If your organization is looking to stay ahead of the game, it must develop a certain “cultural agility,” recognizing and responding appropriately to a range of cultural behaviors and worldviews. These skills will allow you to enter new markets, develop new supply-chain models, and efficiently and effectively integrate as a global organization in order to have information cross boundaries successfully.
Every organization should be striving to achieve these benefits, which are collectively referred to as “cultural profit.” But how much do you have to invest, and when will you see the results?
The return on investment (ROI) for cultural agility and cultural profit is both short-term and long-term. There are four stages of developing cultural profit:
1. Aware. A lot of companies think they’re being agile by translating their website into the local language, but really, all this means is they’re aware that there are differences – the translation is a sort of nod at the different market. If this is all you do, you’re not going to get a huge amount of ROI.
2. Attuned. If you’re in the attuned stage, effectively localizing your marketing, supply chain, and management team, then you can expect increased sales, as well as some reduced costs.
3. Adapting. If you’re truly investing in the development of local staff, and leveraging the best practices of the local market, then your ability to adapt will almost certainly pay off.
4. Agile. As a culturally agile organization, you’ll see, in the long term, a transfer of relevant best practices from, and to, each country around the world that you’re working in, and you’ll have an incredible talent pool to draw from. And that long-term ROI is far-reaching and nearly immeasurable.