Hello, my name is Christina Kwok, and I'm the owner of Cross-Cultural Synergies.
Below is an interview that covers some FAQs about the service programmes I offer.
How did you come to be interested in cross-cultural team building?
My early interest in cross-cultural dynamics dates back several years from an incident that happened during my career as a geologist working for Exxon Oil in Malaysia. I had newly graduated with a Master's Degree in Geology from the University of Southern California and returned home.
Working on exploration as well as production rigs in the South China Sea meant I had my share of intercultural encounters whilst coordinating and monitoring the work of mudloggers, wireline logging engineers and drilling personnel who came from all over the world and from all walks of life.
One of my earliest experiences involved working with a Canadian reservoir engineer who was sent out to ensure that the 30-meter slab of rock (called a core) to be cut on the well, was properly packed, sealed and delivered to the engineering lab to conduct permeability studies on.
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It was my responsibility to see that the core was cut in the right geologic horizon at the right depth so that we could evaluate for hydrocarbon content and commercial viability. I am trained to pick the core at the right depth and then give instructions to the drilling crew to start cutting.
However the reservoir engineer, a Canadian by the name of Brian, felt he needed to keep looking over my shoulder to see that I was doing everything by the book in case I missed cutting the core at the correct depth. This led to friction between us, I felt he was stepping on my toes and not trusting me to do my job properly. Looking back in time, I know now that the situation could have been handled differently. Back in those days, cross-cultural training was not yet à la mode and very few people recognized the nature of the communication problem between us, which to me was essentially a failure of trust and accountability building from the outset, an essential factor in working cross-culturally.
I should have adapted my communication style and recognized his need for up-to-date information as drilling progressed to allay his concerns. On the other hand, Brian could have made more effort to get to know me on a personal basis before the drilling started and then I might not have reacted so strongly to what seemed like interference on his part.
The end of the story is that we cut the core at the right place and the reservoir engineer got to pack it and send it off to the lab. So both sides accomplished their objectives for the company.
But back in the office, my supervisor was displeased to hear that Brian and I had had conflict working together. I still remember his remark to me: "it's difficult to understand why 2 people working for the same company with the same objectives, could have clashed and had difficulty working with each other".
What sets you apart from other intercultural trainers?
Having grown up in a multicultural environment in Malaysia where the makeup of the local population (ethnic Malay Muslims, Chinese Buddhists and Indian Hindus) closely reflect the majority populations of Asia together as a whole, I have learned the importance of tolerance, mutual respect and understanding in rich and diverse settings of cultivating friendships in school, approaching problems in the workplace with a flexible mindset and keeping an open mind to new ideas and perspectives all as part and parcel of living in a plural society.
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I have also had extremely diverse multicultural encounters during my university student days in the U.S. with international students from South America and the Middle East. Together with the multifaceted exposure to life in Switzerland and having had corporate experience at two Swiss multinational companies, I am naturally placed as a cross-cultural trainer, to help professionals in multinational organizations bridge the gap in perspectives and mindsets that often come in the way of building successful teams and delivering desired results.
Through my years of practical experience working with business, finance and technical professionals to improve their business communication skills and workplace performance, I also acquired insight into learning approaches that combine relevant content with effective delivery and training methodology to engage various learning styles. My training approach facilitates your cross-cultural teambuilding efforts and sharpens your leadership and management skills to enhance performance all round, thus helping you achieve your organizational goals.
Who is your target market, who do you work with?
The international team building training model is targeted at companies that work internationally, with multicultural teams that may be largely virtual and need to build strong relationships based on trust and accountability so as to deliver consistently high performance.
How do your programmes work?
We start by figuring out what challenges your team faces. We spend time talking about your team's current strengths and weaknesses to define the gap between the current and the desired individual and organizational performances. I ask you questions to identify the root of any problems.
Only then can we evaluate what sort of training your team needs. I guide you to:
Choose from one or more of the International Team Building (DPI) modules for teambuilding with a cross-cultural focus if your teams are multicultural and would benefit from acquiring intercultural awareness and developing intercultural sensitivity towards the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of your team colleagues. This is essential for building team commitment and trust especially if your team is virtual.
Choose the Team Management Profile (TMP), a psychometric tool, if your team members are internationally experienced to improve or maintain team performance, address blind spots, enhance communication and leadership skills while boosting overall team morale. This helps to increase the sense of personal well-being as well as job satisfaction in your team.
What results can I expect?
The team building programmes are designed to give you the support and guidance that you as international business team leaders and managers need, by:
Offering you insight into and understanding of how cross-cultural and intercultural issues manifest in the workplace
Coaching you on skills such as communication, time management, assertiveness, mindfulness and conflict resolution
Developing your skills and approaches to deal with cross-cultural and intercultural issues
Providing you with effective guidance on how to leverage cultural differences and maximise the potential of your multicultural team
Last but not least, you will leave the training with the confidence and flexible mindset that helps you to adapt successfully to different international contexts.
Working in a team has been a challenge since time immemorial. While not easy in a familiar – monocultural or narrowly technical – environment, this challenge grows exponentially when borders are crossed and varying cultures and personalities enter into a collision course.
My programmes are designed to help you hit the ground running. You will learn to transcend the limitations imposed by your upbringing and social conditioning while attaining personal and professional growth, as well as organizational maturation. You will receive practical guidance for daily challenges, either in small (team) or large (organizational) settings as you develop the skill of flexible thinking to adapt successfully to different international contexts.
How quickly can I expect results?
My team building training is designed to be immediately relevant to your needs, your work and your business while solving your problems and attaining your business goals thus moving you closer to the results you expect. The ideas, insights and skills you acquire post-training is meant to be immediately applicable to the workplace as you become adept at negotiating conflict and enhancing team productivity.
I am a registered member of the " Switzerland Global Enterprise " Pool of Experts, an online resource directory. SGE networks companies, specialists and private and public organisations all over the world to effectively promote foreign trade.
For further information or a free introductory workshop, please contact me at:
email : email@example.com
Tel: +41 56 406 1803
Mobile: + 41 79 308 4235