Building Cultural Intelligence with Trisha Carter

Entries in Expatriates (16)


Expats - don't leave before the end

I was at a rock concert on Saturday. 

That’s not a sentence I write very often!

In reality it was a picnic alongside a rock concert.  

A Day on the Green -four bands playing in a vineyard.  The main act was legendary Australian band Hunters and Collectors.  It was a great concert with the crowd dancing and singing along for many of our old favourites. 

Like all bands they left the stage with the crowd wanting more. So we clapped and shouted “more, more, more”, knowing they would come back, waiting for classics yet to be played.  Some people around us began to pack up, and many, including the people beside us, left the ground. 

“How can they leave?” I wondered, “They haven’t played ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ yet.” The band returned to screams and thundering applause and played another bracket that included the song I’d been waiting for.   But the people beside us had missed it.  They’d already gone.

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When the honeymoon is over too quickly

Last week we had our monthly cicollective webinar and looked at the early days in an overseas asignment. Often that's termed the honeymoon period with high levels of positivity and strong learning opportunities.  (If you are a member of cicollective you can view the saved webinar here) Usually at this point in an international assignment expats who have arrived in their new locations are increasing their cultural intellligence at a significant rate. Usually experiences at work and school are positive as the welcomes and support are high.

Sometimes, however, that may not be true.  For whatever reason the early days may not be a honeymoon where you eagerly hit the ground running.  Instead they may be challenging times.  

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Positive Psychology has good news for expats

I recently attended a workshop with Dr Barbara Fredrickson. Her work in the area of positive emotions and her broaden and build theory have been cornerstones of positive psychology.

In case you haven't heard of her research; over the past twenty years it has revealed the powerful effects of positive emotions. Those emotions such as gratitude, hope, serenity, awe, humour, love and happiness have been found to have a number of positive effects.

They increase resilience, strengthen social bonds, enhance problem solving, undo the effects of stress, and reduce own-race bias. All things critical for expats!

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Stress, resilience and expatriates

I recently revisited the research and data around stress at work.  With my colleague Susan MacDonald from Psychology At Work, we designed and delivered a workshop for one of our clients presenting strategies to build resilience and stress management capabilities at individual, team and organizational levels. 

We all know the messages that tough times can make us stronger, but the key fact that remains with me from reviewing the research is how damaging chronic stress can be at a physical, mental and financial level for individuals and for organizations.

We all know about the risk of heart attacks, strokes and depression but did you know that being in a state of chronic stress can impact right down to a genetic level re-writing our most basic

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On queuing, deodorant and cultural intelligence

In January, just as I was preparing to leave on my camping / kayaking holiday, the Federal Parliament representative for Brisbane, Julie Gambera made some statements about migrant assistance and in particular that migrants need to better adapt to Australia. Her initial recommendations were that employers who sponsor migrants into Australia on temporary visas (such as the 457) should be required to provide mandatory cultural awareness training.    

She gave examples of what the cultural awareness training could include and specified teaching migrants to “wear deodorant and wait patiently in queues”.  To be fair it appears

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