Two weeks ago I was talking to an acquaintance that I had made in a conference and I really learnt a lot from the conversation. But in the middle of the conversation after I have told him that I do cultural orientation in Rwanda, he quickly asked " How can you change Rwandans and get them buy easily the products because I have good products but they do not get to see that my products are better than what they are buying now." At that moment It was very easy to see why he was not able to convince people to buy his product. The big problem that friend has is the ability to understand his customers and communicate across culture. Instead of him trying to understand the culture and adapt to it, his big concern is how can I change Rwandan culture and have them buy my products.
This actually reminded me of the big difference between emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence. As Julia Middleton says in a TEDx video, emotional intelligence is not good enough to make you good with people because with only emotional intelligence you will be good with people who are like you ( people with whom you share the same culture). And for those who have a different culture you will always want them to be like you for you to be able to relate with them.
It is normal that people see themselves almost every time on the right side and the other person on the wrong side. But I believe that is only for normal/ ordinary people. Extraordinary people will always want to understand the other person even if it might put them in a humble position. But in the end they will be successful.
Recommendation. Whenever you encounter a different culture avoid quick judgement of the culture because if you do so you are closing your doors. Always be tolerant and seek understanding.
Cross Culture Traininer
What we do
Impact Route offers cultural orientation and cultural intelligence training to enable people to go beyond cultural differences and effectively work and relate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.