Week 20: Funfetti Cookies & "The Culture Map"
WHY THIS BOOK?
I wanted to take you back to 2021, with one of the most interesting books that I read called The Culture Map by Erin Meyer
Working in a globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures. This book did a great job at explaining different cultures. Having worked in a global organization for many years I learned over time how to best work with different cultures and sometimes made some mistakes along the way. This book has 8 themes from communication, leadership. Feedback, Thinking, Decision-Making, Trust, Disagreement, and Time Perception.
There are so many great examples that had me saying yes out loud and nodding my head in agreement. Yes, I have seen that happen between myself in Canada and a German colleague.
The one great example when it comes to communication style is the “peach vs coconut culture”
People from Peach cultures are said to be “soft” on the outside: Friendly to people they have just met, frequently smile at strangers, chat, share information (not necessarily deep conversation), and even share pictures. They are very nice and helpful to strangers.
However, when you get past the initial friendliness, you see a very private self that they protect for a select few. That is the hard pit in the middle of the peach. Examples include Americans and Japanese.
Now people from Coconut cultures are described as “hard” on the outside: Rarely smile at a stranger, do not engage in conversations easily, do not talk about personal information with strangers, and mostly keep to themselves or stay with their close friends and family.
These people may be neutral towards you for a long time. However, if you manage to break through their outer shell, they tend to become loyal friends who will accept you as family. Examples include Germans and French.
If you work in a global company or with others from different cultures this is an absolute must read.