The first three parts of this series prepare a CapTecher with the philosophy, dimensions, and measures of cultural intelligence. Now we are in the execution phase of becoming culturally aware and relevant for our client. CapTechers should use what they now know about a client's culture to create the best relationship with the client. Yes, CapTech has a great culture, but we must honor our clients by respecting their context. This is a great moment to talk about how CapTechers respect their client's cultural context.
Honoring Our Clients' Culture
At CapTech, we often say that "Others Talk, We Listen®" This statement embodies a posture of humility and respect. We realize that our clients know their problem better than we do. That's why we come into a particular culture with enough humility to listen and learn. We realize that every client problem is different, so we do not utilize or recommend prepackaged solutions based on our experiences with other clients in dissimilar cultural settings. If our clients feel that we are not intently listening to their challenges, they are not likely to trust our solutions. So, although the nature of a client's problem may resemble a problem we faced with another client, we listen well enough to indicate differences in culture and use that to formulate how we must address the problem differently from the solution provided to another client.
Our clients have different ways of operating their companies. To be flexible from a cultural perspective, we want to adjust our behaviors so that we do not negatively impact how our clients run their business. This means that we adjust our wardrobe to comply with the dress code expectations of our clients. It also means that we adjust to using the technology approved for use at the client site. Additionally, this means that CapTechers must be flexible enough to honor our client's schedule. Some clients work earlier in the day, while others work later in the day or in a different time zone. As simple and obvious as some of these factors may seem, CapTech cannot deliver the best, proven solutions if we cannot relate to our client at a primary level.
A CapTecher can exhibit one aspect of our culture, but fall short on the other tenants and become an impediment to delivering a sound solution for the client. Let's assume, for the sake of this discussion, that flexibility is a given, seeing that it is the primary topic. What would it look like if a CapTecher is flexible but is not a servant leader? Maybe a CapTecher is willing to come to the client's office much earlier than normal, but is too tired to show the enthusiasm needed to confirm to the client that CapTech is glad to be their partner. It is not really being flexible to come in early if you have a bad attitude. You need both to be successful -- they don't work alone. We could go through the various combinations, holding flexibility as a constant, but I think you get the picture. Although our clients' cultures may vary, at CapTech we must also find ways to appropriately carry forward the key tenants of our culture into their environments.
Call out some aspects of a client's culture that has made it difficult for your to properly honor their culture. What did you do to eventually make that adjustment? What impact does honoring your client's culture have on your relationship with the client?
This blog post is the fourth in a series of blog posts.
- Honoring our Clients by Being Flexible and Adaptable - Part 1
- Deciphering the Intangible - Part 2
- Cultural Dimensions and Measures - Part 3
About The Author
Shawn Saulsberry is a Management Consultant with more than 20 years of experience in technology strategy and delivery across the entire software development lifecycle. He acts as a technology liaison driving direct connections between an organizations business goals and the outcomes of technology programs and projects. Shawn is proficient in technology strategy formulation and implementation, project management in the technology and creative environments, management of research and development and the innovation processes, technology transfer in the global economy, and various applications of technology management.