May 2009 | Vol. 4 | Issue 5
Clarify Expectations to Create Healthy Partnerships
“We just assumed you would…” “I had no idea you expected us to…”
Global partnerships can be crippled by agendas, nonnegotiables, and expectations that are not clearly expressed up front. The challenging thing about these factors is that they may be subconscious and therefore hard to articulate. Or some partnership elements may seem so patently obvious to one individual or group that they don’t bother to verbalize them. Either error can lead to serious misunderstandings.
Here is where good facilitators are worth their weight in gold. Because they understand both cultures, facilitators can identify issues and guide discussions about previously unrecognized differences. In many cases, facilitators must also adroitly help on-site participants overcome cultural reticence to express what they think may be a contrary opinion, and at the same time they should assist Western partners to understand the often more subtle communication of their non-Western partners. . .[Click below to continue]