I have been fortunate to work closely with some very inspiring business leaders throughout my career. Starting my career as the right hand of the managing director of a global import business, I got to witness first-hand the power of working with teams spread across the globe and how some of their perceived ‘differences’ come together to strengthen a business.
Early in my career, it was important to learn some of the cultural differences when travelling and doing business with other major hubs (the gifting process with Japanese businesses for example), which really broadened my horizons and gave me a greater understanding and respect for the practices of different cultures. That said, there is a commonality in the level of mutual respect required across cultures to ensure that practices are successful.
I think there is sometimes a perception of large businesses with bases in big cities like London or New York that everyone is going to be English or American respectively, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is extremely difficult to grow a business globally without some influence from the places you are looking to do business, and there is always something new that can be learned from the experiences of other people.
Businesses are realising that cultural fit is far more about sharing values, goals and behaviours than it is about all looking and sounding the same way. Some of the outdated perceptions about the fit of people from various cultures, religions or genders within a business can still occasionally pop up when recruiting, but from my experience with Sharesource, there is a vast majority who knows the right person could be anywhere.
As we move into a more digital-based economy and businesses are no longer always anchored to a particular building or a particular city, it is really important to embrace and grow with the change. The ways we did business 30 years ago are different to how we do it now and will probably be different in another 30 years. What won’t change is that being open to having the best people for the job and for your business culture will always help you succeed.