[0] => WP_Post Object
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            [post_content] => Due to a number of factors such as technology and globalisation our day to day lives - whether business or personal increasingly involve broader international networks.  And while in the IMI blog we often consider our "effectiveness" in how we interact with and manage others but all too often we do not discuss the critical factors of nationality and culture.

How do cultural differences impact on your ability to do business? And how can we make sure we are maximising our relationships with those in our network who may be operating with cultural differences to our own.  

Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, one of the world's leading international business schools. Her work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Singapore Business Times and In 2013 the Thinkers 50 named her as one of 30 up-and-coming thinkers and in October 2013 British Airways Business Life magazine on their list of 'Ten Dons to Watch'. Her work focuses on how the world's most successful global leaders navigate the complexities of cultural differences in an international environment.  


IMI: Based on your current work - if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business - what would they be?

EM: Succeed Globally with a Culture Map

IMI: What does this mean?

EM: Today, whether we work with colleagues in Dusseldorf or Dubai, Brasilia or Beijing, New York or New Delhi, we are all part of a global network (real or virtual, physical or electronic) where success requires navigating through wildly different cultural realities. Unless we know how to decode other cultures and avoid easy-to-fall-into cultural traps, we are easy prey to misunderstanding, needless conflict, and ultimate failure.

Yet most managers have little understanding of how local culture impacts global interaction. Even those who are culturally informed, travel extensively, and have lived abroad often have few strategies for dealing with the cross-cultural complexity that affects their team's day-to-day effectiveness.

To help people improve their ability to decode the cultural differences impacting their work and to enhance their effectiveness in dealing with these differences, I have built on the work of many in my field to develop a tool called the Culture Map. It is made up of eight scales representing the management behaviours where cultural gaps are most common.

The eight scales are based on decades of academic research into culture from multiple perspectives. To this foundation I have added my own work, which has been validated by extensive interviews with thousands of executives who have confirmed or corrected my findings.   The scales are:
  • Communicating: explicit vs. implicit
  • Evaluating: direct criticism vs. indirect criticism
  • Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
  • Deciding: consensual vs. top down
  • Trusting: task vs. relationship
  • Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoidance
  • Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
  • Persuading: applications-first vs. principles-first
By analyzing the relative positioning of one nationality to another on each scale, managers learn to decode how culture influences day-to-day international collaboration and therefor avoid the common pitfalls. Managers have always needed to understand human nature and personality differences – that’s nothing new. What is new is that twenty-first century managers must understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before. They have to be able to determine which aspects of their interactions are simply a result of personality and which are a result of differences in cultural perspective. IMI: Where should we look for further information? EM: Read The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business.  Or my HBR article:  Navigating the Cultural Minefield Erin Meyer will be holding a Masterclass at IMI on September 30th.  If you are interested in attending click here to register. [post_title] => "Decode cultural differences to suceed globally" Six Word Wisdom from Erin Meyer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => six-word-wisdom-erin-mayer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:04:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:04:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8958 [post_author] => 18 [post_date] => 2015-02-10 17:34:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-02-10 17:34:20 [post_content] => To receive updates on new blogs posts : My experience working with a wide range of young businesses, from complex financial software through to artisan food producers says, it is easy to get distracted by products and forget that the underlying success drivers are the same regardless of what you make or do. girl at wall A visit to The Climbing Wall in Sandyford, a 3 week old fledgling business already packed with happy customers on a freezing January night made me stop to think.  What gets customers in this case to a business with no marketing or advertising budget?  What separates success and disaster for a young business in the early scary days? “The wall” is an indoor state of the art climbing wall in Sandyford industrial estate. So, your business is very different, but the same answers apply and will help you succeed early.
  • Passionate attention to  all customers, including the ones future customers. I dragged along a friend who doesn’t climb, and had no intention of doing so.  She instantly felt welcome, even though climbing up the wall until then was something she only does at business meetings. Your customers may come in many forms and will have different needs. See the world from their perspective – are they confused? Scared? Stressed? Finding it hard to park? At the Wall you feel safe and at ease. And yes, of course, she climbed. And is now hooked.
  • Create a happy place where staff are as engaged as you are in looking after customers with care. Your staff must feel like a really core part of your baby business.  Get them on board and make sure to find ways of harnessing all their bright ideas about how to make your project a success
  • Know your customers intimately before you start. Alan and Brian really understand their market, and are well networked. They already understood exactly what climbers want and immediately ran simple high impact events that have built up loyalty, traffic to The Wall and loads of Word of Mouth publicity, always the most powerful form of marketing. This also helps you create a sense of community and shared values among your customer base, so your customers stay longer and believe in what you do.  Happy customers come back.
  • Be clever about how to position and communicate what you offer: .The Wall makes canny use of social media and press coverage to get the story out in a more targeted and dynamic way than any ad ever will.  Network, but be savvy about how you use that precious network.
  • Know your competition equally intimately, know when to compete (and how) and when to collaborate. Sometimes collaboration is the right strategy – work together and instead of splitting a new small market you can grow it together, creating greater awareness by acting as a group and attracting more people to a new service or product.
  • Good team - make sure all the practical stuff is under control.  The top team here includes a marketing whizz and an employment law specialist.  They have team skills to make sure the business is set up on a sound financial footing, property and planning skills and expertise to make sure design and operations are top class.
  • Finally – do something you love. The chances are you will be very good at it!
  Moira Creedon is a facilitator and consultant in Strategic Finance and has worked with both corporate and public sector clients worldwide helping decision makers at strategic level to understand finance and improve their ability to formulate and implement strategy. She teaches on IMI’s Diploma in Management and a number of Short Programmes including the Senior Executive Programme. See our Spring 2015 schedules here: IMI Diplomas Spring 2015 and IMI Short Programmes Spring 2015 [post_title] => 'Off the Wall' tips for early business success [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => wall-tips-early-business-success [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:58:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 12562 [post_author] => 71 [post_date] => 2016-10-25 10:26:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 10:26:33 [post_content] =>

Touching back on my last blog I mentioned that culture needs to become a strategic business priority (like sales, profit, etc.) and not just a HR priority.

boat with leader Source:

Leadership teams can start the creation of high performance cultures by implementing the following 6 steps:

1. Establish a sense of urgency

They need to make it clear that the current culture needs to change, articulate the vision and business case, and describe the opportunity (as John P. Kotter states in his book The 8-Step Process for Leading Change) in a way that appeals to the hearts and minds of people.

2. Develop a set of strategic beliefs

These are the beliefs senior executives have about their organisation’s environment that enables shaping business strategy e.g. Dell believed that customers would, if the price was right, buy computers from a catalogue rather than go to computer stores as the conventional wisdom dictated they would. They created a $7 billion business.

3. Develop a set of values

Values enable the organisation to act on its strategic beliefs and implement their strategy the right way. Values shape the culture of an organisation, define its character and serve as a foundation in how people act and make decisions. Dell’s values supporting its strategy and strategic beliefs include: Delivering results that make a positive difference; leading with openness and optimism and winning with integrity.

4. Capitalise on quick wins

Capitalize on and honour your cultural strengths and act quickly on any critical behaviour changes required.

5. Challenge those norms that get on the way of high performance

Norms are informal guidelines about what is considered normal (what is correct or incorrect) behaviour in a particular situation. Peer pressure to conform to team norms is a powerful influencer on people’s behaviour, and it is often a major barrier affecting change. It is always easier to go along with the norm than trying to change it…. Common samples of negative norms in some organisations: Perception that it is ok to yell at people, ignore people’s opinions, etc.

6. Role model and recognise the desired behaviours

As Gandhi wonderfully put it “Be the change you want to see in the world”. This empowers action and helps embed the desired culture you are trying to create. Behaviour is a function of its consequences. Behaviour that results in pleasant consequences is more likely to be repeated, and behaviour that results in unpleasant consequences is less likely to be repeated. According to B. F. Skinner and reinforcement theory “future behavioural choices are affected by the consequences of earlier behaviours”. The argument is clear; if you want people to be brave and challenge the status quo, you shouldn’t make them feel awkward or like difficult employees when they do. Furthermore, if want people to contribute at meetings make sure you actively listen to them and act on their suggestions and ideas.


On his famous article “On the folly of rewarding A while hoping for B” Steven Kerr argues that the way in which we reward and recognise people doesn’t always deliver the desired results. We all have being in situations where we are told to plan for long-term growth yet we are rewarded purely on quarterly earnings; we are asked to be a team player and are rewarded solely on our individual efforts; we are told that the way in which results are achieved is important and yet we promote people who achieve results the wrong / in a Machiavellian way. A friend of mine was recently at a hospital and he complained to the ward manager about the doctor’s bad manners and rudeness. The answer he got was “do you want to be treated by the best heart doctor in the country or a not so good doctor but with a really nice bed manner?”.

My argument is why can’t we have both?

Pedro Angulo is the Programme Director of the IMI Diploma in Strategic HR Management starting on 16th November 2016. Pedro is an Organisational Effectiveness Business Partner in AIB and Chairperson of the Irish EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council). He is a motivational speaker and regular presenter at HR, coaching, change and business conferences / events. _____________________________________ [post_title] => 6 Steps to start the creation of high performance cultures [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 6-strategies-start-creation-high-performance-cultures [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 19:48:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 19:48:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10056 [post_author] => 7 [post_date] => 2015-05-12 13:18:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-12 13:18:39 [post_content] =>
Education isn't just about exams and assignments. Sometimes learning about yourself can be the challenge, as David Beausang, Head of Sales and Marketing at CoreHR, found out on the IMI Senior Executive Programme

What is your career background?

I'm delighted to have worked since 2013 with the great team at CoreHR. We help hundreds of thousands of employees all over the UK and Ireland to work more efficiently, from hiring to retiring, using smarter HR  and Payroll technology. We’re an Irish based company that is making considerable global progress. I'm currently their Head of Sales and Marketing, having previously worked in sales, consultancy, outsourcing as well as working overseas in the Middle East and Australia with similarly successful companies such as Slainte Healthcare.

Why did you choose the Senior Executive programme ?

There were a lot of reasons but the most important one was for me to be able to see the gaps that I didn't even know were there that were preventing me from being the best colleague, manager, leader and person that I could be. I know that sounds a bit starry-eyed but I felt that I would benefit from being tested in a reputable executive environment and identify the unknown unknowns which would enable me to progress further in my career.

What were the highlights?

If I was to chose one, it would be the 360 and the coach that I was assigned to JP McIvor. I learnt an incredible amount from him which I put to immediate use (Thanks for the free advice JP!). Apart from that it would be a long list; the speakers, the knowledge sharing and transfer with the other participants, the lunches (and obviously the desserts!). I’d recommend to anyone reading this to have a look at who the guest speakers are and do a bit of research about them. Imagine having the opportunity to learn from them in a small group environment?

learn about yourself

What were the challenges?

I initially found that the lack of an academic test or end-of-course assessment to be a challenge and then I realised, mid-course, that the challenge was actually myself. I was the test and the assessment. The 360 exercise really brought that home to me and I would rate that as the biggest challenge and also to have been the biggest subsequent learning experience which has stood to me.

What impact has the course had on your career?

I directly attribute the promotion that I was lucky enough to have been awarded in work, from Head of Partnerships to Head of Sales and Marketing, to the course and frankly, what I have learnt has helped me every day since.

What impact has the course had on your organisation?

CoreHR has an active learning culture and a number of my colleagues are attending courses at the IMI over the coming months; along with a staff development programme which operates here. In relation to the impact of the course on my colleagues, you’d have to ask them but they did get me a cake for my birthday recently so it didn’t do any lasting damage!

What is your advice to people planning further study?

Have a look at your lifestyle and see what would fit you the best. Really assess your needs to see what you need and find a course that fits. Sometimes a retune can be more effective than a new engine! For more information on the Senior Executive Programme click here or speak to one of our programme advisors on or 1800 22 33 88.  [post_title] => A Higher State of Learning [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => higher-state-learning [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:50:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:50:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Paula Mullin

Paula Mullin

3rd Dec 2018

Paula Mullin is Associate Faculty on IMI’s Diploma in Executive Coaching.

Related Articles

"Decode cultural differences to suceed globally" Six Word Wisdom from Erin Meyer
'Off the Wall' tips for early business success
6 Steps to start the creation of high performance cultures
A Higher State of Learning

Why You Should Prioritise Your Executive Presence and How

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel”. These words of the poet Maya Angelou nicely capture the essence of Executive Presence.

The term “Executive Presence” is associated with words like confidence, gravitas or charisma. People struggle to define it. It can dismissed on the assumption that “some people have it, some people don’t”. Yet, Executive Presence is the number two reason why people hire a coach, according to the Institute of Coaching.

Executive Presence is a critical factor in leadership. It is about generating trust and credibility. The good news is, it is a behaviour that can be practiced and improved upon.

How can developing your executive presence change the way your followers feel about you? (Picture Source)

What is Executive Presence?

The Boston-based, Bates Communications consultancy, with whom I qualified, have defined Executive Presence and created a tool to measure it. They carried out extensive research and defined Executive Presence as “the qualities of a leader as seen through the eyes of others that inspire, engage, align and move people to act”.

Executive Presence is grounded in the realisation that people innately ask these questions:

  1. Do I trust this leader?
  2. Are they credible?
  3. Do they take action?

Anyone even wearily observing the recent Irish Presidential race was reflecting on these qualities. For employees, their leaders’ credibility influences their levels of satisfaction and motivation. Your leadership qualities have a major impact on those around you.

Three qualities all leaders should work on

The Bates Executive Presence Index (ExPI) is a science-based 360 assessment tool which gives people quality insights into how they’re perceived. It looks at three dimensions: character, substance and style.


The ExPI data shows that people trust a leader based on their character attributes. Successful leaders are authentic, show humility and good levels of restraint.


Secondly,  people think a leader is credible based on their substance as a leader. They want to know their leader knows what she/he is talking about and that they are decisive in difficult situations.


Thirdly, people perceive a leader based on their leadership style. Engaging leaders are inclusive. They set clear intentions and they match their way of behaving to those intentions.

How do you “show up” for others? How does that impact on your business? It is time to check yourself against these attributes if you are to be an effective leader.

Make subtle but significant changes in behaviour

When leaders understand more about their strengths and gaps in terms of character, style, substance, they can make changes. The starting point is building on what they do naturally and recognising these as core strengths.

As an Executive Coach, I believe all leaders can learn to adopt new behaviours to improve their level of Executive Presence.

Consider these ideas:

  1. Be Authentic by sharing stories, personal or work-related that help people understand you better. This will reveal your values, your belief-set and how it applies to your common work.
  1. Demonstrate Resonance and Empathy. Do this by learning how to actively listen and play-back what people are saying to you. In this digital-age, take time to be fully present with your teams.
  1. Show more Confidence by being accountable when things go wrong. Be seen to make tough decisions in a timely manner.
  1. Be Assertive by saying what needs to be said, be a challenger and demonstrate the capacity to achieve this in a non-confrontational way.
  1. Be Inclusive by actively involving others and welcoming diverse points of view. Relentlessly encourage ownership of the company’s mission and vision.

Remember, people want the best of you. You can change and improve perceptions of you. All it takes is a willingness to bring particular behaviours into focus in your daily life. Tomorrow is Monday, the start of a new week.

How do you want people to feel when you walk through the door?

Paula Mullin is Associate Faculty on IMI’s Diploma in Executive Coaching and she combines her extensive communication and facilitation experience with her coaching skills.

This article originally featured in the Sunday Business Post.