Over a decade ago I was working at a European head office of an American multinational. One of the persons I worked with was a director from Germany. She was excellent in her work and passionate about it. Also, she was a great person to work with. Once she had to give a presentation to the CEO of the company who was American. She decided to meet the CEO the day before the presentation and showed him the slides. He quickly scanned them and said: “Looks good but have a good look at slides 16 and 17”. She took the advice, studied slides 16 and 17 and convinced herself that she was well capable of explaining all the information on those two slides. The next day she presents the slides to the CEO and the other senior leaders in the room. When she got to slides 16 and 17 she did a good job at presenting them but nonetheless the CEO went mad. Totally surprised she did her best to finish the presentation and left the room. Next thing she walked into my office and told me what happened. “He told me to have a good look at slides 16 and 17 and I did. I capably presented them. What did I do wrong?” We then had a brief conversation about the Germans being direct in their feedback and the Americans being much more indirect. The CEO wanted her to take those 2 slides out. She understood that she needed to be able to meticulously explain and defend what was shown on them.
This was one of many situations where I experienced how cultural differences can have a significant impact in seemingly insignificant conversations. Since then I ever wanted to know more about cultural differences and how to succesfully interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. In over a decade I worked at a few multinationals and loved working in multicultural teams. This is where I learned that curiousity – the willingness to learn about and understand the other – is key in being a successful cross-cultural collaborator.
In the cross-cultural collaboration workshops or training that I do for organizations, I create tailor-made learning experiences where interactive exercises deepen the theory that I share with participants. I work with groups between 10 and 100 people. My aim is that people enjoy collaborating with other cultures more. I do this by instilling curiousity, creating awareness and providing tools.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to have more information on how to develop your cross-cultural collaboration skills.
As a multi-national company, it’s really important to understand each other’s cultures as we communicate and work with different colleagues and cultures every day. It was a very interesting training and made me want to go and learn a bit more about the cultures that we experience every day.
Adil Hameed, IT System Administrator
I really appreciated the cross-cultural workshop Jeroen gave us, as his background, deep insights and international experience made the whole content very authentic and helpful working for global acting companies. Having a similar international background myself, I really liked participating in the group activities and role games and talking about those findings with my colleagues. I appreciate the great work and passion Jeroen put into his workshop and looking forward to the next one.
Derya Dönmez, Head of Product Marketing
I found Jeroen’s talk really insightful about how to manage the differences across our North Europe team. I come from a very European family, and therefore have always been aware of cultural differences in a personal situation; but this session helped show me the smaller, more hidden ways through which culture can come into play in a professional context. I know I’ve taken some communication and behavioural tips away with me to improve my collaboration and teamwork!
Elena Jones, Marketing Coordinator
Emerging markets are the most complex with more than a hundred countries worldwide. The cross-cultural workshop helped me understand the differences between cultures. It reminds me when I am in contact with other markets, always to be mindful of their culture which affects the way they think, and the way they perceive what I say. Love to have one more workshop to dive a bit deeper. Thanks a lot!
Kizzy Cheng, Product marketing manager
You think you know your colleagues well, and assume, because we all speak English, they hear us and we understand them… but we miss so much. The session from Jeroen peeled back some of our closest colleagues’ layers to reveal their real cultural identity and visa-versa. Now there is actual understanding on where we align, but also great respect of our differences.
Richard Hirons, Academy Director
I enjoyed Jeroen’s interactive training on cultural differences. Some thought-provoking discussions on recognising cultural diversity between ourselves and our colleagues; and invaluable in improving our communication with one another.
Teri Bacci, Marketing Communication Specialist
I really liked the cross-culture session Jeroen provided. It gave me several “aha” moments for realizing why people from other cultures act and respond the way they do. Working in a culturally diverse organization, the awareness and understanding of cultural differences is of utmost importance to ensure good collaboration across the team and different departments, and to move projects in the right direction in a timely fashion. This session helped me, a Chinese, to cope with and decode different cultures.
Yanfang Zhu, Product Marketing Manager
Ideas are easy, execution is everything. This is a moto that I have for many years and having now had several sessions with Jeroen just helped me to gain insight into the differences we have in our multifaceted and multi-cultural company. By understanding these cultural models, I can be more prepared for creating a common pool of meaning among my peers to be able to ensure successful plan execution and stronger collaboration.
Boris Kibrik, Product Marketing Manager
I was raised in France, in a family of different nationalities. I learned to appreciate, acknowledge and respect cultural differences, at a young age. Often these differences are about details. These may seem insignificant for some but essential for others. Professionally and privately, it is essential to discover other cultures, to understand what makes them rich and special, in a spirit of respect and tolerance. It helps you anticipate different reactions, grasp their origin and defuse the difficulties and potential conflicts. Jeroen has the talent to link people and open their mind, gently, with intelligence, humor and subtlety. These sessions with him made me and my colleagues think and grow. They have helped us to consider things from a different perspective to better work and live together.
Anne-Sophie Bociaga, Senior Product Marketing Manager