TMA World Viewpoint 30: A Guide To Working With Difference

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When the term ‘culture’ is used, an association with ‘nationality’ often follows - French, Japanese, Chinese and so on. However, this is only one dimension of human difference and taken alone may tell us very little about the complex individuals we work with.

This TMA World presentation offers a quick guide to effectively leveraging all kinds of diversity within your organization.

For more advice on working with difference and the other skills you and your organization require to thrive in the borderless workplace, contact us today: enquiries@tmaworld.com or visit our website: www.tmaworld.com

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TMA World Viewpoint 30: A Guide To Working With Difference

  1. 1. A Guide To Working With Difference Beyond Nationality Terence Brake: Head of Learning & Innovation, TMA World
  2. 2. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 2 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Let me begin by first asking the question, What Is Culture “ ”One of the problems inherited from the past is that when the term ‘culture’ is used, an association with ‘nationality’ often follows - French, Japanese, Chinese and so on. Nationality, however, is only one dimension of human difference and taken alone may tell us very little about the complex individuals we work with.
  3. 3. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 3 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Let me define a culture, as follows: “A culture is a group that shares experiences and characteristics that shape how its members understand and act in the world.”
  4. 4. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 4 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Common experiences and characteristics facilitate the development and maintenance of shared assumptions, attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviours. Some cultural groups we are born into, and others we join or become part of during our lives.
  5. 5. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 5 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Cultural groups can be shaped by many different types of shared experiences and characteristics, not just nationality: Age Cognitive Style Education Ethnicity Gender Language National Origin Organization Personality Physical Abilities Profession Race Religion Sexual Orientation Skin Colour
  6. 6. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 6 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Some believe that putting together a team of people with diverse nationalities will lead to higher levels of creativity and innovation. Perhaps, but to be sure we need to look deeper.
  7. 7. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 7 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality We may, for example, have different nationalities on a team, but very similar cognitive styles. Unless we take into account a fuller range of differences, we may not derive the full benefits we want from diversity.
  8. 8. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 8 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Harrah’s Hotels, Resorts, and Casinos are focusing on cognitive diversity for achieving specific and defined business goals.
  9. 9. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 9 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality Once an issue has been designed, ‘Diverse by Design’ teams are formed. They use a brain dominance instrument to identify differences in thinking styles and make sure that their teams have different styles represented.
  10. 10. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 10 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality The kinds of diversity needed on a team will differ, of course, by business objective and context.
  11. 11. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 11 Working With Difference: Beyond Nationality The bottom line is that today’s highly complex business environment demands that we adopt a more sophisticated approach to understanding and utilizing human differences.
  12. 12. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 12 Webinar Twitter Blog Viewpoints and articles Publications Written by Terence Brake, Director of Learning & Innovation at TMA World. Our new Borderless Working e-book series About Us Visit www.tmaworld.com/insights to discover the latest thinking from our experts on global, collaborative, cross-cultural and virtual working. There you’ll find links to our:
  13. 13. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 13 Above all we’d like to hear from you directly, so please don’t hesitate to send any comments, questions or feedback to us at: enquiries@tmaworld.com Or visit our website: www.tmaworld.com About Us Visit www.tmaworld.com/insights to discover the latest thinking from our experts on global, collaborative, cross-cultural and virtual working.

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