Competitive Intelligence

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Experiencing Different Cultures Enhances Intelligence Professionals work?

I’ve just read this article - Experiencing Different Cultures Enhances Creativity ( – that got me thinking how much a

similar view would impact our work as professional on the intelligence field.

In today’s environment where we are likely faced with multiple variables coming from different parts of the world, how much do we benefit to expose to as many cultures as possible? And if so how can we do it?

What are your views and thoughts on this subject?

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Thanks, taking account of that comment ( ), I've begun to read the article When in Rome ... Learn Why the Romans Do What They Do: How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity by William W. Maddux, Hajo Adam and Adam D. Galinsky (Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. June 2010, Volume 36, No. 6, pp. 731-741) with great pleasure. However, I've become disappointed already with the first page of it. Should we agree with "Maddux and Galinsky (2009)" for whom matter only "individuals who had lived abroad (though not those who had traveled abroad)"? Just yesterday, I've remembered there ( ) that old comment ( and ) of mine. In the sixties, I learned other cultures reading foreign books and papers, listening to the radio, watching TV, going to movie theaters and so on. Today, the youth learns extensively other cultures predominantly from the Net. Last but not least, what in fact all of us ( ) do here? Don't we learn other cultures from each other? Does it mean nothing for "Maddux and Galinsky (2009)"?
Tadeusz: I agree with your points. To learn english (mostly speaking and listening) I used a lot of reading and watching movies with the very blessed CLOSE CAPTION feature. An then, after living and studying in the US, I have realized that my english has improved a lot just talking with some american clients almost every day on the phone.
Miguel, what a great topic! I think that multi-cultural experiences certainly enhance competitive intelligence analysis. Both experiences are about the reception of strange information and interpreting it for your success.

Spending ample time in a foreign culture - not as a tourist, mind you - is an exercise in confusion. The reason we call it a different culture is that nothing means what it does where we are from and when we assume that it does, we get ourselves into many problematic situations. Sure, they may have wine, but it has a different role than it does for our own culture. Sure they have parents and children, but the relationship dynamic is different. They go to work, but work doesn't have the same style or value. This is why people usually become so fatigued after six weeks in a strange country - you can't take anything for granted, and you constantly get yourself into situations you didn't mean. You become bi-cultural when you can finally interpret signals appropriately for your goals - even if your goals are finding a bathroom or getting a train ticket.

In competitive intelligence, reading signals is the key. One of the most common mistakes that companies make is that they read their competitors' actions and assume that their culture is the same. What seems crazy in one company makes perfect sense in another. Unless you can mentally put yourself in the shoes of someone in a different corporate culture, you'll likely misread what's going on.

Years ago I remember I client asking us to study the bonus structures of their competitors' sales people. What they couldn't understand was that the competitors had their sales staff on flat salary - so none of what they did made any sense. THAT'S why they looked so strange - their culture was literally different.

So CI folks...get on a plane and take a language course today!
Mergers & Acquisitions is an area where one needs to understand the impact of cross cultural influences.
Agree entirely! Something that came up often when I worked in financial services. Particularly when the compensation cultures are very different -- e.g. a commercial bank buying a securities brokerage or investment organization....
My very good friend Eric:
I couldn´t have put my thoughts better. I have taken on a lot of global portions of projects, and you are sent a spreadsheet with a lot of fields to fill in that responds to another culture´s approach, and you keep saying "Down here, they do not negotiate price that way", and they keep repeating you: "This is a deliverable, the client paid for it ..........if not, we are going to have to give money back."

I have just watched this video, which is also showing us that how experiencing different cultures can open the mind, enchance the creativity. It is the way of thinking without borders.
Hi Miguel:

From my experience, having lived in different countries and speaking several languages help, and help a lot. In the process of living and speaking face to face you get a great share of culture. Does it enhance your creativity? I would put it this way: It enhances your knowledge of more ways to solve more problems. Does it enhance your CI analytical skills? Yes, it does, but up to the extent that the company you are working for allows you to implement them - and believe me, this is not a minor issue, for example, when you are benchmarking a competitor that belongs to another culture -.


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