About A World of Difference
In ‘A World of Difference’, cultural intelligence (CQ) will emerge as an increasingly powerful driver of performance and profits. Companies and organisations with cultural intelligence benefit from increased innovation and creativity, access to new markets, the attraction and retention of top global talent and a better bottom line.
Yet despite the importance of cultural intelligence for the success of today’s businesses, few companies understand how to cultivate this capability in their workforce. Filled with a mix of anecdotes drawn from the author’s personal experiences, and research-driven insights, this fascinating book assists leaders in closing this gap by providing a proven approach for improving global effectiveness.
A World of Difference is written for employees working in global teams and managers, human resource professionals and leaders of global companies seeking to minimise the risks and unlock the strategic potential of cultural diversity. Readers will learn how to develop their own cultural intelligence and that of their workforce, as well as best-practices for managing and leading effectively across cultures.
Cultural intelligence can help you to build a sustainable business that captures as many customers as possible and provides them with the best products, continuously. Cultural intelligence can accelerate you ahead of your competitors. You can’t lead in global markets without it. Companies without it are not even in the race.
“Menzies worked for Westpac in Singapore but has since established her own consulting firm specialising in cross-cultural management. She is clear about the value of cultural diversity in companies and teams but readily acknowledges that it presents a host of challenges for managers, especially when they have been educated in business schools that emphasise participation and give-and-take communication. Asian business culture is based on respect for hierarchy, and managers are seen as experts who provide direction and authority. Status relationships and informal connections are crucial. In Asian cultures bosses are also expected to be aware of the personal lives of their reports, to a degree that might seem intrusive to Westerners. Even issues such as the role of smiling can throw relationships off-balance. Menzies offers a series of anecdotes to illustrate her points, and what she has to say about performance reviews and providing criticism is especially interesting.
These insights are helpful but the real value of the book lies in the way Menzies cross-references management styles with cultural patterns. She also delves into European management attributes, with a focus on empowerment vs supervision. The final section of the book deals with the application of cultural intelligence, including advice on managing groups with a number of cultural groups represented.
Along the way Menzies cites data indicating that in Australian companies employees of Asian background are under-represented in senior positions, compared to graduate numbers. A wasted opportunity, she says, especially given the importance of Asian markets. Too many senior executives take the view that the Western way of management is the only effective way. Think again and understand the alternatives, says Menzies.”