It goes without saying that knowledge in local culture is not luxury for executives. This knowledge could easily mean the difference between your name among the top 100 CEOs in your region, and a way-too-early goodbye party in your company. But when it comes to the GCC region, this becomes even more imperative.
We started offering cultural training workshops long before AL Training was established, it was a simple response to our clients’ needs. In fact, the first workshop was requested by a CEO of a top government authority in the UAE before we even marketed the service. But what makes cultural training exceptionally important in this part of the world?
A common misconception is that you need to learn about local Arab Muslim culture, period. You do need that, especially if you come from a western culture, but this is not everything. What you actually need is to learn about the exceptionally multi-cultural business environment in this part of the world. It is really about your people skills, your knowledge in various cultures including local, and also, and this may sound a bit overbearing, it is about maintaining a professional social media image. I am of course not implying that your Facebook or Instagram pages should mirror your LinkedIn, but they do for sure need to be close enough.
For high executives and mid-management staff alike, cultural training means preparing you for a different mindset, for thinking in different ways that you would in, say, the UK, and for being prepared not only to accept a new cultural, but also to enjoy it and, in part, live it.
The challenge is not only about communicating properly and conducting business meetings with knowledge in local culture on your side, it is also about managing your team, representing your company in social functions, and speaking to the media, where every word matters (hence the slogan culturally-aware media training).