Cultural Influences

Cultural patterns are another dimension to individual and team personalities. The cultural diversity of many modern companies is well known and global project teams are becoming more common. Cultural patterns vary by country and region, and affect team members' expectations. Cultures can influence individual personality expression by providing a framework of norms within which personality types operate. For example, the United States is an apparent MBTI extroverted culture, as compared to the apparent introverted cultures in the United Kingdom and Japan. Also, German participants are typically prepared for meetings and stick closely to the agenda (MBTI SJ behavior), while Latin American participants are ready to improvise and feel free to start on unexpected topics (NP behavior). Latinos also easily speak their mind

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(E), while Scandinavians need to express themselves only if they disagree with a decision (I).1—' In Asia, the members' relationships are considered most important (NF), whereas, in Western countries (United States and European), money and tasks are usually weighted more heavily (ST). Some older American women, having grown up in the South or the Southwest, may fear ageism (the United States is not a culture of "respect for elders," as in Japan) and may have trouble discussing money matters. American businesspeople frequently jump right into "making the deal," whereas Latin Americans, Asians, and Europeans carefully build a trusting relationship first.

Table 6-5. MBTI and Enneagram Types

Enneagram Types

MBTI Types

Perfectionist

Judging

Helper

Extrovert, Feeling

Achiever

Extrovert, Sensing, Judging

Romantic

iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving

Observer

Introvert, Thinking

Questioner

Introvert

Adventurer

Extrovert, iNtuitive

Asserter

Extrovert, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving

Peacemaker

iNtuitive, Perceiving

To understand cultural patterns better, project managers can take short classes available to increase sensitivity to cultural issues. If you have a multinational project team, the members may be divided by the common business language of a company's English (well, American, actually). A good way to gain some quick vocabulary with which to build trust (it helps to show that you are trying even if you aren't proficient) is to take a short immersion course in one or more of your project team members' languages (e.g., Berlitz). It will help you with the basics but also allow you to absorb some of the local cultural patterns. This will help you to read individuals' motives and actions better because language is inextricably related to culture.

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