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Global Women of Impact

Diverse Minds | Bold Disruptors | Meaningful Impact

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  • Multiculturalism: The Role of Active Listening In A Diverse Workplace

    Do you ever find yourself forgetting the name of someone you were introduced to at a networking event or lunch meeting? If so, you're not alone. Most studies suggest that the average person only remembers between 25% to 50% of what they hear, making it likely that your boss, colleagues, or customers may retain less than half of the conversation you have with them. The problem isn't necessarily a lack of memory, but rather a lack of effective listening skills. This is particularly true in today's diverse workforce, where teams often include individuals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Even if everyone speaks the same language, differences in dialects and speech patterns can make listening and understanding more challenging. To optimize performance in multicultural work environments, active listening—a term used by experts to describe the attentive listening required to understand the true meaning of someone's words—is necessary. To effectively communicate across cultures, it is important to listen with empathy, which involves connecting with a person's feelings and thoughts. According to multicultural expert and managing partner of Global Novations, Janet Reid, building multicultural muscle is necessary to listen to the cadence and rhythm of different cultures, rather than simply talking over people with a knee-jerk reaction. Procter & Gamble's "Cultures At Work" training program teaches employees about the differences between low-context cultures—such as German, Italian, and American—which tend to be more verbal and characterized by fast-paced conversations, and high-context cultures—such as those in Asia—which tend to be more reserved and deferential. Understanding and respecting these differences is essential to being a sensitive and patient cross-cultural listener. Failure to listen carefully to others can lead to incorrect assumptions and misunderstandings. For example, imagine a white team leader has to select a team to work on a new project. They might just pick whoever they think is best for the team, only for an African American employee to see the team is all white. Do we automatically assume discrimination is at play? Is it ignorance? An accident of miscommunication? Cross-cultural training programs are needed to build better multicultural muscle and better communication skills like active and empathetic listening. By taking the time to truly listen and understand different perspectives, conflicts like the example above can be avoided or better worked through, leading to a more successful and harmonious workplace. Mona Lou International strives to enable globally diverse corporate work teams and their leaders to function harmoniously with a deep appreciation of the dimension of culture, enhancing productivity, & profitability. We offer customized training sessions, coaching, and consulting programs geared to meet your specific needs. Do you want to excel in today's globalized world? MLI's programs can be just what you're looking for. See What MLI Has to Offer... Contact Me!

  • An Open Letter to Employers & Colleagues: Things I Wish I Told Them Decades Ago

    I am fasting for Ramadan, and there are a few things I would like my employer and colleagues to know. Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims, where we fast from dawn until dusk, abstaining from food, drink, and other physical needs. It is a time of spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and acts of kindness. As a Muslim, observing Ramadan is a fundamental aspect of my faith. It is a time for me to deepen my connection with God, seek forgiveness, and show compassion toward others. However, as much as I value this holy month, I also understand that it can create certain challenges in the workplace. For instance, fasting for long hours can be physically demanding and may lead to fatigue or decreased productivity. It is also possible that I may need to take some time off for prayer or to break my fast at sunset. I may prefer to work during the day instead of in the evening. Therefore, I would like to request your understanding and support during this month. As an employer, you can help by offering flexible work arrangements, such as adjusting my schedule or workload to accommodate my fasting schedule. This could include allowing me to work from home, providing prayer space, or allowing me to take breaks as needed. In addition, it would be helpful to avoid scheduling important meetings, events, or celebrations during times when I may need to break my fast or attend prayers. To my colleagues, I would like to ask for your respect and understanding. Fasting can be challenging sometimes, and it is important for me to feel supported during this time. It would be greatly appreciated if you could avoid asking me to join you for lunch or events after work. I kindly request that you don't take it personally if I am not speaking much. I am conserving my energy during my fast and will only speak when necessary. In addition to abstaining from food and water, I am also avoiding anything that may contaminate my spirit or hinder my worship. I choose not to engage in meaningless conversations or activities, and I respectfully request that you refrain from backbiting or disrespecting others in my presence. Additionally, please refrain from making insensitive comments or jokes about fasting or Ramadan. I believe that by working together and showing mutual respect, we can create a positive and inclusive workplace culture. Ramadan is not only a time for personal reflection but also a time for building community and strengthening relationships. I am grateful for your understanding and support, and I look forward to working and adding value during this special month. Mona Lou International strives to enable globally diverse corporate work teams and their leaders to function harmoniously with a deep appreciation of the dimension of culture, enhancing productivity, & profitability. We offer customized training sessions, coaching, and consulting programs geared to meet your specific needs. Do you want to excel in today's globalized world? MLI's programs can be just what you're looking for.

  • American Negotiation Styles: Key Points to Consider

    Negotiating is the process of reaching an agreement between two or more parties, typically involving compromise and concessions. It is a skill to master because it can help people resolve conflicts, come to agreements, and build relationships. Optimizing this skill benefits more areas than just business. Negotiating also allows people to better manage their own interests, increase their influence and reach mutually beneficial outcomes. The extent to which one culture is considered better at negotiating than another is subjective and depends on a variety of factors. Some cultures may place more emphasis on negotiation techniques such as compromise and collaboration, while others may prioritize directness and assertiveness. Additionally, some cultures may value the use of certain tactics, such as patience, or the use of humor, more than others. Ultimately, the effectiveness of a negotiation strategy depends on the context in which it is used. How do U.S. Americans tend to negotiate? When negotiating across cultures, many U.S. Americans fail to consider the customs and values of the culture they are dealing with. This ethnocentric viewpoint can result in their negotiations coming off as insensitive, unprofessional, and even offensive. One of the most common mistakes Americans make when negotiating across cultures is assuming that everyone else shares their values. This is especially true when it comes to the way negotiations are conducted. In the United States, negotiations are often conducted in a very direct and straightforward manner, without much concern for etiquette or politeness. This may work well in the U.S. but in many other cultures, this directness can be seen as rude and brash. In cultures that differ from the U.S., it is important to be more subtle and indirect in your negotiation tactics. Another mistake U.S. Americans make is failing to understand the importance of relationships. In many cultures, the relationships between the parties involved in a negotiation are just as important as the negotiation itself. Building a strong relationship and rapport with the other party is an important step in the negotiation process. Without this rapport, it can be difficult for both parties to come to an agreement. Finally, U.S. Americans often fail to take into account the cultural context of the negotiation. Every culture has its own set of customs, values, and beliefs that can affect the way negotiations are conducted. It is important to be aware of these customs and to be sensitive to them when negotiating. Negotiation is a skill that can be developed over time and each situation is different. It is important to evaluate your performance after each negotiation to identify areas of improvement and to build on your strength. By understanding the customs and values of the culture they are negotiating with, Americans can avoid many of the pitfalls of cross-cultural negotiations and can ensure their negotiations are successful. This understanding maximizes the likelihood that agreements will be fair and beneficial to all parties involved. Do you want to excel in today's globalized world? MLI's programs can be just what you're looking for. We offer customized training sessions, coaching, and consulting programs geared to meet your specific needs. From negotiations & communications to ex-pat training, we are your right navigators when it comes to international business, cross-cultural leadership, & team performance. We would be happy to assist. See What MLI Has to Offer... Contact Me Read This Article on LinkedIn

  • Is Your Company Involved in Global Mobility? Here’s What You Need to Know

    If you are involved with global mobility and take care of relocating talent internationally, it’s possible you are constantly trying to remain informed about factors that affect the timing of their movement across borders. Employees and hiring managers are often not aware of every factor that can impact the relocation practice. One factor to be aware of is holidays, like Ramadan. In 2023, the Islamic holy month is expected to start around March 22nd. This will impact the flow of many businesses and government procedures around the world but most notably in government offices in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe as they shorten work hours. The best course of action, if you plan on conducting business during the holy month, is to plan ahead. Time-sensitive documents, applications, and other matters should be dealt with in advance or with enough foresight to match the shortened hours. Expect certain processing delays that may not happen at other times of the year. Be aware of when government offices may close as Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated immediately following Ramadan. International enterprise, immigration processes, real estate business, and destination services are some of the main industries that are expected to be affected by holiday delays. Elsewhere in the World: Regarding COVID-19 requirements: China now only requires a PCR-test taken no earlier than 48 hours in advance and no longer requires the previously mandatory quarantine time upon entry to the country. Regarding Real Estate: Several countries like Ireland, Portugal, and Spain have terminated Visa programs such as the “Immigrant Investor Program” and the “Residence by Investment” Visas to combat inflating house prices, as well as housing shortages. Despite London facing increasingly difficult conditions in the real estate market, it still managed to maintain popularity, with Paris following closely behind. Real estate markets across Europe are being confronted with various concerns about inflation, political instability, and sustainability. Regarding Travel & Immigration: Travel in Germany was recently disrupted at seven airports due to strikes impacting passenger turnout. As per the ADV airports association, approximately 295,000 passengers were affected by the cancellation of 2,340 flights at Bremen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, and Stuttgart airports. There are still ongoing negotiations about wages. In the past year, US Americans' satisfaction with the influx of immigrants into the U.S. has supposedly decreased to the lowest it’s been in 10 years. This growing desire to restrict immigration raises concerns for global mobility programs. As the U.S. companies that rely on foreign talent are concerned about immigration, Canada is breaking their own records as it remains a top destination for international students and other immigrants. Finally, companies appear to be optimistic that the travel and mobility industry is moving in the right direction as levels of business travel seem to be catching up to the levels of leisure travel. Both are raising to similar levels prior to 2020. Mona Lou International (MLI) offers customized consulting, leadership skills training, and coaching for culturally diverse teams to improve interpersonal relationships and accelerate success in today's global business environment. MLI empowers businesses to seize opportunities to create more prosperous cross-cultural business relations and partnerships. We would be happy to assist. JOIN THE MOVEMENT CONTACT ME

  • 5 Reasons Company Expansions Fail Cross-Borders

    Understanding why companies may fail in expansion efforts is the first way to ensure your business is prepared for the challenges international markets bring. Achieving success in foreign markets is dependent on many factors. The first of which is Poor Leadership and Management Skills. Leaders need to ensure a company is on the right track—creating realistic goals and ensuring the path to achieving those are done correctly. Lack of focus, knowledge, or preparation can lead to other factors in failed expansions such as a lack of planning and execution, poor market research, poor communication, lack of adaptability, and finally, failure to get expert advice. Lack of Planning and Execution One motive for companies to move into an international market is access to new customers. However, what may not be understood is that, on its own, this is not a good enough cause to begin expansion. Companies must identify the reason behind their expansion and whether the move is suitable for them at that time. Companies must also balance the wants and needs of their product and their target market. There must be a solid plan in place to create a course to keep on par with competitors and those with more experience in foreign markets. A lack of planning leads to a lack of execution. Plans that fail to consider the cost of operating globally, that don’t assess the challenges of leading the necessary diverse teams, or that don’t complete suitable market research, among other factors, are not going to ensure the longevity of their business internationally. Poor Market Research Too often, a business will go into a new market assuming the interest in their product or service is just as in demand in the new market as what they are used to. They assume these markets are “under-served” and will foster great business if they can just be tapped into! They come with an already-made product that has been successful thus far and believe it will be successful elsewhere! Without conducting the proper research, assumptions like these are perfect setups for failure. You must know that your product fits the market you seek to expand to and what they would be willing to pay for it before you invest a great deal into it. Knowing how likely your clientele is to purchase your product, what influences their purchase decisions (like price and quality), how they compare your products to a competitor’s, or even if the company's product and ideals will be welcomed by the target market is valuable information. Conducting this research upfront can save a business time and money. If customers and clients do not understand or like your brand or product, this will only offer a painful lesson. Communication Barriers Already a major challenge for businesses domestically, communication becomes more complicated when a company plans to expand to outside markets. Language barriers as well as differences in cultures are important factors that need to be paid attention to. Employing those who are local to the market is vital to succeeding in conducting business in those markets as they bring in the necessary insight into how customers and clients prefer to be served—in both the product they want and how they want to receive them. However, you must be culturally competent enough to be able to explain the product to your diverse team that way, your employees can best communicate it to the customers. If there is confusion in the communication, you will not get the results you want. Failure to Obtain Expert Advice Venturing into any foreign market is a risk. Many companies do not possess the necessary competence to lead their companies into global expansion. We must acknowledge that the global market is a vast ocean, and if you are unable to ride the waves, your business can easily drown. It is extremely important to have a team of skilled navigators to guide you to safe shores. Mona Lou International (MLI) has a team dedicated to global expansions where they offer you all the strategies your business needs to succeed cross-borders. JOIN THE MOVEMENT CONTACT

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