The Chance of Differences!

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Cultural diversity, uncommon behaviors, unexpected comments…..welcome to the world of science!

As we all know, the work environment of a scientist consists of interacting with people from different cultures on a daily basis. If we are “lucky”, the cultures do not differ in essential world-views or paradigms. If they do conflict, it can get interesting.

I am sure everyone has experienced moment of awkwardness when paradigms clash. It creates uncomfortable feelings and insecurity – what to do now? How to respond? He is wrong, I am right!

What about becoming curious about these differences and investigating the root of behavior and ideas that make us uncomfortable. Wouldn’t it be fun if we could just turn it around at that point and discuss the differences in communication styles in a curious way?

Naming what is going on with a curious and open attitude takes away the weirdness and helps to move on in a productive direction.

In an article about cultural differences in organizations published in the “International Journal of Coaching in Organizations,” Philippe Rosinski emphasizes the chance that different cultures bring to a team.

  • The chance of solving problems more creatively
  • Responding to challenges with a broader set of perspectives
  • Communicating with customers specifically about their individual needs.

So what about taking cultural differences as resources rather than difficulties that make it hard to interact? Granted, you need to become familiar with the different mind-set and behavior first before it can be fruitful.

Once you have learned how everyone ticks, dive in and fill in each other’s gaps with the things everyone does best – be it negotiation, meticulousness, respect for authority or a wide view on things.

Use your colleagues as resources and widen your own possibilities and options.

Let us know how it goes – we have yet to hear from you and your endeavors to create a raging career.


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