders are. Whether the team has a hierarchical structure or not, there are usually one or two members of the group who lead, coordinate or keep the group together. Observe interactions between team members and before long, you'll see who has the most influence, not mention you'll know whose support you need.
  3. Get to know the individual team members. It's always good to show an interest in others beyond work, establishing friendships with your colleagues and team members can make you function better, you will feel included and happier. Socialize with team members during breaks or after work. In the United States, when joining a new group, it will take some time before you will be able to fully socialize as the group members must feel they trust you before they will be willing to fully socialize with you. But if you are authentic and respectful, you will eventually be invited to participate in activities outside of work.
  4. Observe how the team functions and respect everyone. It is never a good idea to criticize how a team operates. First of all, if somebody from the team created it, you could antagonize him or her. Second, you don't yet know why certain things are done the way they are. Find out what the reasons are for doing things before you begin changing things or making suggestions. After some time, you may find yourself assimilating the team's processes into your own ways of doing things.
  5. Be confident but not overbearing. Don't focus too much on showing your strengths. You've been added to the team for a reason, which means that your co-workers are probably aware of your talents and skills. Even if they aren't, it's advisable to be reserved and let the group dynamic lead. This doesn't mean you shouldn't contribute; just make sure that your contributions are delivered in a respectful and kind manner.
  6. Deliver on your promises. Make sure that if you promise something, you will deliver it. The quality of your work, the way you communicate and interact with others is more likely to make a positive impact than rushing through things for the sheer sake of it. If you find yourself in a pinch, ask for assistance or guidance. In most cases, your colleagues will be happy to help you, and collaborating with them will only help strengthen your relationship with each of the members.

I hope these tips will help you become a valued member of any team. And remember: the next time somebody new joins the team, extend a helping hand and make him or her feel welcome. A strong team is a cohesive team. Oh, and don't forget to have fun!

I end this piece with the following: "Team work is hard work; it's culturally bound to your surroundings, and to your team member's ways of doing things. Your job is to meld into your team and work harmoniously with them. In essence you become the group." Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2019.

The American Consumer – Part II

In our September 2018, newsletter, we spoke about the American consumer and how their spending and buying habits may differ from individuals from other world cultures. In this newsletter, we continue with part two of this series.

If you would like to read part one of this series, please visit our September, 2018, Newsletter, Volume II, Issue 8, which is posted on our website:

American's like to spend money, shopping is a past time, they like to accumulate things, for them having things is a sign of success. Unlike other conservative cultures who value saving, American's save too, but at a much slower pace than other cultures.

In this piece, I point out a few characteristics of the average American's spending and shopping habits.

The Orderly American – Americans are extremely neat and orderly. They impose symmetry on just about everything. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," is an American quote, and American's take it very seriously. When you drive around neighborhoods in the US, you will notice perfectly manicured front and back yards, Americans complain when a neighbor does not mow their lawn or keep the exterior of their home in a neat and orderly fashion. The inside of the home may not be as neat, but the exterior must show order and beauty. In contrast, in some cultures the opposite applies. It isn't that other cultures don't value a neat and orderly home, they most certainly do, but the emphasis is placed on the interior of the home and not the exterior. The public obligation is not as strong in these cultures as they are in the American culture.

The Optimistic American – American culture places value on control and acceptance of responsibility, but they also expect the results to be positive. Americans firmly believe that things will always work out for the best, even during the darkest hour and this idea affects how they spend money in the here and now.

The Conquering American – Americans compete with one another in the social world. The belief that they can conquer any and all hardships is a deep rooted feeling and the competitive nature of Americans places them in the material world, hence, the accumulation of things, especially, the newest, the greatest, the best of things. The American's mindset is one of "out with the old, in with the new," which is why their products have short life spans, before they get turned into the "newer and improved version."

The Progressive American – In America, life doesn't just happen. Everything is going someplace with a specific destination. Americans expect improvement, growth, and progress. More is better, bigger is greater, newer is best. In connection with the conquering the American, the progressive spirit of the average American drives them to always want to improve their surroundings, their homes, their cars and so forth. Most Americans gear up to bigger and better homes and nicer neighborhoods, unlike some cultures where one purchases a home and lives in it for a lifetime, even passes it down the next generation.

The Dynamic American – To an American, change goes hand-in-hand with progress. New and dynamic are valued more than tradition. Americans, like other cultures, also have traditions, but their ways of doing things change with time. For example, in families it is not unusual for adult children when they have children of their own to start their own family traditions, which most of the time may be slightly different than the traditions that they grew up with. The idea of doing things in the same way all the time bores Americans.

The Risk Taking American – American's are risk takers. Society frowns on those who place too much value on security and on those who refuse to take risks. This is why you may find an American say, "No worries, I can learn as I go." Taking risks and "winging it," are very much a part of the American way of life.

I encourage you to take these concepts to the next level and watch American's in action, better yet, watch American advertising on television, read ads in newspapers, listen to sales pitches, you will notice these deeply rooted threads of behavior and beliefs in everything they say and it shows in how Americans spend and buy products.

If you are interested in learning more about how American's consume, spend and shop, reach out to me at: [email protected] and let us explore how I may be able to help you pitch your product or service to an American audience.

Rule of thumb: "When people aren't prepared or ready to listen, communication can't happen. Everything in life is about communicating... it requires you to observe and understand your audience and their culture." Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2019.

Candida Marques is the founder and CEO of Global Arrival, A global leadership consultancy that helps global leaders acclimate quickly to while leading effectively in any foreign culture. Reach out to Candida at: 908-625-2267,, [email protected] so that she can help you and your organization lead effectively anywhere in the world.

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