Seminar Leader Robert A. Simpkins introduces this activity at the beginning of any seminar in which trainees need a framework for understanding cultural diversity and for recognizing the added value such understanding can provide. It is especially appropriate in seminars with a global focus in management, sales, marketing, and strategic planning. It is essentially an exercise in advanced cognitive thinking, stretching one's knowledge and perception, self-assessment, and recognizing the roots of cultural understanding in one's own experience.

Robert gives us a skill-building opening activity that leads to cross-cultural communication and connection.


  • Strategic Planning

  • Organizational Planning

  • Operational Planning

  • Performance Management

  • Sales and Marketing

  • Communications

  • Leadership


In today's rapidly globalizing economy, any business can find itself engaged in planning and preparing for international transactions with partners , alliances, suppliers, customers and remotely placed employees . The approach described in this opening activity begins the process of encouraging the trainees to define their own relationships to the environment and to rethink the basis for their own perspectives. The exercise facilitates the application of more appropriate understandings and actions during the remainder of the seminar. When trainees understand their own cultural frameworks, they have a greater ability to compare how their ideas differ from other cultures and civilizations . The resultant change in behavior allows for more effective communications, more efficient organizational design, and the possibility of global teaming.


  • To learn how civilizations align cultures

  • To recognize the basis for personal values

  • To learn to link values to cultural perspectives

  • To utilize cultural perspectives to more effectively design organizations, processes, rewards, and recognition systems that address cultural differences

  • To understand how to utilize this new understanding to any follow-on knowledge transfer program


A good atlas for your own seminar leader preparation and reference if needed during the seminar


Team style for maximum discussion; groups of 4 to 6 persons


1 hour


  1. During the introductions process, ask participants to identify their favorite cultures and what, specifically , that they like about that culture. If the group is all domestic, they are asked about cultures other than American. If they are international, they may include American. This first process facilitates a great deal of discussion.

  2. As the group prepares for the course content, set the global stage by explaining that civilizations are the largest groupings of cultures that have recognizable similarities. For example, an American can go to France, Germany, Australia, or Italy and recognize how they make decisions. As soon as they go to another civilization, such as China, Bahrain or India, the recognizable patterns are confusing. Relate the civilizational differences with geologic plate tectonics, including the concept of chaotic fault lines where different civilizations come together.

  3. Proceed through the civilization down to individual cultures within a single civilization. Relate how cultures are a collection of "common values" possessed by a group of people controlling the environment into which they are born. Cultures also develop through "free choice values" that we pursue and integrate as we mature. Finally, our values become enriched through the additive of "adaptive values" that we incorporate during dramatic or traumatic events in our lives ( marriage , children, loss of a loved one, etc.)

  4. Now, ask them what values (all three forms ”common, free choice, adaptive) they personally possess that cause them to appreciate the particular culture they previously identified.

  5. Ask them to identify a particular culture that they do not clearly understand or one that they might feel uncomfortable engaging in. Have them explain a particular behavior from that culture that confuses them. Ask them to analyze the values possessed by that culture that might lead to the particular behavior.

  6. As a wrap-up to the exercise, ask the participants which values the identified culture has in common with their own.

  7. Challenge them to apply their new found thinking to the upcoming material and how it may apply to the application of the content of the seminar. For example, to lead an international group, one must understand cultural motivations, rewards, and feelings about authority typical of that group.

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Name :

Robert A. Simpkins


Global Crosswinds, L.L.C


116 Gresham Place


Falls Church, VA 22046

E-Mail: or





end example

ROBERT A. SIMPKINS is founder and President of Global Crosswinds, an international advisory and training firm, focusing on the development of sales and marketing professionals to maximize their capabilities in the domestic and global environment. Robert has advised and deployed advanced knowledge transfer and training programs in more than 37 countries , from Abu Dhabi to Zimbabwe, and all across the United States.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards for sales leadership, strategic planning, sales and sales management, teamwork, management, leadership, and client satisfaction achievement. He has been listed five times in W ho's W ho , P ersonalities of the W est , and the B iographical R ole of H onor . He is an Adjunct Professor of International Sales at Thunderbird University (the American Graduate School of International Management), a member of the American Society of Association Executives, Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, National Speakers Association, Overseas Security Advisory Council, and the National Historic Trust.

He has written seven different courses ranging from Value Added Selling to Advanced Sales Management for the American Management Association, and he delivers more than sixty sales and marketing public and on-site seminars a year. He is the author of an AMACOM book, T itans of Sales M anagement , spring 2004, and has had work published by C ompetitive I ntelligence M agazine , American Society of Association Executives, EMG M agazine , and the American Management Association. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Psychology and a Masters in Management and Human Behavior.

Robert A. Simpkins has taught these AMA seminars:


Global Account Management


Strategic Planning




Value Added Selling


Advanced Sales Management


Critical Thinking


Fundamentals of Sales Management for the Newly Appointed Sales Manager, Level 1


Principles of Professional Selling


Fundamental Selling Techniques for the New or Prospective Sales Person, Level 1


Selling to Senior Executives


Managing Superior Customer Service: How to Position Your Department as a Profit Center


Selling to Major Accounts: A Strategic Approach


Time and Territory Management for Sales People


Managing the Distributor Sales Network


Mini-MBA: AMA's 5-Day MBA Program


Making the Transition to Management


Successfully Managing People


Competitive Strategy: How to Develop Winning Marketing Plans and Breakthrough Strategies


Strategic Sales Negotiations


National Account Management


How to Develop a Winning Business Plan

The AMA Trainers Activity Book. A Selection of the Best Learning Exercises from the Worlds Premiere Training Organization
The AMA Trainers Activity Book: A Selection of the Best Learning Exercises from the Worlds Premiere Training Organization
ISBN: 0814408141
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 61

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