Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Just a quick post with a link to an article on how badly things can go wrong when you don't pay attention to all aspects of the cultural values of a country. Most people don't realise how deep Russians' feelings for the Orthodox church is, until they get it wrong. Well worth a read!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


I suppose it's "traditional" to post a New Year welcome message, so I thought I'd start off by looking at where people are moving to.

Apart from the traditional "oil" expats in Nigeria, Middle East and Central Asia, we've seen Brazil and Argentina become much more popular destinations for business expats. India and China remain frequent subjects for the training I'm involved in, although the number of actual expats seems to be in decline - more and more companies seem to prefer either using local management companies, or relying on a combination of visits and remote management. This is particularly true for companies in Russia, where the soaring cost of expat life, along with perceived security issues makes people reluctant to move their families to Russia.

At Farnham Castle we have been doing a lot more in intercultural personal development in recent months. More and more companies are recognising that cultural misunderstandings are effecting their productivity. The main change is that attendees on our courses have become more outwardly focussed. Historically, the focus has been "getting on with" colleagues, but more and more frequently we are asked to help develop relationships with business partners, clients, suppliers and governments, and more commonly the training is aimed at a global or regional work, rather than with a specific culture. For the future I can see that anyone working internationally is going to be expected to have global skills, and knowledge of a single specific market is likely to be much less valued.