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Thanks to the wonders of modern innovation and technology, the once vast and seemingly endless world has now become a conquerable planet. This means that business circles have expanded across national lines and colleagues may work in the next office over or in a different country with its own separate time zone. Incredible enterprise opportunities are virtually limitless, but there is an issue that needs to be addressed before companies decide to take on the world – disparities in culture.

The problem does not lie in the fact that there are different cultures, but in how people from different backgrounds can work in the same business without insulting each other inadvertently. Managing and interacting with individuals who hail from various countries with an array of moral codes and work ethics can be difficult but not impossible.

Understanding the differences
There are many barriers in place when one wants to build relationships with businesspeople who have separate backgrounds. Not only is distance a factor, but there is also language, time differences and work ethic. When you find yourself face-to-face and in direct communication with people of a different culture on a daily basis, there is bound to be a period of adjustment. The Harvard Business Review reported that cultural differences, if gone unrecognized, will lead to disappointment and feelings of isolation.

The source detailed that Americans will most likely run into trouble in countries such as South Korea, Germany and Japan. The seemingly innate need that American businesspeople often have to find office companionship quickly can be an entirely foreign concept for the international professional crowd. The disparity in custom doesn't mean that these other cultures are unfriendly or cold, but that friendship is something to be earned rather than given away. Before traveling or hiring someone from abroad, it's imperative that managers know the traditional atmosphere of the country. This will remove risk of embarrassment or hurt feelings.

If only there were road signs to help navigate cross-cultural communication.If only there were road signs to help navigate cross-cultural communication.

Managerial mistakes
Having a team that spans countries and generations is an amazing benefit, but sometimes managers can run into a bit of a problem trying to make everyone feel as though they're on the same page. As the Harvard Business Review asserted in a separate article, memorizing the different traits and mannerisms of other cultures will only go so far, as one must know how to "adapt and adjust" when interacting with others. Identifying similarities and differences is not always applicable when it comes to engaging in successful communication. 

It should also be noted that there is a distinct difference between assimilating to and accommodating other people's cultures. Managers and business leaders should be respectful of diversity and not try to change it to suit the needs of the company. The insight and experience of other kinds of office conduct could be very helpful for achieving success in such a diverse world.

Expanding the walls of a company to cross oceans and national borders is commonplace today, but the nuances of healthy communication across those lines is what separates businesses from global enterprises.