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How to Achieve the Commitment You Need From International Colleagues

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

Inter-Cultural Intelligence improves alignment and the effectiveness of strategic decisions in Global organizations

One of our partners in the non-profit sector is a leader in integrating Inter-Cultural Intelligence into their organizational DNA. For over 60 years, every stage in their pipeline has involved inter-cultural elements. This article explores how they improved the effectiveness of strategic decisions by making Inter-Cultural Intelligence part of every team member's toolbox.


A Dynamic Inter-Culturally Intelligent Organization

As an early adopter of Inter-cultural Intelligence that sends teams into diverse contexts and cultures to work alongside local staff, they knew there would be even larger challenges ahead as they planned to globalize. However, they still faced inter-cultural issues, having recognized in themselves a natural cultural bias: their organizational policies were still very North American as a result of being based in the United States for more than half a century.

Once they began to globalize seven or eight years ago, therefore, they intentionally avoided creating a hierarchical structure for their international offices in order to mitigate the effects of cultural bias. Instead, they set up 12 staging posts around the world, each of which contribute people, resources, and expertise on equal footing with the others.

When Inter-Culturally Intelligent Structure Isn’t Good Enough

Intelligent re-structuring was a good first step, but the organization still tended to view the world and frame issues through a North American cultural lens –– and the resulting solutions did not achieve the commitment from international colleagues that they needed for success. As a global organization, they needed to develop a shared understanding of how cultural perspectives could vary and contribute understanding.

Recognizing the contributions that KnowledgeWorkx has made to the field of Inter-Cultural Intelligence, they started a program to put their entire staff through the KnowledgeWorkx Inter-Cultural Intelligence program.

  • They trained internal ICI coaches to take the material to the staging posts around the world

  • They sharpened and added to the skills of local team members.

  • They also integrated it with their orientation, training, and on-boarding processes.

By the end of 2013, 80% of all international personnel had gone through the two-day program. As a result, they began to see improvement in the feasibility and effectiveness of strategic decisions.

Improved feasibility and effectiveness of strategic decisions

Now, teams in the field spend less time trying to re-align poorly developed goals, and more time implementing the organization’s vision. Staff consider strategic decisions and successful communication to be more feasible, because they are filtered through more cultural lenses before being sent out, and presented in ways that make it easy to recognize their worth and significance. This makes the organization more effective as it trains people from multiple nations and cultures across the globe.

The clearly communicated and well-aligned goals that led to improvement in this organization’s effectiveness were made possible by the KnowledgeWorkx’s Inter-Cultural Intelligence program. Contact us to learn more about how your organization can make confident strategic decisions in an inter-cultural world.



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