Even an innocent handshake or extended eye contact is frowned upon in some cultures.
The globalized workplace brings great potential for cultural misunderstandings and embarrassing gaffes. That’s true not just for overseas assignments, but at home, where the U.S. population is projected to become "majority-minority" by 2042. Thus it’s important to know what is generally accepted by coworkers and professional contacts from a variety of backgrounds. A new book, The Cultural Intelligence Difference: Master the One Skill You Can’t Do Without in Today’s Global Economy (Amacom/available now), presents a list of best practices to pursue and taboos to avoid. Author David Livermore contends that an awareness of these do’s and don’ts is an essential component in building a strong CQ (cultural intelligence quotient). Most Americans say the country has gotten better at creating equal opportunities, but rough edges remain. Livermore is president at the Cultural Intelligence Center and has trained organizational leaders from more than 100 nations on this topic. For more about the book, click here.
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.
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