I began working in the world of global culture 13 years ago, without even knowing it. When I joined Linklaters' office in Romania, in the summer of 2000, I didn't think that I was, in fact, beginning to learn and assume the values and behaviors of an international corporate culture.
It was my consulting and training work, which I started in 2004, as a young entrepreneur, that made me step into a whole new world - the one of cultural alignment. While advising Romania-based American, British, Canadian, Austrian, Turkish, Swiss and French executives on PR and communications issues, I was constantly bringing together two worlds (or more). I always tried to understand, as best as I could, every CEO's leadership and communication style, but I persistently and consistently showed them and advised them on those aspects of Romanian culture that were important to their understanding of their newly-adopted country. I complemented my advisory work, consisting mainly of introducing foreign business leaders to key Romanian media and business representatives, with showing them what Romania was really about. I took some of these leaders to the theater, to the museums, to the movies or even to dance lessons. I introduced them to the historic restaurants in Bucharest, but also to great tailors and hair stylists. I played the music of some famous Romanian singers for several foreign CEOs while driving around for business meetings. I even introduced a few arts-oriented CEOs to the work of several Romanian artists - singers, script-writers, dancers, actors.
I never thought of myself as cultural alignment adviser but that is what I have been doing all along.
Introducing foreign leaders to the culture of the local markets they have been assigned to, or decided to relocate to, is one side of the cultural alignment phase necessary for the completion of the process of economic, political and environmental globalization.
All of the foreign executives I have ever worked with ended up being truly impressed with the culture, social life and beauty of Romania. Most of them felt "at home" in Bucharest after as little as three months. They succeeded to see past the negative identity the country has been "publicized' to have, abroad, for so many years, with foreign media constantly relating Romania to political instability, corruption, the social and economic issues of the Rroma population.
My interest in the key role that cultural alignment plays in the process of globalization grew tremendously during 2012 and the first months of this year. I spent the past year helping multinational organizations assess their culture globally or regionally, and find out which values and behaviors enhance collaboration and innovation, and which stifle them.
I coached several top executives of a global NGO in the process of re-thinking the organization's Mission, Vision and Values, because they had recognized that there had been a cultural shift in the organization, during the recent years, caused by expansion of their geographic presence but also of their role as change agent in society.
I spend 2013, so far, reading and writing about the role of culture in the success of multinational corporations. As a process, cultural globalization caught my attention, and I now strongly believe that cultural alignment is the key to economic, political and environmental globalization.
Organizations and institutions such as the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, the World Bank, the IMF and others, get to witness the effects of cultural misalignment every day, only, in their case, it doesn't happen at the level of corporations, but of nations.
I want to dedicate my work to helping corporations, international institutions and nations align their culture with the global values and behaviors of democracy, in the process of economic, political, environmental and cultural globalization.