Events Ascame/ April 8, 2024/ Featured

The bestselling author and inspirational speaker on business leadership Mr. Simon Sinek said once “If you do not understand people, you do not understand business”. In the following interview, Mrs. Elisabet Camprubí, CEO of BÉCÉ Consulting & Language Services SL, quotes him to reflect on the complexities of intercultural business environments. Her in-depth experience in different scenarios, markets and business practices, combined with her excellent communication and interpersonal skills, make her a valuable partner for companies seeking to expand their reach and increase their competitiveness beyond their borders. Whether it is developing marketing strategies, providing customized English / German / Spanish training programs or offering expert advice on international business practices, Elisabet is committed to delivering practical solutions that meet her clients’ needs. ASCAME has recently signed a collaboration agreement with this consulting company with the aim of helping its members and partners to navigate the complexities of intercultural business environments while pursuing their international business objectives.

How do you help companies and professionals increase their competitiveness in a multicultural environment?
Our company specializes in delivering comprehensive support tailored to individuals aiming to adeptly navigate the complexities of leadership in multicultural environments. We foster heightened effectiveness, satisfaction, and confidence in business operations, particularly within the realm of cross-cultural communication endeavors by applying evidence-based methods and leveraging proven business cases.

From what need did your business project come up?
BECE recognized the significance of the cultural barrier niche when our clients encountered challenges in achieving their international business objectives as anticipated as well as the volatile dynamics and increased speed the future of workplace have evolved in a post-pandemic environment. While initially equipping them with linguistic tools for practical application, it became evident that they also required a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons. This marked the inception of our journey towards offering intercultural training, subsequently complemented by systematic, human-centred, strategic consulting services.

What kind of companies do you advise? What are their main common demands and problems to solve?
Our clientele consists of team managers, independent business entrepreneurs, or SME managers who engage in daily communication with individuals from other cultures, where the business language is not their native tongue. Despite proficiency in languages such as English, French, German or Spanish on both sides, they often experience frustration due to difficulties in effectively transferring their message. This frustration manifests in project outcomes and time constraints, adversely impacting overall results.

What are the main complexities of intercultural business environment?
If we do not proactively address diversity and social inquiries in context of the workplace culture in organizations, teams, and applying a right user-centred strategy, will we likely encounter persistent challenges, and the resulting consequences impact directly the organization that you or your team are either managing or operating.

What is your main advice to make business successfully beyond borders?
We emphasize the importance of cultural strategies for businesses to integrate talent from employees with diverse life experiences and the relevance of this approach in times of economic crises, rapid changes, and disruptive transformations. The battle for talent has been ongoing for years. Many global companies struggle to recruit the best talent due to a complex interplay of passports, laws, and biases. Diverse thinking and cultural experiences, as demonstrated, aid in the creative expansion of companies. A global team not only brings together skills but is also open to the world, bringing different talents and values. This creates a work culture that encourages open conversations, breaks down barriers and walls, and generates a greater impact on society and therefore in business – if aware of the opportunity It represents! Embracing new ways of working and how workforce will operate in future is essential for a culture transformation of businesses with legacy structures. Fostering a culture of authenticity, change and resilience through evidence-based methods will upgrade the confidence of decision makers and the affected workforce.

Diverse thinking and cultural experiences contribute to the creative expansion of companies. A global team brings different talents and values. This creates a work culture that encourages open conversations, breaks down barriers and walls, and generates a greater impact on society

What about the complexities of the Mediterranean region? What is the key to deal with the Mediterranean diversity?
Negotiations in the Mediterranean region are profoundly influenced by cultural values, beliefs, and communication styles, resulting in significant impacts. Each country in the region possesses its own unique cultural norms and values, which shape the negotiation process. By appreciating the intricacies of national cultures, negotiators can deftly navigate the complexities of business negotiations and foster prosperous collaborations. Cultural understanding is a guiding compass, helping negotiators uncover shared values, overcome potential misunderstandings, and forge strong connections. This power duo, comprised of business acumen and cultural intelligence, holds the key to unlocking your business’s potential and empowering your team for future success.

What are the main differences that you detect from North and South in the Mediterranean?
The North and South Mediterranean countries offer different opportunities and challenges for foreign investors. The North Mediterranean countries have well-developed economies and infrastructure, and the tourism and manufacturing sectors are significant contributors to their GDPs. The South Mediterranean countries have a diverse range of economic activities but face challenges such as political instability, security concerns, and limited infrastructure. However, these countries also offer opportunities for investors in the energy, manufacturing, and service sectors. Understanding the unique cultural and economic landscapes of each country is crucial for investors seeking to do business in the Mediterranean region. I encourage you all to read this article for its detailed information or contact us at coach@bece.cat for developed business cases.

You usually quote Mr. Simon Sinek, who said: “If you do not understand people, you do not understand business”. Why do you so agree with this sentence?
Among years of travelling and living abroad, one gets to learn there is a communality of “understanding people”. Hence, the foundation of human-centricity is essential in achieving success in the complex realm of business negotiations hinges on meticulous attention to a multitude of factors. One critical determinant that significantly shapes negotiation dynamics is the national and organizational culture of the involved parties. This influence is especially pronounced in the markets surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, where cultural intelligence (CQ) becomes indispensable for securing favourable outcomes. Cultivating a deep understanding and adaptability to the unique cultural norms, values, and behaviours is key to meet your business goals.

Each country in the Mediterranean possesses its own unique cultural norms and values, which shape the negotiation process. Understanding the unique cultural and economic landscapes of each country is crucial for investors seeking to do business in this region

Effective international mediation is the most important factor to face conflict situations across cultures in an effective way or would you add another one?
As an intercultural facilitator, I would acknowledge that effective international mediation is indeed a crucial factor in addressing conflict situations across cultures. However, I would also emphasize the importance of intercultural communication skills development. Effective and empathetic communication is paramount in grasping the viewpoints, requirements, and apprehensions of all parties entangled in a conflict. It equips mediators with the ability to delicately navigate cultural disparities and cultivate trust and collaboration among opposing factions. This is precisely where the pivotal role of intercultural facilitators becomes evident. Without articulate and respectful communication, mediation efforts may encounter obstacles, potentially escalating conflicts rather than alleviating them due to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

How can the richness of cultural diversity become a driving force for innovation and a catalyst in shaping the future of businesses?
The richness of cultural diversity is a driving force in any field, it is like an exploration into the cultural characteristics that influence individuals’ creative thinking, decision-making, and communication. These features unveils invaluable insights for negotiators engaging with any counterparts. Factors such as collectivism versus individualism, hierarchical structures, adherence to rules, and consensus-building play pivotal roles in the region’s decision-making processes. Embracing cultural diversity, and cross-collaboration not only enriches negotiation strategies but also sparks innovative approaches, leveraging the unique perspectives and insights derived from diverse cultural backgrounds. This, in turn, fuels creativity and ingenuity, propelling businesses toward future success in an increasingly interconnected and culturally diverse global landscape.

What is your opinion on the importance of multicultural leadership in maximizing the potential of a diverse workforce?
Recognizing the significance of cultural understanding in negotiations goes beyond being a valuable skill; it is an investment in the growth and sustainability of your company, of your endeavours. By investing time and effort to comprehend the diverse cultural landscape – national & organizational, businesses can identify and bridge gaps, build trust, and establish long-lasting partnerships. The payoff is not only a successful negotiation but also a solid foundation for future collaborations that can withstand the test of time.

We would like to ask you about Barcelona’s collaborative community, multicultural environment and multicultural entrepreneurial ecosystem. What can adapt other Mediterranean countries from Barcelona’s multicultural environment?
Barcelona is indeed a collaborative community, with multicultural environment, and entrepreneurial ecosystem that offers valuable lessons for other Mediterranean countries seeking to enhance their own cultural and business landscapes. In essence, Barcelona’s multicultural environment offers a blueprint for fostering innovation, collaboration, and economic prosperity in other Mediterranean countries (Catalonia foreign investment increased by 18% in 2023). Based on my experience, I’d like to highlight that community is probably the foundation that embraces diversity, and by nature Barcelona supports entrepreneurship while promoting collaboration, cultivating talent. Diversity in cultures can create thriving ecosystems that drive sustainable development and global competitiveness.

Effective international mediation is a crucial factor in addressing conflict situations across cultures. However, I would also emphasize the importance of intercultural communication skills development. Effective and empathetic communication is paramount in grasping the viewpoints, requirements, and apprehensions of all parties entangled in a conflict.

Finally, what benefits can obtain ASCAME’s members from BÉCÉ consultancy services?
ASCAME members have the opportunity to provide workshops to their members who are eager to expand internationally. Through these workshops, participants can gain insights not only into the culture of their target markets but also into their own cultural identities. This knowledge serves as valuable tools for refining their strategies, establishing effective communication styles, and executing planned negotiations. Apart from this, our approach is deeply ingrained in promoting self-awareness and empowerment, enabling companies to transcend borders, and set their sights on new horizons with the support to be part of their team any time.

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