After studying Journalism and Successful Communication, I started to work on international commercial development in different economic sectors in Spain. Since the very beginning of my professional career, I considered cultural sensitivity as the mainstays of commercial relationships, especially at international markets. For my greater surprise during my professional activity, I discovered that not everybody conceive and realise the importance of understanding, sharing and enriching ourselves through the cultural differences plaited in our reality.
It was the 80’s of the past century, the Netherlands reported millions in economic losses due to cultural miscomprehensions, but probably my country was not yet at that stage. I got then involved in the study of renowned authors such as T. Hall, G. Hofsteede, and others who classified and taught the so-called cultural approach on “social anthropology”.
On top of the rational and scientific approach of most of the authors I have studied during these years, Cultural Sensitivity acquired, to my point of view, the category of indispensable tool for any human being living in society.
From my experience sometimes Companies and their leaders can assume that, as their environment, their clients and the people around them, share a common cultural background, life has got some particular and immutable rules, so they apply and follow them reasonably well and they harvest reasonable results. Sometimes they even tend to judge quite severely those that will not interpret life and economic relationships as they do.
But the world is shrinking. We can have breakfast, lunch and dinner each at a different country or province within the same day. Even our kids attend schools populated by different races, cultures, and different social protocols. In our new scenario, sustainability of any initiative must be considered from a planet wide point of view.
And this way, the market any Company is working for must expand, and travelling disclose a new world with variable rules, variable perspectives and priorities… and in this new scenario they must realise that success lies in the understanding that each one has got different priorities, though all linked to wealth and well-being coddled from a bigger frame.
Being able to understand the different approaches, explanations, feelings, odours, sensations… that each single fact and minute can bring to mind to each differentiated human being is not just a gift, or a necessary requirement for business success but the key to successful living, as it will open the doors to respectful interaction, to a plural and enriching reality which will ease the difficulties inherent to any human interaction: Real Communication.
Cultural Sensitivity is, from my point of view, a necessary condition not just for an efficient work, but for joyful life! Learn, enjoy and share the treasure of cultural diversity savoured from the deepest loving sensitivity.
Marta Martínez Arellano
Personal and Business Development – CTT certified Consultant