It’s official: job knowledge and skills are not sufficient for a successful international assignment. Research now confirms intuition, “Adjustment accounts for 45% of job effectiveness.” With such influence, adjustment must be properly understood. If you’re a rookie, here are some helpful tips; if you’re a veteran, use these as a checkup.
Your ability to undergo intercultural adjustment depends on six factors:
- Accept the host country and culture. Demonstrate respect; avoid criticism. Acceptance does not mean dismissing personal convictions, but the ability to understand and honor your new friends.
- Study the country, culture, and its history.
- Foster positive feelings toward work and the culture. [See our stress article for tips for promoting emotional health.]
- Participate in activities from one’s passport culture as well as new activities of the foreign environment.
- Interact with nationals while at work and during free time. Make intentional efforts to form relationships.
- Refine communication skills. Learn the language and appropriate non-verbal system of communication.
Hone these disciplines, celebrate your successes. Regardless of how we feel, ability is influenced by external realities. Others predictors of adjustment include spousal relationship, open-mindedness, social adaptability, patience in unclear situations, and sense of humor.
Honest reflection on the above predictors will serve you well. Welcome feedback from people you know and trust. Pay attention to strengths but don’t overlook weaknesses.
Elements that foster intercultural adjustment make sense. Dismissing predictor feedback is like ignoring a storm warning.