Culture is not always the problem
I have observed that there can be difficulties when working with people from other cultures. Occasionally though ‘culture’ gets blamed for things that it shouldn’t. Just as there are difficult people in your own culture, be aware that there are difficult or ‘different’ people in other cultures as well. For example, there are individuals in my current project that are really difficult to deal with. Since these (several, unnamed) characters are from overseas, it has been the tendency of some Americans to blame these problems on the fact that they are from overseas. The plain truth is that even their fellow countrymen find them difficult, so it would be unfair to blame it on the culture issue.
This happens in all kinds of international projects and groups. Since conflicts are inherently part of the human experience, often cultural differences get blamed when things get tough. This is often an unfair transfer of blame and a convenient way to shirk responsibility (since we cannot control culture). The declaration that things don’t work because of cultural differences is often a signal of resignation and a statement that we just don’t think that things will work.
The more successful team members among us don’t allow themselves the convenience of this kind of resignation. They realize that even when problems occur, and differences exist, it is best to keep an open mind, and to keep working for common ground and mutual progress. Look for the best in people, and help them to be successful, and you will usually find a way to get through even the worst ‘cultural’ issues.
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