Cultural Integration Workshop
This cultural integration workshop is designed to improve collaboration and accelerate cultural integration process after a merger or acquisition. The typical scenarios can be but are not limited to:
- Two newly merged companies who need to accelerate operational momentum fast.
- To integrate an acquired company, making sure that there is a common understanding of goals and objectives.
- Improve collaboration with subsidiaries.
- To kick-start or improve the collaboration process with an outsourcing partner.
Integrating cultures in not about compromising. Actually we don’t believe compromises is a good solution at all because none of the parties involved get what they originally aimed at. With the Gugin Cultural Integration Workshop you will learn that there is a different way where we build on the strength each culture has. Think of the situation where you are eating a meal with a Knife , a Fork and a Spoon. The three tools are very different, but by combining their individual strengths you are able to eat a huge variety of food. Your brain does the cultural integration automatically. We want you to think the same way when it comes to integrating people i.e. from different companies, different departments, from different professions from different countries and so on.
Purpose of the Cultural Integration workshop
The purpose of the cultural integration workshop (which is actually 3 workshops) is to learn how to leverage from the cultural diversity instead of seeing the differences as an obstacle for moving forward.
Fear of loosing face, control, power and status combined with uncertainty about the future is the reality for most people getting involved in merger, acquisition or outsourcing. We usually don’t express our fears explicitly but wrap them up in typical management issues, withhold information and develop unnecessary personal contingency plans.
That is why it is so difficult to deal with integration and that is why it is crucial to have an external facilitator to take the parties through a process where they gain knowledge about how to cope with different cultures and embrace the diversity. We can easier get to the root of the tree because the parties will be more direct and open with us, because we are not a part of the political agenda in the companies involved.
The purpose is to equip everyone involved with cross-cultural communication skills, a tool to reconcile potential cultural conflicts and make the parties involved more curious and less contemptuous towards each other.
The processes, tools and techniques are brought to life by working with a real key culturally related challenge from the company.
The outline of the process is as follows:
- Determination of a key strategic and/or operational challenge that has arisen due to cross-cultural issues. Gugin will find that challenge together with the program sponsor.
- Identify examples where this challenge has influenced communication, decisions, operational excellence or motivation.
- Gugin plan the 2 1-day country workshops based on the findings. The workshops are described more in detail later in this document.
- Carry out the workshops in company/country 1 and company/country 2 respectively. There will be 2 instructors/coaches on each workshop where at least 1 will be fluent in the native language of the country where the workshop is being held.
- Asses the results of the workshops and work with the program sponsor on identifying and prioritising the issues we have to work with in the 3rd workshop
- Carry out the 3rd workshop where all parties participate. At this point both parties have a higher cultural intelligence so we can work with eliminating misunderstandings in communications, reconciliation of the prioritised issues, define quick wins, a game plan and success criteria’s.
The Cultural Integration workshops
The 2 first workshops “mirror” each other while the 3rd brings it all together.
The workshop for each group.
Dealing with culture and cultural differences is a challenge because like an iceberg, most of it is hidden under the surface.
The first subject of the day is to create an awareness of how our cultural background affects our norms, values and behaviour.
We then give an introduction to the cultural dimensions developed my Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, who also developed the dilemma theory which Gugin has developed further over the past 10 years.
This section is finalised with a comparison of the 2 cultures in relation to the issues raised and the typical dilemma’s they face in communication.
We present each group’s observations/frustrations to the other and explain each observation/frustration from a neutral point of view putting them into the Trompenaars’ cultural model.
We seek an explanation and possible solutions to as many observations as possible.
We end the day by refreshing the reconciliation tool.
PS: At least one of the instructors will speak participants mother tongue fluently, so that the team can express themselves in their mother tongue. All documentation will however be in English.
The Reconciliation Workshop
The third workshop is where we bring it all together. The participants are now aware of each other’s frustrations, why they arise and how to deal with it. They also have a level of cultural intelligence that should prevent them from becoming contemptuous and instead work towards common goals with an open mind.
We facilitate the reconciliation process, the identification of quick wins and a game plan for overcoming the identified issues. Our experience shows that the majority of cultural related problems arise due to misinterpretations of behaviour and other artefacts, so a greater awareness on these issues will boost the communications a lot.
After the Cultural Integration workshop
We wrap up all the findings, resolutions, agreed objectives, agreements and game plans and present it to the teams. We can – if desired support the teams further in the implementation and act as a mediator in cases where cross-cultural communication might be a barrier for success.
The ideal group sizes are from 10 to 20 persons on each of the 2 first workshops. Ideally all participants from the 2 first workshops participate in the 3rd workshop