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  • David Donaldson

Virtually all things will change, except our assumptions

Last week I had a conversation with an entrepreneur who just launched a business with international associates and work. I was excited for her as I watched – from a distance, to be sure – her development as a designer. Knowing that her new venture will present cultural challenges, I presented my work with cross-cultural teams to her. We had just begun the conversation…then COVID-19 hit.


The game-changing nature of COVIC-19 is nearly absolute! (As I read somewhere, we are living in the time of unprecedented use of the word “unprecedented.”) My friend responded to me about needing to answer so many more “urgent” questios about her business, now that meetings (among other things) can’t be done face to face. She kind bumped my business to the back.

I understand, to a degree. But as I thought of her need to schedule more intentional meetings, I asked her about the different definitions of “a good meeting” as seen from different cultures. Some cultures see meetings as confirmations of decisions that were made in consensus and through days and even weeks of consultation and conversation. Other cultures see meetings at moments to make the decision, and design implementation plans. Still other cultures see meetings as the opportunity to debate and discuss pros and cons, even if the decision isn’t made.

I guess my point is that we – even in a new world – can’t put on “the back burner” questions of culture; our assumptions still stay with us, and can derail business ventures.

Acrossculture.ca can help you make sure your new, virtual meetings stay productive by ensuring all "are on the same page."

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