How to develop your cultural curiosity

Without cultural curiosity we are closed to learning about others who are different from ourselves. In global business, this results in misperceptions, misunderstandings, and mistrust leading to missed opportunities.

Are you culturally curious?

Ask yourself:

  • Am I willing and able to develop greater cultural self-awareness?
  • Am I open to continuous learning about cultures?
  • Am I an active listener and observer in cross-cultural situations?
  • Do I reach out to others who are more experienced in working across cultures?
  • Do I seek to network with colleagues outside of my own country or region?
  • Do I enjoy trying to understand how my colleagues are similar or different to me?
  • Do I stay calm and seek understanding when I make a cultural faux pa?
  • Do I actively seek out opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from other cultures?
  • Do I invest time in researching differences I have with my colleagues?
  • Am I comfortable asking questions that could reveal my lack of cultural knowledge?

There is really only one way to develop your cultural curiosity: Be Adventurous.

  • What countries are important to the success of your business strategy?
  • What cultures do your key customers represent?
  • What cultures are represented among your colleagues?
  • What opportunities already exist for interacting with those countries/cultures?
  • What opportunities can you create for broadening and deepening your exposure to cultural differences?

You can usually start close to home: visit ethnic restaurants and markets, watch foreign films, find and develop relationships with work colleagues who have had more experience working across cultures.

Boost your ability to work effectively across cultures with our online intercultural training tool. Organizations, individuals and trainers across the world use Country Navigator to:

  • Help their employees work better with their international counterparts
  • Improve relationships with overseas customers and suppliers
  • Enable multicultural and virtual teams
  • On-board expatriates for global assignments

Are you ready to improve your global business success? Click here to get started.

About the Author

Terence Brake

Terence Brake is an author in the global learning & development field and has over 20 years experience helping executives to work better across cultures.

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