1) Give everyone a piece of flip chart paper. He or she then writes the name of her or his culture or country at the top and writes some words or phrases to describe the strengths of the way the culture does things and some thoughts on how they could do things better.
I give an illustration below of what I might say. This is just to make the process clearer.
Nick Heap – British culture
Turning ideas into products
Good information about the wider world
Be less complacent
Universal Health care
Be faster to seize opportunities
Questioning assumptions is OK
Be better at taking financial risks
Rich literary and artistic tradition
Bring more of our most creative people into business
Change is usually by debate and peaceful
Be more optimistic that we can do it
The English language is the language of business
Speak more languages
2) Stick your chart on the wall and walk around the room and look at each other’s lists. Ask questions if there are things there you do not understand. Think about who might be able to help you.
For example, if you were a British person and realised that the European language most British people speak is only English and this is potentially damaging, you might decide to ask a Dutch or Swiss multilingual person how people learn languages in their countries. This might help you have some influence on language teaching in your local school or on recruitment policy in your organisation.
3) Come together as a whole group. Ask people to notice what a rich range of cultures are represented in the group… e.g., What did you notice about the French culture? What surprised you? Lead a discussion about how can you use this cultural richness to add business value in the organisation.