• As a new manager, learn to “think globally.” Take an interest in international people and issues. Expand you thinking by reading and networking broadly.
• Take out several items of clothing and look at the labels (or get in a group and have everyone read the label on the top back of the shirt in front of them). Look for “Made in…” labels. How many countries are there?
• If one day you can go to a developing country and get outside of the foreigners’ living area to see how average people live, you will be astounded at how people manage to survive on so little.
• When you travel overseas, never buy foreign money on the streets. In many placed this is illegal and you can end up in jail, or you might end up with counterfeit money. Use regular banks, legal money changers, or ATMs.
• To understand, consider that Americans are much more individualistic than Asian and Middle Eastern countries. In those places, the person’s identity is closely ties to his or her extended family and many obligations result—coupled with deep ties of love. And people are always helping one another, with a strong steak of reciprocity.
• Remember that people from some Asian and Middle Eastern countries have more obligations with their families, while Americans have fewer family obligations but more workplace obligations. It all evens out.
• As a new manager, you must remember that understanding national culture is as important as paying attention to economic and political matters when working in or with a foreign country.
• Start watching more foreign movies and notice how people interact, what values are important to the characters, and what outcomes are desired. Watching foreign movies from a variety of countries will help you manage cross-cultural situations.
• As a new manager, begin soon to develop cultural intelligence so you can work effectively with people from other countries.
• How many of your friends are a different ethnicity than you, come from other countries, practice other religions, or are from a different socioeconomic class? How prepared are you to work with them?
• When you return from an extended time abroad, you experience reverse culture shock, which mean adapting back to your own culture, which is often more difficult than going away.
• Don’t get frustrated with people in high-power distance countries if they don’t take initiative or want to make decisions. Just realize their culture is different. They don’t have to be like you. Remember the saying, When in Rome, do as the Romans.”