As an international group of entrepreneurial women, WBII members include women from 20 different cultures.  Member Danaë Huijser works as a Management Consultant and we asked her whether approaching business in The Netherlands from a different cultural perspective poses extra challenges for the international businesswoman.  Her reply gives us plenty of reason for optimism:
“Culture is our feel-good zone in which we feel free to express ourselves in our way. In our zone, we feel comfortable to take initiatives, create and share what is valuable to us without having to explain meanings and reasons. We perceive our way of thinking and acting as ‘normal’ and therefore those of others as ‘abnormal’. In working with a diversity of cultures, we may find ourselves misunderstood or misunderstanding, and frustrated by fear of failing projects or lost deals.
Global teams are increasingly diverse with more and more business women entering the male dominated world of management and international business. These diverse multi-cultural and multi-gender teams will encounter challenges. But here is the good news: culturally diverse teams have the potential to be more successful than mono-cultural teams. Challenges can be transformed into opportunities, creating an environment in which teamwork tends to be more creative and effective.
Our culture – or gender – is our advantage. If we can put the differences into perspective, and acknowledge them as a potential energy, we can start a learning process that turns cultural diversity into an advantage.
by Danaë Huijser
Culture & Management Consulting