Today our expert guest is Andy Molinsky, a Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychology and the author of Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge and Build Confidence.


Andy’s work blends social psychology, organizational behavior, and cross-cultural communication to help people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important (but challenging) tasks in work and life.


“Cultural differences are really important – but what’s even more important is that it’s really hard to take that knowledge about cultural differences and put it into action.”


So Andy developed The Cultural Code, a concept that will help you understand cultural differences in any situation or culture.


To help you pinpoint the challenges you might run into in any given situation, you can look at it through six different lenses:


  1. Directness
  2. Enthusiasm
  3. Formality
  4. Assertiveness
  5. Self-promotion
  6. Personal disclosure


By looking at what’s expected in those situations, you can find the gap between what’s comfortable and what’s expected – and then, with awareness around your actions, step outside of your cultural comfort zone to make things happen, if necessary.


And as technology breaks down the physical barriers between countries, businesses are also increasingly virtual and interconnected. So how can we use this understanding to create great virtual teams?


In his book Global Dexterity, Andy explains that there are three core challenges to adapting and adjusting your behavior across cultures:


  1. Authenticity – You may not feel yourself
  2. Competence – You may even feel that people think you’re bad at what you’re doing
  3. Resentment – You know the old adage, “When in Rome,” but now that you’re actually in Rome, you may be questioning why, exactly, you have to do as they do.


Logically, you need to adapt – but psychologically, it can be quite frustrating.


Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all version of adapting and adjusting your behaviors across cultures. You have to arm yourself with knowledge, in each situation.


“You need to find a place in that culture where you can be appropriate and effective, which is of course important if you want to achieve your goals, but without losing who you are in the process – and the way you do that is by customizing, tweaking, and finding your version!”


If you want somewhere easy to start, though, you can also check out Andy’s free 10 Cultural Codes From Around the World Cheat Sheet.


The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway


“Take action. We can be in our heads, we can think of all the sorts of ways we might want to do something or ambitions that we might have for ourselves, but I really think there is something to taking that leap.


And I don’t think you should go blind – but I do think that strategically, thoughtfully taking action and taking that leap can really be life changing.



Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.



The Daily Helping is produced by Podcast Masters

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