I don´t know about you, but I get irritable at 110°F (43°C). To say the least, I am not at my most patient. And on the other end of the spectrum, right now in Switzerland, I´m lucky if the temperature stays above freezing! (cue chattering teeth)
The weather – at first glance – is one of those “safe topics” you can bring up in almost any culture. However, the most experienced expat managers I know actively consider the impact weather can have on expat fatigue and job performance.
Cross-cultural management is tough enough in the air-conditioned comfort of an office. Keeping cool in the face of culture shock whilst enduring extreme weather is even tougher. The practical test of an expatriate´s intercultural competence will come when temperatures are hitting highs or icy lows, or when the Monsoon is dumping buckets of rain on your hot-weather clothes.
In this month´s contribution I´m delighted to share a guest-post I wrote for Argonaut, an organization specialized in e-learning resources designed to improve business success through cultural competence. Here is the truth about what can easily get overlooked on an expat assignment, and jeopardize performance.
Intercultural competence in challenging conditions
Imagine navigating a misunderstanding rooted in emotionally-charged cultural differences while standing in the beating sun at 43°Celsius / 110°Fahrenheit.
You´re wearing long trousers, a shirt that meets your wrists and you´re sweating heavily. The sun and the 80% humidity are causing your usually high intercultural competencies to drop at a rocketing speed.
The expatriates I work with are sincere in their intention to find creative solutions to their challenges. But the weather impacts effectiveness and well-being of foreigners even before the acclimatised local population. We should start talking about this before we move to new location so we can ask the right questions and get mentally (and physically) prepared.
- the sometimes overlooked weather challenges that test the endurance for expats
- the six weather-related questions to ask locals before you make the big move or send someone on assignment
It´s a quick read that could save you some sweat in the future.