The Conscious Consultant Hour

Thursday, July 16, 2020

2020/07/16 - Crossing Cultures with Dean Foster


Sam Liebowitz, will discuss all types of topics to help you raise your awareness

[NEW EPISODE] Crossing Cultures with Dean Foster

This week, on The Conscious Consultant Hour, Sam welcomes founder and Executive Strategic Consultant, Dean Foster.

Dean is the founder of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions; and former Worldwide Director of Berlitz Cross-Cultural; and currently Executive Strategic Consultant for Dwellworks Intercultural. 

His work has taken him to more than 100 countries. He is the host on CNN of the nationwide “Doing Business in … ” series; a frequent guest commentator on culture, global work and social issues for CNN, CNBC, the BBC and other radio and TV shows; and has been interviewed in Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, and elsewhere.

In 2012 Dean was inducted into Worldwide ERC’s prestigious “Hall of Leaders”; in 2013 he received the Forum for Expatriate Management’s acclaimed Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dean has written many articles and published five books, including Bargaining Across Borders, voted as one of the top ten business books of the year by the American Library Association. As a contributing editor with National Geographic, he wrote the monthly “CultureWise” column appearing in National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

Watch the Facebook Livestream by clicking here.

Segment 1:

The show starts with the weekly quotes from Abraham and the Universe. The first quote has to do with focusing on conquering today. The second is about living in the moment -- the journey is not about getting to the destination, it is about joyfully walking along the path. So often we are just looking to get to the end goal and not appreciating the views on the way there. Sam introduces his guest Dean Foster, (not to be confused with science fiction author Allen Dean Foster). Dean is an extremely accomplished global businessman. He has published 5 books, one of which was voted into the top 10 Business Books of the Year. He consults with organizations on understanding the impacts that culture has when you work with many different backgrounds. 

Segment 2:

Dean, like Sam, is a native New Yorker and grew up in an extremely multicultural environment. Dean says multiculturalism is like being a fish in the water, who doesn't see the water. You are often immersed in it without knowing it and Dean suggests that people should be aware of how the cultural differences affect a person’s environment. Defaulting to a negative standpoint when we think about culture is not productive, and instead it should be thought of as a gift and opportunity to think about things differently. Sam asks what can be done to be more mindful of cultural differences. Dean gives a  two tiered response: (1) turn off your ego, and (2) enlist them as an ally in your journey by asking questions. He suggests that businesses use the differences as a tool to achieve an understanding.  

Segment 3:

Sam and Dean use the example of the Japanese, who Sam has worked with closely in the past. They do business community-style which means everyone on the team must have their questions answered, everyone has to look at every detail before they come to a decision, and it must be a consensus. This may be frustrating for the US American who is looking for fast decision making without consulting too heavily with the team. There is an inherent humility with the Japanese, who do not differentiate their solo work from the work of the team, which is very different from the American style of business. They discuss how the Japanese have been wearing masks for so long and the Americans are having trouble latching on to this. Sam says that wearing a mask is an “act of kindness” rather than a political statement - it shows caring for the wellbeing of others. The “collective good” mindset that is common in Asia is a factor as to why they are making such progress with COVID. Dean reminds the audience that it’s all about balance. 

Segment 4:

Sam asks Dean how he relates to someone who has an extremely different culture from him. Dean says that we must humbly and respectfully ask questions about the things we don’t understand. It is important to find the similarities between cultures, but the similarities don’t negate the differences. The similarities are what you use to build on, but the differences are what will make the problems. Dean says the biggest challenge we must conquer is denying the differences even though the current generation is more mindful  that they exist. The problem is people don’t know how to manage them. It is the responsibility of everyone to educate themselves about the variances between the people of this planet. Dean’s greatest hope is that as we are forced to interact with each other, we find a way to grow rather than retreating to violence.