Thinking about cultural differences around the world isn’t just an intellectual exercise for managers working in an increasingly global environment. Being able to communicate effectively across cultural differences, understanding how to negotiate complex social situations, and being familiar with the customs and norms of many cultures are important skills in organizations today. Perhaps even more important than possessing those essential pieces of cultural knowledge is the skill of cultural adaptability—the willingness and ability to recognize, understand, and work effectively across cultural differences.
Proficiency in cultural adaptability helps contemporary managers to build the relationships needed to achieve results in today’s global organizations, especially when those relationships are forged across borders and cultures. It enables them to interact effectively with people different from themselves, whether these people work on the next floor or on the other side of the world.