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Diversity & Inclusion

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Age Discrimination is Everybody's Problem
Leadership 7 min read

Age Discrimination is Everybody's Problem

Age discrimination is very real for large numbers of the working population in any country. How do you deal with it as a leader?

Balancing Family With Work: How Employers Can Meet the Needs of Working Parents
Leadership 10 min read

Balancing Family With Work: How Employers Can Meet the Needs of Working Parents

A large percentage of workers need to balance the demands of their families with their careers. How do we make it easy for them?

Leadership Blind Spot: Why a Lack of Cultural Intelligence Holds You Back
Leadership 5 min read

Leadership Blind Spot: Why a Lack of Cultural Intelligence Holds You Back

When you're at work, you probably think about your colleagues' IQ (Intelligence Quotient), or how traditionally smart they are. You might even think about their EQ (Emotional Quotient), or how well they deal with and respond to emotions when communicating. With international expansion, there arises another factor to consider — one that might possibly take priority over the other two: CQ (Cultural Quotient), or how one relates and adapts to different cultures while working. It's more than just cultural awareness, it's about embracing challenging situations and different mindsets. If your business is global and your employees don't have CQ, you're going to find yourself fumbling far more frequently than your CQ-savvy peers. New leaders need to learn to work with people of different cultures, including different backgrounds, ages, titles, and dispositions. As an individual and as a business, you need CQ to collaborate, to innovate, and to connect to our shrinking world. Book Review: Cultural Intelligence by Julia Middleton After receiving a copy of Cultural Intelligence by Julia Middleton, I read the book which brands CQ as "the competitive edge for leaders crossing borders." The book is an enlightening and informative read about CQ — what it means, everything it encompasses, and how we can develop ourselves as leaders to make sure our cultural intelligence is ever-evolving. It helps you evaluate where your CQ stands today, and what you can do to increase your own cultural intelligence. Middleton breaks down CQ into two parts: our core and our flex. Our core is made up of behaviors and beliefs that are so near and dear to us that we refuse to change them for others. Things in our flex are more adaptable when we step into an unfamiliar situation or a different culture. To increase our cultural intelligence, we must individually evaluate both parts of our personality. Both are necessary, and the trick is to find the balance between the two zones. According to Middleton, cultural intelligence is not something leaders can develop or stretch by attending a class. It's not even something we can hope to gain by reading her book and taking copious notes. Cultural intelligence must be gained by going out into the world, interacting with people outside of our comfort zones, making (sometimes uncomfortable) mistakes, and learning to welcome new possibilities and challenges. It's not about obeying our manners, it's about learning new thought processes and embracing them. I highly recommend the book for any leader who wants to take a hard look at their own cultural intelligence, and learn how to develop it further — there is always room for improvement. How to Develop Cultural Intelligence at Work Today If you want to take Middleton's lessons on cultural intelligence to work with you, here a few business-ready ways to start developing your CQ today: 1. Create a mixed network Do not surround yourself with people from the same background, same team, or same mindset. Purposely keep people in your network from all walks of life. By keeping different cultures close to you — including people of various backgrounds, ages, positions — you will find opportunities to expand your horizons. Do it today: Befriend the new gal in the office. Grab lunch with a colleague you rarely talk to. Tweet to your followers to find someone who disagrees with one of your many opinions. 2. Take the time to learn from other people Actually sit down and learn about the people around you. Every colleague has had a different experience, and therefore has a different way of perceiving and solving problems. By learning about them, you learn more about their mindset and may learn new ways to approach business. Do it today: Organize a team-building event for your group to share and learn about what makes each person unique. If colleagues claim they're just "too average/typical/boring" to teach anything, have them talk about their heritage, their culture, their home state, their family, their hobbies, or even their bucket list of dreams for the future. 3. Seek out challenging opinions Human instinct tells us to shut out competing opinions. If they're not with us, they're against us! By operating under that assumption, you're denying a valuable opportunity to grow. Actively seek out colleagues that seem to disagree with everything you say, riling you up and making you so mad that you go home and fume about work for two more hours. After you've cooled down, take each turbulent conversation as an opportunity to learn a different approach to your work. Do it today: If you have been shutting out That One Colleague that always seems to disagree with your opinions, reevaluate their responses. Go out of your way to ask the dissenter for their feedback on your current project. Challenge yourself to appreciate their opinions instead of resenting their perceived roadblock. Developing Cultural Intelligence for the Future of Work As the world gets smaller, leaders must grow. By actively educating yourself and developing your CQ, you will expand your horizons and be known as a better leader for it. Cultural Intelligence by Julia Middleton is an excellent book that walks through what it means to develop cultural intelligence, gives easy-to-follow resources for evaluating your own CQ, and ultimately leaves you feeling empowered to grow as a leader. If you are interested in continuing to learn more while you wait for your copy of the book, read this article about cultural intelligence over on the Common Purpose website (an organization founded by Julia). Have you read Cultural Intelligence or other similar books? We'd love to start a conversation about CQ and the business value of cultural intelligence in the comments. Talk to you soon. Related Articles: 5 Tips for Embracing Cross-Cultural Differences on Teams Top 10 Work Skills You'll Need in 2020 (Infographic)

Top Tips for Accommodating Disabilities in the Workplace
Collaboration 5 min read

Top Tips for Accommodating Disabilities in the Workplace

Workplace diversity and inclusion are key. Check out our tips for accommodating disabilities in the workplace and learn about disability etiquette training.

How To Promote Diversity in the Workplace
Collaboration 5 min read

How To Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Wondering how to promote diversity in the workplace? Here’s everything you need to know about diversity management and the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

Think Different, Work Different: The One Aspect of Diversity Most Companies Ignore
Wrike Tips 10 min read

Think Different, Work Different: The One Aspect of Diversity Most Companies Ignore

Companies are going to great lengths to support a diverse workforce, but there's one key component nobody's talking about.

How Wrike Sales Teams Tackle Diversity and the Wage Gap
News 3 min read

How Wrike Sales Teams Tackle Diversity and the Wage Gap

The Wrike Sales Team is focused on relationship-building, communication, listening, and fostering trust with our clients. These qualities are all found in great salespeople, but perhaps more importantly, these values are most commonly associated with women, making our working environment more inclusive than many others. Our Sales Team members still have a great competitive mentality, but the focus is on the client, where it should be.

How Diverse is Wrike? (Infographic)
News 3 min read

How Diverse is Wrike? (Infographic)

As part of our new Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, we sent employees a voluntary survey to measure how diverse we really are. Check out the amazing results.

5 Tips for Embracing Cross-Cultural Differences on Project Teams
Collaboration 5 min read

5 Tips for Embracing Cross-Cultural Differences on Project Teams

With the advent of cloud services and the widespread availability of high-speed internet around the world, it’s becoming more and more common for organizations to have teams made up of people in different countries, working remotely from one another, using technology to collaborate efficiently despite the distance. But with this rise in remote teams comes the challenge of dealing with different cultures within one workforce. To a certain extent, these differences tend to be smaller issues when compared with overarching project goals and clearly stated deadlines. But what happens when there is difficulty understanding one another’s speech? And how do you coax teamwork from every member when some cultures tend to be more aggressive and vocal than others? Cultures are based on unseen values and assumptions created by shared experiences and events. When exposed to the same situation, different cultures might react in different ways. All of this underscores the need for cultural awareness in order to avoid, or at least limit, misunderstandings and miscommunication. From the very start, Wrike has functioned as a cross-cultural team, and we’ve found ways to work efficiently with colleagues in different countries and cultures. We like to think we’ve made it work, though there is always room to grow. So we’ve put together our five strategies for managing cross-cultural teams: 1. Learn About One Another One of the easiest ways to learn about the cultural diversity of your team is to flat out ask them. A perfect icebreaker is to ask about office holidays: Why do your colleagues in the Philippines and Russia get a week off after Christmas? What festivals are your Indian colleagues observing? What exactly is Boxing Day in Canada? Why is Thanksgiving such a big deal in the U.S.? Dedicate a section of your onboarding process to reading up on the different cultures in your organization. After all, there’s no better time to drill the importance of cultural awareness than at the start. Another fantastic way to learn about your international teammates is to visit or invite them over. Here at Wrike HQ, we often host our remote team members, their visits timed for important conferences or seminars. This allows us to interact with colleagues on a day-to-day basis away from the computer screen and has given us the chance to get to know them better. 2.  Allow for Different Learning Styles Any elementary teacher can tell you that every student learns in a different way. But stepping further back, different countries also typically educate students in various ways. So on an individual level, there are people who are more studious and bookish overall, learning new material by consuming technical documents and manuals. Others among us learn better go by experiencing things hands-on, or watching demonstrations. Allow for these different learning styles when collaborating together. If you’re all trying to absorb new material, have downloadable/printable PDFs for those who learn best by reading, audiobooks for those who need to hear concepts aloud, and webinars or video tutorials for those who need to see it done in front of them. 3. Make the Recap a Part of the Meeting Don’t forget that English is not a common first language outside of some countries in Europe and North America. In many places, it’s a second or third language. You should never assume that what you say is understood — even if you speak slowly and use shorter words. Instead of asking if your team understood next steps (that’s a yes or no answer that can easily be fibbed) make it a habit to ask the team to recap their assignments before ending a call or meeting. This has the added bonus of clarifying everyone's priority tasks and giving the team a last-minute chance to ask questions. 4. Involve the Quiet Some cultures are more vocal, more aggressive, more able to express themselves in a meeting. And in that way, they might seem to dominate discussions. Conversely, some cultures are more quiet, comparatively passive, willing to sit out a meeting without saying anything while the more vocal members debate. In a situation like this, make sure to circle back to the quiet people after a meeting and get their input on the discussions, apart from the larger group. Make use of a collaboration tool such as Wrike that can capture everyone’s comments and feedback — something that balances the scales and gives the quieter people an equal chance to be heard. 5. Incorporate Humor Humor is an easy way to break the ice — just be aware that it’ll take time to learn what each culture finds funny. One of our team members shared that she had a little difficulty comprehending American humor. But because she brought it up, we were able to explain some aspects of it and give her relevant links to YouTube clips showcasing examples of what we found funny. So definitely, incorporate humor into your teamwork with virtual icebreakers for large groups. One of our favorite tips is to designate a virtual water cooler channel in your instant messaging app and make it a place where the team can hang out and NOT talk about work at all but about the stuff they find interesting, funny, or entertaining. In all these tips, the basic underlying premise that’s always worked for Wrike has been one of respect. If you respect the different cultures and ask the right questions in order to understand what you don’t know, you’ll have much more successful interactions. If you have any tips of your own, we’d love to hear them. Share your experiences of working with a cross-cultural team in the comments below!

What Happens When Companies Invest in Working Moms (Video)
Leadership 5 min read

What Happens When Companies Invest in Working Moms (Video)

The challenges of working mothers may be well documented, but the unique value they bring to their organizations is acknowledged far too seldom. Here’s what happens when companies invest in working moms.

Found in Translation: Tips to Collaborate Better with International Teams
Collaboration 10 min read

Found in Translation: Tips to Collaborate Better with International Teams

Whether you hail from India, Scotland, the U.S., or anywhere in between, here are some tips to make collaboration that much easier with international teams—despite being thousands of miles apart.

Women in Tech Know Their Worth—It's Time Everyone Else Does Too
Leadership 10 min read

Women in Tech Know Their Worth—It's Time Everyone Else Does Too

According to Wrike's 2018 Operational Excellence Survey Report, 48% of women say any improvement suggestions they make will be ignored or never implemented.