Get interactive: Do you know your cultural profile?

by Jamie Henry13 Aug 2014
A new test can help avoid cultural misunderstanding holding back your business in Canada’s increasing diverse real estate industry.

Foreign property buyers might be flooding into Canada, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the industry is benefitting equally. Cultural understanding is vital, and can help seal a deal and secure valuable referrals. Whilst you can’t change your background, a new Harvard Business Review interactive test can reveal your cultural assumptions, and how foreign clients might see things differently.

There are eight dimensions to the HBR’s cultural profile, depending on your opinion of a specific business practice; i.e. giving blunt or indirect feedback. You’ll be placed on a spectrum for each, along with the norm for any country you select. They are: communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing and scheduling. Put basically, you can see where your attitude might differ from a foreign client, and adjust your approach accordingly.

“The trap”, warns the HBR “is in assuming that you “know” people because you have identified their cultural pedigree.” That’s why you need to pay attention to each dimension, and identify where disagreements might arise, such as in the dimension of trust. And of course basing business purely upon cultural stereotypes is never advisable, as anyone dealing with individuals will know.

Another reason to take the test, surprisingly enough, is to compare yourself with the Australian cultural norm. As well as helping you identify common mistakes, you might find that your unique way of doing things is helping you stand out from the crowd.

You can take HBR’s test here – it takes about 5 minutes. If you find you weren’t meant for the lucky country, or have other tales of cultural misunderstanding to tell, please post them in the comments section below.

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