VOICE June 2015 - page 3

Similarly, a typical Japanese audience will not be
“unresponsive and disinterested” when you hold a sales
presentation but they will be “listening intently without
interrupting you.” While we are on the subject of paying
attention, I once gave a presentation in Guangzhou in
southern China to a small group of ship inspectors where
one of the older members of the audience actually fell
asleep! Try and put a positive spin on that one.
Well, as it turned out there was indeed a positive inten-
tion, at least initially. Apparently, that older gentleman
was present at the meeting purely as a sign of respect for
me for the fact that I had come all that way to give an im-
portant presentation. He was also there to rubber stamp
the process this meeting was part of. By closing his eyes,
he was signalling to everyone that he would not be an
active, speaking participant of the meeting. Of course, if
you do that in the middle of the afternoon after lunch and
you happen to be tired, there is a high risk of you falling
asleep.
The challenge comes in actually identifying the positive
intention – the rationale, the
why
– behind a behaviour.
However, even if you can’t initially see the positive inten-
tion, look for it. It is there somewhere. The strategy I use
is to ask. As long as one asks a question
with curiosity
and
a willingness to learn - as opposed to asking with under-
lying prejudice - you can ask almost any question.
I once sat to dinner next to an Omani business associate
who I’d been told had two wives. The person who had
told me was clearly very disapproving of this practice.
During dinner, after we had gotten to know each other a
little I started asking this Omani gentleman about his
family. He avoided mentioning his two wives.
So, with all the curiosity I could muster up, I told him that
I had heard that he had two wives. I then asked him what
it was like to have two wives. The Omani looked right
into my eyes, thought a little, and then said: “Expensive!”
We both laughed out loud. I spent the rest of the evening
learning about the huge responsibilities of a man who
had two families and nine children to support. It was a
real eye-opener, I can tell you.
What I have learnt in my cross-cultural work, and what I
encourage people on my workshops to do, is to be curi-
ous enough to explore what positive intentions lie behind
even the most frustrating or baffling of behaviours in
people from other cultures. I encourage people to take a
new perspective, to hold back on their personal opinions
and beliefs and instead try to understand the motivations
and rationale behind the actions of people from other
cultures.
In effect, I encourage people to look, look, and look again.
Did you know, by the way, that the word
respect
comes
from Latin and means
to look again
?
Book Review
Leadership-All you need to know
By David Pendleton and Adrian
Furnham
This is an interesting and informative book that brings
a new perspective on leadership in the 21
st
Century. It
summarises well the Primary Colours Leadership
model that has been adopted by organisations such as
Rolls Royce. The model focuses on what the authors
call the three “domains of lead-
ership”, the strategic, the opera-
tional and the interpersonal as
the areas in which leaders have
to operate. The practical appli-
cation of the domains is ex-
plained well in the book and the
research and psychological un-
derpinning of the model are the
basis for one of the book’s most
useful clarifications. Something
that I took away from the book is that while we may
need to operate in all three of the domains, as leaders,
we are unlikely to be excellent in all three - in fact
there is considerable research to demonstrate that,
from a personality perspective, this is very unlikely to
happen. Complete leadership, therefore, comes from
creating a leadership team with the complementary
skills to ensure all the domains are covered effectively.
I would consider this well worth a read.
Reviewed by John Frost
Managing Director Values Based Leadership
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
By Pellegrino Riccardi,
Pellegrino Riccardi was raised in in an Italian family in the Roman
City of Bath in the UK. For the past 20 years, he has been living
with his Norwegian wife and three blonde children in Norway.
Pellegrino runs his own company, and is a highly sought-after
global keynote speaker and course instructor within the field of
cross-cultural interactions.
The challenge comes in actually
identifying the positive intention – the
rationale, the
why
– behind a
behaviour. However, even if you can’t
initially see the positive intention,
look for it. It is there somewhere.”
Be curious enough to explore what
positive intentions lie behind even the
most frustrating or baffling of
behaviours in people from other
cultures.”
1,2 4,5,6,7,8
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