Really understand your project
He agreed and suggested a French (independent) colleague of his could actually take our team through a facilitated workshop which would help expose the potentially different ways of thinking that existed in the newly formed team. What followed was an amazing if not hilarious day, where through excellent facilitation, we shared our ways of thinking which of course fell strongly along national lines.
Create your project ‘Mindset’.
We created an environment where my German colleagues could chuckle at our British mindset and vice versa without any fear of judgement or offence. We laughed and laughed at how peculiar we must appear to each other in the ways we think and do things. Of course, much of this hinged on some very deep routed, potentially sensitive, cultural beliefs, but that did not stop us getting a real understanding of each other far quicker than had we not set up this workshop.
Build understanding between collegues
I have one lasting recollection of one of the curiosities that my German friends observed of us British, when we are asked to do something and say “yes” how many times do we actually think;
I don’t want to offend or cause conflict so I will say “yes” as it is the easiest thing to say, but I really mean “no”.
Just think about it over the next 24 hours and I am sure you will be surprised. From that time on, whenever I said “yes” to my opposite number in Germany he would pause, look me in the eye, raise one eyebrow and ask me “is that a British “yes” or a real “yes”!
By Martin Gagg