Everyday individuals travel and promote business in countries that they have no background, experience, or cultural understanding. Hiring Managers may even sponsor individuals from diverse cultures, and have a limited knowledge of that particular culture. This formula leaves a large margin for error in cultural differences. I have overheard the comments made by co-workers while traveling abroad in foreign countries, “What I don’t know, won’t hurt me,” and “ignorance is bliss.” To counter these statements, I am quoting the opposite “What you don’t know may portray the perception of ignorance to others or other cultures” and/or “Ignorance isn’t an excuse, it is avoidable through proactive knowledge seeking and experience.” It is important to note that not knowing about cultural differences might even cause you physical pain.
In order to facilitate global business knowledge and experience for individuals who travel internationally (personal or professional), or manage an employee from another country, I am highly recommending a company called, “GlobeSmart.” If your company travels abroad or works virtually and does not have this resource at the fingertips of their employees then you need to challenge the status quo and begin implementation of this online resource. Although this is not a free resource, I am personally very interested in your feedback from using this tool and your thoughts on providing this as a resource tool for your company in the future. My company just launched GlobeSmart as a resource for our employees and I am willing to share my personal experience with you.
GlobeSmart provides information on communicating effectively, managing and training employees, and improving relationships with colleagues, customers, and suppliers from different cultures around the world. GlobeSmart also shows background on specific countries and cultural knowledge, business skills, local news and politics available 24 hours a day.
GlobeSmart Six-Minute Demo: highlights the benefits and features of their webtool.
Ernest Gundling, "Working GlobeSmart: 12 People Skills for Doing Business Across Borders"
CA: Davies-Black Publishing ISBN 0-89106-177-0