Cross Cultural Sensitivity
Cultural Mindfulness leads to a willingness to be flexible so you can embrace the new culture you are fortunate enough to experience. Two concepts that are often causes of misunderstandings are:
Perception of Time
Cultures in countries with seasonal climates are usually governed by time or tight deadlines. Cultures in countries that are hot all year around tend to be more relaxed since the "sun will come out tomorrow". Knowing what drives your schedule is a good start. Recognizing what relevance time bears on events in the host country will help to adjust your expecta- tions. Planning with a realistic perspective will level expectations and reduce stress over missed timelines.
Some cultures base decision making on processes, rules and systems, while others base decisions on the current situation regardless of the rules or systems. A mix of these two philosophies on a project and the cultural differences quickly become evident. Arming yourself with realistic expec- tations and preparation will go a long way in dealing with the outcomes of decision-making procedures that seem unnatural to you.
Putting teamwork and camaraderie over deadlines and results can seem out of place to a western mindset. However, if allowed to, these opportu- nities to be challenged and stretched can create wonderful balance and new perspective on work, life and relationship.