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Celebrating cultures this time of year

If anyone within a company should have an appreciation for culture and the value of cultural competence, I would hope it would be those on the global mobility team. There may be numerous variations for the definition of cultural competence, but let's go with it being the ability to understand and interact effectively with people from other cultures. In a previous post, we asked, "Is your global mobility team culturally competent?" and we tapped into the sage advise of Dean Foster. Dean explained that: 

"Cultural competency is not a “nice-to-do” afterthought. In the highly competitive global market, if your competition has this skill and your people don’t, guess who gets the deal? Cultural competency is precisely the hard skill you need to compete in the 21st century, and it powers every global project and every international assignment toward success. And international HR directors are responsible for making this happen."

Cultural awareness is a key element to developing competence. An awareness leads to understanding and appreciation of differences and of diversity. It is linked to our own individual awareness and shows respect to and for other cultures. As you learn about different cultures, you begin to recognize that all of us are unique individuals, with our own backgrounds, traditions, beliefs, and social norms. Instead of generalizing, you are compelled to treat every person as a separate individual with their own strengths, desires, and dreams. 

Our friends at Dwellworks have shared a fantastic piece that will enhance your awareness and hopefully prompts additional inquiry. Check out "8 Culturally Significant Winter Celebrations Around the World" and test your current understanding of Diwali, Saint Lucy's Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's Day, Epiphany, and Lunar New Year. 

These eight holidays are celebrated by billions of people around the world and the Dwellworks blog provides only a glimpse into these rich cultural celebrations. At the end of their post, they provide some additional links to other culture articles that are sure to help you further down the path to competence.

Want to expose yourself to even more culture? You might also be interested in these articles:

What do peaches and coconuts have to do with global mobility?

 What's at the head, body & heart of developing cultural intelligence? 

Be careful where you smile: Culture shapes judgments of intelligence and honesty of smiling individuals

For the northern hemisphere, winter brings cooler temperatures and longer nights. In the southern hemisphere, the weather warms and residents take their vacations to enjoy the extended daylight. Either way, employees around the world commonly take a few days off work at this time to gather with their loved ones and observe unique cultural customs. Take a moment to learn about the traditions that your global teammates hold dear and consider celebrating in your own way as you explore other cultures.