Thursday, December 10, 2009

Leading with Cultural Intelligence, Business Forum, Oslo – November 2009

A few weeks ago, IMD organized a business forum at Aker Solutions' headquarters in Fornebu outside of Oslo. Martha Maznevski, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD and author of “International management behavior: leading with a global mindset,” came to Norway for the occasion.

Video from Oslo event

Martha Maznevski shared her latest research around the topic of “cultural intelligence” with the close to 100 participants attending the event. How does the ability to create an impact across different cultures by understanding the relationships between cultural issues, on the one hand, and business issues on the other influence the success of leaders today? What does the latest research say? What knowledge and skills do we need to instill in leaders? And what does it mean for a company? Were some of the questions discussed.

Bjørn Z. Ekelund, Managing Director of Human Factors, who has worked with numerous global culture projects, addressed how to increase cultural intelligence in individuals.

“Individuals in contact with people from other cultures, need the competence covered by cultural intelligence concepts to become valuable global contributors. If the company have more culturally intelligent people, the organizational structures processes needs to take these individual experiences into consideration, develop them in groups and refine ideas to challenge established strategies in the global market. This bottom-up market driven innovation processes, both in direction of products, services and strategies, is the most potentially important contribution culturally intelligent individuals can give the organization.

Annemiek Friebel, Senior Advisor Learning & Development and Astrid Hildmann, VP Learning & Development with Aker Solutions gave us the company perspective by discussing in detail how Aker Solutions had researched, planned and executed a recent global culture project within the company:

In 2009 Aker Solutions has started a culture connectors project. In this project they have trained around 100 employees around the world to play an active facilitation role regarding culture challenges in their global projects. The connectors are provided with tools and methods to improve cross cultural communication in day

By having a group of culture connectors being active in our company we try to improve our organisations’ cultural intelligence. This way we can reduce risk and improve opportunities in our projects and in the end our company will become more profitable because we will become smarter in doing business around the globe” said, Annemiek Friebel, Senior Advisor Learning & Development in the Aker Academy.
to day business situations.

The evening ended with further discussions between the event participants over something to eat and drink.

Article about Cultural Intelligence

About IMD Research tool: Cultural Intelligence Questionnaire

Read more about Professor Maznevski's latest book on the topic

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