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Developing Cultural Intelligence

Petya Raykovska
September 10, 2022

Developing Cultural Intelligence

The business ecosystem around WordPress is multicultural and distributed. The strive for diversity, autonomy, and location independence that governs the open source world is what businesses have been successfully adopting so they can win clients all over the world and hire amazing talent. But why is it that even though global business speaks English, we’re so often struggling to understand what the other is trying to communicate? Remote companies operating in different regions, like the one I work for, often fall short when it comes to effectively implementing practices that seem to work equally well in the West and in the East. What drives success in the US and Canada seems likely not to deliver the same results in Central or South East Asia, or not even Europe. How do you navigate the minefield of culture-based misunderstanding?

In this talk, we’ll dig into some of the big invisible boundaries of global business and look at ways to help bridge them based on the experience of a former rookie who joined the Polyglots WordPress team consisting of 20 000 contributors speaking 200 languages on a whim, and at the same time found herself resource managing a team of 50 engineers and project managers across APAC, Americas, and EMEA.

Petya Raykovska

September 10, 2022
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  1. Developing
    Cultural
    Intelligence
    Petya Raykovska
    Director of Agency Operations
    Human Made
    @petyeah
    speakerdeck.com/petya
    humanmade.com/blog

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  2. @petyeah
    How late is late?

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  3. We all speak English.
    So how come we
    don’t understand
    each other?
    @petyeah
    The global business language

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  4. In the new reality of global remote businesses you need these three things:
    Intelligence (IQ) ✔
    Emotional Intelligence (EQ) ✔
    Cultural Intelligence (CQ) ✔
    @petyeah

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  5. Geert Hofstede
    Culture is the software
    of the mind - it’s the operating system
    that invisibly runs your life. The way
    you’ve been programmed to see the
    world.
    @petyeah

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  6. Now wait just a second…
    Is this gonna be another a talk on
    generalising and putting people in
    boxes? We are all unique!
    @petyeah

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  7. Stereotypes, ugh
    “Speaking of cultural differences leads
    us to stereotype and therefore puts
    individuals in boxes with “general
    traits”.
    We should be looking and judging people as
    individuals, not just products of their environment!”
    @petyeah

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  8. Look at the individual but don’t ignore cultural context because…
    Ignoring cultural context means
    judging everything with your own
    culture as a benchmark.
    @petyeah

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  9. Erin Meyer:
    CQ: An outsider’s seemingly natural
    ability to interpret someone’s unfamiliar
    and ambiguous gestures the way that
    person’s compatriots would.
    @petyeah

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  10. My two jobs in the last 8 years:
    Human Made Director of Agency Ops:
    Assemble delivery teams across 3 regions
    WordPress Polyglots mentor:
    Support 200+ volunteer translation communities
    across all 10 global cultural clusters.

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  11. Mission Impossible 2014
    How can you know all
    things about all
    people?
    @petyeah

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  12. How can you know all things about all people?
    You can’t.
    But you also don’t have to.
    @petyeah

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  13. Daniel Goleman
    CQ: A propensity to suspend
    judgement - to think before acting.
    @petyeah

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  14. It helps to want to learn
    Cultural Intelligence is emotional
    intelligence with a pinch of genuine
    curiosity about the things you don’t
    understand.
    @petyeah

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  15. Anglo Cultures
    Nordic European
    German Cultures
    Eastern European/Central Asian
    Latin European
    Latin American
    Confusion Asian
    South Asian
    Sub-Saharan African
    Arab Cultures
    David Livermore defines 10 global
    clusters in his CQ Insight Series

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  16. The Culture Map - mapping out the
    world cultures in eight scales
    @petyeah
    Erin Meyer

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  17. The eight scales of
    the Culture Map
    ● Communicating - low vs high context cultures
    ● Evaluating - direct vs indirect negative feedback
    ● Persuading - principles first vs applications first
    ● Leading - egalitarian vs hierarchical structures
    ● Deciding - consensual vs top down
    ● Trusting - task based vs relationship-based trust
    ● Disagreeing - confrontational vs avoids confrontations
    ● Scheduling - linear time vs flexible time

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  18. Communicating - low context vs high context cultures
    Can you read between the lines?
    Low context High context
    US The Netherlands
    Australia
    Canada
    Germany
    Denmark
    UK
    Poland
    Spain
    France
    Mexico Russia
    India
    Indonesia
    Saudi Arabia Japan
    China

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  19. Multicultural teams need low
    context processes. Non native
    English speakers should be invited
    to speak.
    Communicating - low context vs high context cultures
    @petyeah

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  20. Leading - egalitarian vs hierarchical
    Low vs High Power distance
    Denmark
    The Netherlands
    Sweden
    Australia
    Canada
    US
    UK
    Germany
    France
    Brasil Mexico
    Poland
    India
    China
    Russia
    Korea
    Japan
    Nigeria
    Israel
    Egalitarian Hierarchical

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  21. Trusting - task based vs relationship-based
    The Head or the Heart
    Task based Relationship based
    Germany
    Denmark
    US
    Australia
    UK
    Austria France
    Brasil
    Italy China
    Russia
    Japan
    India
    Nigeria
    Thailand
    Brazil
    Mexico

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  22. Multicultural remote teams
    need face time.
    Multicultural remote teams need
    social activities - even remotely
    Trusting - task based vs relationship-based
    @petyeah

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  23. Deciding - consensual vs top-down
    Decisions are made by…
    Consensual Top down
    The Netherlands
    Sweden
    Japan
    Germany UK
    US
    France
    Brasil
    Italy
    India
    China
    Russia
    India
    Nigeria

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  24. Deciding - consensual vs top-down
    In Multicultural teams the first thing
    you need to decide is how you will
    be making decisions
    @petyeah

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  25. Disagreeing - confrontational vs avoids confrontation
    Embracing conflict?
    Confrontational Avoids confrontation
    Germany
    France
    Israel
    Russia
    UK
    US
    Spain
    Brasil
    Italy
    Singapore
    Thailand
    India China
    Sweden
    Japan

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  26. Evaluating - direct feedback vs indirect feedback
    Speaking frankly: a gift or a slap in
    the face?
    @petyeah

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  27. Evaluating - direct feedback vs indirect feedback
    Frankness or diplomacy?
    Direct negative feedback Indirect Negative Feedback
    France
    Germany
    Israel
    Russia
    UK
    US
    Australia
    Spain
    Brasil
    Italy Korea
    India
    China
    Canada
    Japan
    Thailand
    Indonesia
    Mexico

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  28. Persuading -principles first vs applications first
    WHY vs How - the art of persuasion
    across cultures
    @petyeah

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  29. Scheduling
    Linear time
    Flexible time
    Japan
    Switzerland
    Germany
    Sweden
    Brazil China
    France
    Netherlands
    US
    Denmark
    Russia
    UK Turkey
    Poland
    India
    Nigeria
    Kenya
    Mexico
    The perception of time across cultures - linear vs flexible time

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  30. The perception of time across cultures - linear vs flexible time
    Punctuality vs Relationships or how
    late is late?
    @petyeah

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  31. The Culture Map is a Scale
    Everything is relative
    @petyeah
    Erin Meyer

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  32. Developing your
    Cultural Intelligence
    As individuals, as leaders, as a business
    @petyeah

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  33. Julia Middleton
    Personal values - your core and your flex
    Flex
    Core

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  34. Your Core and Your Flex
    Flex
    Core
    Flex
    Core
    Core

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  35. THE KNOTS!
    Flex
    Core

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  36. @petyeah
    CQ: The Paradox
    ● You can only develop cultural intelligence if
    people decide to share their cultural differences
    with you.
    ● They will only trust you and share if they think you
    have enough cultural intelligence to receive their
    message.

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  37. CQ: The Paradox
    CQ is developed by having the
    courage to have those
    conversations that make you deeply
    uncomfortable.
    @petyeah

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  38. @petyeah
    CQ: The Paradox
    Have the willingness to admit to your
    knots and either move past them or
    accept and acknowledge them.

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  39. @petyeah
    Some things you could do:
    ● Be willing to listen.
    ● Be genuinely interested in other human beings
    and their experiences.
    ● Do not perceive the “Otherness” as a threat. But as
    an opportunity.

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  40. Some things you can do
    ● Be aware of your knots
    ● Learn to make a fool of yourself - because you will
    ● Recognise and stand up to cultural intolerance - it
    doesn’t have to always be a battle. But staying
    silent is also not going to help.
    @petyeah

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  41. CQ
    Tune your head, body, and heart
    towards listening. You might not
    understand. But you will learn.
    @petyeah

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  42. @petyeah
    Developing cultural
    intelligence starts
    with reverse
    engineering your
    own culture

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  43. Petya Raykovska
    Director of Agency Operations
    Human Made
    @petyeah
    speakerdeck.com/petya
    humanmade.com/blog
    Thank you!

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