CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 46

Building bridges
I've always worked in multinational organizations: I was first a regional
CIO almost 20 years ago, in Europe, Middle East and Africa. And I
learned fairly early how different people are, how cultures change from
country to country and even from office to office.
You have to be adaptable. Working with the French is different from
working with the Germans. The way you write an email, the way
you make a phone call, the way you ask a question, the way you get
alignment depends on who you're talking to.
And it's no different with Otsuka. Japan has a very different culture
than the US. After nearly a year with the company, I'm still in learning
mode. The Japanese culture is much more collaborative. It's much less
directive than what we're used to in the US.
Otsuka is over 100 years old, and many employees have had a very long
tenure at the company and there are a lot of very deep relationships in
the company, Everything has a deeper layer of complexity, greater than
we're used to.
Here is what I think about cross-cultural management: Never assume
that you understand. It's easy to be complacent and think you know.
This is even - perhaps especially - true in the case of familiar
cultures. My wife and I are Brits, and we moved to the US 15 years
ago. I'd worked in the US on and off and had traveled to the US
countless times in the past for work and vacations.
But once we moved here, we realized that there are
countless small and subtle differences between the
way Brits and American use the same language. And
the behavior and the culture are different from the
norms familiar to us. The closer you get, the more
you realize it. In the end, I think the real enemy
is not cultural differences but complacency
in the face of those differences.
Takeaways
* Porting most of IT to the cloud can transform a
business, by providing scalability, flexibility, and
infrastructure that it previously lacked.
* In the future, most in-house IT people will
need training that focuses on developing good
customer relationship and project
management skills.
* Cross-cultural communication is always
challenging - not just between nationalities, but
between companies and even different offices.
46

CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12

Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - Cover1
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - Cover2
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 1
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 4
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 5
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 6
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - 7
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - Cover3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 12 - Cover4
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