Working as one worldwide family: Celebrating cultural diversity
May 19, 2020
May 19, 2020
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On May 21, we join hands with the United Nations to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Reflecting on Accenture’s cultural richness reminds us that there’s great strength in bringing people of various backgrounds and perspectives together to push the limits of innovation.
Meet Andrea, Liz and Jennifer.
Three people. Seven countries. Boundaryless opportunities.
These three individuals are a strong representation of the diversity of Accenture’s 509,000 people and the value that cross-cultural teaming brings to each and every one of them.
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Andrea Carucci, a Manager at Accenture, has been with the company for five years. He has worked in Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and is currently based in the U.S. Originally from Italy, Andrea speaks five languages.
“One of the reasons I enjoy working at Accenture is the ability to collaborate with people from different cultures while moving toward common goals. I love our practice of ‘culture of cultures,’” says Andrea.
“Cross-cultural working is the lifeblood at Accenture. With teams spread across more than 120 countries, Accenture provides a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. I take the learnings from each project to the next,” says Elizabeth (Liz) Joseph, Manager at Accenture.
Liz started her Accenture journey in 2003 in India as an intern and has worked across five countries since. She now resides in the U.S.
“Working in different countries has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and has forced me to think in new ways,” says Jennifer Kohl, a Senior Marketing Manager in our Strategy and Consulting team.
Cultivating strong relationships with clients and cross-functional teams at home and abroad is one of Jennifer’s biggest strengths. Jennifer has dual cultural background—American and German.
Cross-cultural teams have the power to unlock great creativity and innovation. But there can be challenges, too. It’s essential to equip our people with the support they need to adapt to new environments and working styles.
This is what our Cross-cultural Diversity Program is all about. We come together with a range of tools, resources and training courses to help our people work more effectively across cultures.
GlobeSmart, an online tool that offers instant access to information and advice for how to conduct business effectively across borders, is available to all our people. With its variety of tools and resources, GlobeSmart helps our people increase their global acumen and navigate challenging working environments.
The program also offers various training packages on cross-cultural teaming, as well as online language courses for our people and their dependents.
Jennifer, Liz and Andrea share some of their experiences from working across cultures, including the joys and challenges of being on a global team.
What’s the one thing you’ve learned from working in cross-cultural teams?
Jennifer: My biggest takeaway has been honing my communication skills. Years of practice in different cultural settings has made me better at expressing myself and drawing the best out of others.
Liz: I’ve learned that it’s important to be mindful of cultural nuances and working styles and adapting my own style accordingly, which has helped me get better results for myself and the team.
Are there any challenges you face along the way?
Liz: Language barriers are often the biggest business communication challenge.
Andrea: While working abroad in a previous job, I was given the feedback that my communication style was “too direct.” I realized that this sentiment was unique to the work culture of the country I was in. I learned to adapt accordingly.
What advice would you give to people working in multicultural settings?
Andrea: Find shared interests or passions—you’d be surprised how many commonalities we share with people from different corners of the world. This brings about a harmony that contributes to team success.
Liz: If English is not the native language of your team, speak at a slower pace, avoid jargon and use plain language.
Jennifer: When I was working abroad, I learned to appreciate the cultural attributes of people from different regions of the same country. This helped me pose my question in different ways to ensure nothing was lost in translation.
What’s a unique phrase from your country with worldwide sentiment?
Jennifer: “Übung macht den Meister” is a German phrase that means, “Practice makes the master.” “Practice makes perfect” is the more popular usage.
Liz: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase that means, “The world is one family.” This phrase rooted in my Indian culture helps me appreciate the many other cultures I’m part of.
Andrea: I’ve always loved the Italian phrase “A modo,” which means, “Well done, done in the right way.” It symbolizes the artisanal spirit that defines Italian attention for detail and craftsmanship. I also love “When in Rome, do as Romans do,” which tries to offer an answer to the complex question of what’s “right” and “wrong” in the context of changing cultural settings.
Fresh perspectives, different ideas, creative solutions. One global team.
Whatever your culture or background, Accenture has a place for you. Find your fit with us.
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