Home > Blog > Communicating across Differences

Communicating across Differences

Posted by admin on September 16, 2012

The Five Chairs Workshop run by Impronta Coach Louise Evans, is an engaging way to improve cross-team conversations with a focus on individual needs.

Not so long ago I was working with Alex, a newly appointed Area Manager of a new team that consisted of 12 different nationalities based in eight European countries.  Alex had a naturally democratic style, an open and engaging manner and had no doubt he could make a success of the job.coaching_workshop.jpg  However, he soon discovered that something wasn't working. For instance, in some cultures it is simply unheard of to say 'no' to the boss. The result was that projects Alex thought were beetling along successfully had not been started. One manager in the area had been less than confident about how to make it work and felt he couldn't ask for Alex's help without losing face. At the same time, Alex discovered that the word 'urgent' did not always have the sense of immediacy that is common in Anglo-American cultures. Within a short space of time Alex's targets, that were always tough, were disappearing over the horizon. His democratic leadership segued into autocracy and he realised that much against his natural tendency, he was becoming anxious and brittle. As I had been Alex's coach in the past, he turned again to Impronta for support.

We ran a workshop based on Philip Roskinski's cross-cultural model to allow people to understand each other better and to encourage different conversations. It was a success and within a short time targets were back on track and Alex reinstated as a talented Leader this time with new models and tools to support his team management that gave him improved credibillity and appropriate authority.

Recently, I was delighted to be introduced to another excellent approach to cross-cultural issues by Impronta Coach, Louise Evans. She calls her workshop, The Road to Connection and the model she uses "The Five Chairs".  It focuses very much on our responses to worldviews and conversational styles that are different from our own and the internal conflict and resulting clashes that can arise as a result. It also fosters better understanding of individual needs and how these needs can be met.

I encourage you to try Louise's workshop. It is fun, engaging and beneficial for any team that includes potentially  clashing personalities, a mix of cultures, varying aspirations, diverse ambitions and communication styles that don't always gel.  Yes, we know - that's just about every team on the planet at some stage of its development!

Click here for more information.The_Road_to_Connection.pdf

Edwina Biucchi, edwina.biucchi@impronta.co.uk