Last week marked the beginning the “Master the Matrix” global initiative! This first stop was a series of workshops for a client in Copenhagen.
I knew when I wrote the book that the reality was that many of the matrix organizations/practitioners attracted to the book would be working globally and virtually. In fact, at one point I had an 8th essential around working in these environments. I quickly realized that it wasn’t a chapter–it was a book! I told an audience this and someone shouted–“Can you start working on that book now…please?!”
One group described this reality as matrix management “on steroids.” This is so true–you have to be so much more disciplined, diligent and focused in these global matrices.
But I think the thing that stuck me was the differences in trust that become apparent across global cultures. The Danish culture is considered one of the highest in terms of level of trust. The American culture, one of the lowest. In the sessions last week, we talked about differences across cultures (communicating, running meetings, etc.) but at the core of all these differences are perceptions of trust. The differences in our basic assumptions about trust are mainfested in how we communicate, how we run meetings and projects.
So it isn’t enough to challenge our assumptions about communication and other behaviors–those are symptoms. We have to challenge our assumptions of trust and realize when they are based on experience and evidence and when they are based on cultural bias. And realize that different cultures start at different levels of trust. In this case, the Danish have a high baseline of trust to start from, the US, fairly low.
All this is to say that build our feelings of trust in others through our behaviors of trust in others. These behaviors start with small investments as I have described previously. When working across cultures we have to be very, very aware of trust and make trust building a top priority. With this as a top priority, everything else falls into place.
This is a picture of one of the sessions, held in the beautiful Prisden Hotel in Roskilde, Denmark. It is the oldest (312 years) and, if you ask the staff, the most beautiful ballroom in Denmark. After hundreds of sessions over my career in generic hotel meeting rooms, to say this room was a welcome change, is an understatement!