Globalization of the international economy has connected companies throughout the world. Partnerships have been formed, transactions have been conducted, and businesses have competed across broad geographical and cultural divides. Professionals who help guide these companies and their business activities cannot succeed without cultural intelligence and related core competency skills.
At M:POWER, we are passionate about training today’s business leaders and make it our practice to stay ahead of the curve to deliver tangible results for clients. Our “Cultural Competencies Program” is a cutting-edge and innovative course to provide U.S. business professionals with the knowledge and skills that are indispensable for working across cultures in Western Europe.
Traditional courses in cultural competencies have taken an academic approach to training: classrooms, lectures, studies, research findings. We take a different and far more effective approach. While our curriculum and training methods are derived from the latest peer reviewed literature, we emphasize the practical application of core skills and strategies. We recreate a real-world learning experience.
Our training focuses on role-play and simulations that enable business professionals to integrate theory with practice. We believe that innovation in training is essential to prepare business professionals for the challenges of the new paradigm of the global marketplace.
With M:POWER’s “Cultural Competencies Programs”, students will develop a strong foundation in these 4 core areas essential to the acquisition of cultural competency and intelligence:
1. Gain a keen awareness of their own cultural worldview.
2. Explore their own attitudes toward cultural differences.
3. Learn about western European worldviews and business practices in the core areas.
4. Develop essential skills to work effectively and efficiently across cultural differences.
Students will acquire and optimize their communication and interpersonal skills across all essential applications and disciplines. They will also learn strategies for overcoming cross cultural challenges and language obstacles that are often encountered during core business interactions.
Students will be asked to review written materials between classes consisting of short articles, exercises or other publications aimed at reinforcing skills and strategies presented during lessons.
On the last class, each student will be provided with a short summary of a business scenario requiring an interaction with either a European client or counterpart in one of the core competencies (e.g. dispute resolution, relationship building, negotiation, etc.).
M:POWER’s “Cultural Competencies Program” is a 14/18-hour interactive course designed for American business professionals who are working and/or seeking to work internationally with Western European based companies. Our course offers a unique, practical, and interactive training experience. We use simulations and role play exercises for skill-building throughout the course. Students will have the opportunity to interact directly with European business professionals to practice essential skills.
Most of the training courses on cultural competency take an academic approach, focusing on studies and analysis as the main source of information delivery. Such literature is invaluable to this field of training and we have relied upon the latest peer reviewed research in creating our course. However, we take a very practical approach to cultural competencies training.
CUTTING-EDGE TRAINING EXPERIENCE
At the conclusion of the course, students will have a stronger understanding and heightened awareness of Western European business cultures. Students will acquire essential skills and techniques to work more efficiently and effectively across cultural differences. Ultimately, our cutting-edge training experience will give students an important competitive advantage when doing business in Italy and within Western Europe.
All performances will be followed by a group discussion and constructive feedback session. Throughout the course, students are expected to participate in the group discussions and offer their impressions and insights on individual performances, which is an essential part of the learning experience.
As a final stage of the course, we schedule and conduct a one-hour, one-on-one consulting session with each student that will be scheduled to occur after the last class. The session is designed to allow our instructors to counsel and consult directly with students to ensure that specific learning objectives have been met. The consultation is also used to address specific job-related needs and to offer strategic counseling to help ensure the success of each student.
M:POWER’s “Cultural Competencies Program” curriculum has 7 learning modules. Each module is designed as a 2-hour session. The course can be scheduled for completion within a shorter or longer time-period depending upon client needs and expert/instructor availability. The following is an outline of the curriculum:
1. INTRODUCTION TO CULTURE & THE “FALLACY OF LIKENESS”
Critical and practical examination of culture. What is it? Why is it important? How does it shape our attitudes, beliefs, and interactions with others?
2. CORE COMPETENCIES OF BUSINESS CULTURE: COMMUNICATION
Discuss different cultural norms, communication styles of Europeans, and cultural differences in non-verbal communication. Explore active listening strategies to help bridge communication gaps across cultural divides as well as some of the most common interactions in which we are likely to encounter cultural differences (presentations, forming/building a client relationship, negotiations, disputes, and conflict resolution).
3. CORE COMPETENCIES: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING & TRUST
Examine how relationships are established and trust is built across cultures. Examine “cognitive” versus “affective” trust and how it impacts business cultures.
4. CORE COMPETENCIES: BUSINESS ETHICS
Explore global business ethics from American and Western European perspectives. Engage in a critical examination and discussion of ethical issues, their origins and how they are addressed across cultures. Examine cross cultural variations and differences in organizational structures and practices. Review different approaches across cultures to corporate governance, sustainability, and social responsibility.
5. CORE COMPETENCIES: RISK CULTURE
Critical examination of different business risk cultures in the U.S. and Western Europe, what it consists of, how it influences the behaviors, attitudes, interactions, and decision-making. Dissect common forms of risk analysis that range from strategic, financial, and operational decision-making to legal and reputational assessments. Discuss media relations and how publicity, promotion and branding are viewed differently across cultures.
6. CORE COMPETENCIES: NEGOTIATION & CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Focus on negotiation and conflict resolution. Explore different approaches to negotiation and dispute resolution by Americans and Western Europeans. Review diverse cultural expectations in both process and outcome. Offer students techniques for using persuasive communication strategies and methods to transform competition and conflict into cooperation.
7. FINAL EXAM/INDIVIDUAL CONSULTING SESSION
Student role-play exercises. Each student will be given a written scenario that presents a challenging that requires him/her to interact with a European counterpart, who will also participate in the role-play exercise. Each student will have 7-10 minutes to complete the exercise and achieve the objective of the specific role-play scenario. Each session will then be followed by a 5-7-minute group discussion with constructive feedback from the instructor. The final role-play exercises are designed to enable students to observe, utilize and practice the skills and strategies covered throughout the course.
Where feasible, we recommend that the final session be scheduled to occur in Milan, Italy. With this offering, we build a full day itinerary that allows us to complete the course with a full day of “real world” training and orientation. Our Milan itinerary includes the 7th module. Then we will have a panel presentation and discussion with Italian and European business professionals. They will offer advice on best practices for integrating successfully into the business culture. This presentation will be followed with a networking session with local business professionals from diverse industries. This session gives our students the opportunity to interact directly with their future professional peers. Finally, we conduct our individual counseling sessions and exit interviews with students while they are in Milan.