I have been working on a professional development program which is focused on the importance of focusing on the needs and expectations of international attendees at meetings. As I have been working on it more and more, I have been studying up more on the importance of understanding differences in culture and how to better understand the dynamics of the multi-cultural world we live in, particularly how business is done. One of the key tools I have been focusing on is Richard D. Lewis’ CultureActive tool, particularly the Lewis Model which is a great tool for understanding how different cultures react.
One of the three main types of cultural variations is known as Multi-Active, which for the most part describes Latin American culture. Multi-Actives are defined by Lewis as “those lively, loquacious peoples who do many things at once, planning their priorities not according to a time schedule, but according to the relative thrill or importance that each appointment brings with it.” Nothing could be more accurate about so many of the cultures that can be found throughout Latin America. Now, in defining cultures, there is no absolute norm. But there is a general idea and understanding of a culture, and while doing meetings and events in Latin America for many can be a challenge, it is something that our colleagues in the region take with great pride and workmanship. We all hear about “Latin Time”, but there you have it, right in the definition. It’s not necessarily about timetables and clockwork… it’s about focusing on the important tasks at hand and getting them done.
Cultural differences are abound throughout Latin America, from the way business is done to the way people live their daily lives, defined by their rich past history and many other daily factors that have great influence. But if there is one thing I know is that every Latin America I have met shows a tremendous pride in their culture no matter the country they are from… and they are just as proud to show it. This to me extends all the way into business dealings and understanding that while some may find it hard to understand other cultural norms, in the end, the experience will be positively unforgettable.