The Cultural Awareness Syndrome

Marques-the cultural awareness syndrome (2)-1

Stage 1. Frustration: The executive doesn’t get the expected results from their foreign colleagues. In an attempt to fix things, the executive uses leadership methods that worked fine in their own country, but don’t work in the foreign setting. The executive doesn’t know why. They blame their foreign colleagues for their frustration.

Stage 2. Fizzle: As progress stalls, the executive has no idea how to handle what happened, or what could happen next. They slowly withdraw commitment and their enthusiasm fizzles.

Stage 3. Friction: An attitude of “me versus them” arises, and the executive begins to dislike everything about the people, the culture, and the country in which they must produce results.

Stage 4. Failure: The executive may quit the assignment, or they may hang on ineffectually. Either way, their projects fall behind schedule or go over budget, and there is no end in sight.