Host Christian Pearson and global logistics expert, Dr. Scott Webb, share a fascinating discourse on the topic of cultural differences across international borders. Scott relates several stories from his years of experience, illustrating the power of cultural intelligence to create lasting business relationships. Then, they talk about how researchers might approach various cultural differences in Cambodia. Scott concludes the discussion by highlighting the importance of humility, compassion, and love to become truly “cultured.”

Inside the Cambodia Project Episode 14: Cultural Intelligence

with Dr. Scott Webb

[00:00:00.310] – Christian Pearson
Hello, I’m Christian, and you’re listening to Inside the Cambodia Project, an educational podcast where we discuss cutting-edge research on sustainable business in an emerging market. Last episode, I talked with Matapuna Levenson, a victim advocate and project manager for the Asian Pacific Institute on gender-based violence. Puna described the differences between direct service and a systematic community approach to Violence Prevention. She also underscored the importance of balancing good intentions with locally-supported interventions in order to build trust and increase impact in a community. It was awesome to be able to work with her and take a closer look at the implications of working with small business owners to address gender-based violence in Cambodia. Joining us today is one of my very own business professors, so I’m especially excited to introduce him here for some extra credit. I’m just kidding. But Scott Webb is an Associate Professor of Global Supply Chain Management, and he specializes in Logistics Management. He received his PhD in Logistics and Operations Management from the Eli Brod College of Business at Michigan State University. In addition to his PhD, Scott earned a master’s degree in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in Experimental Psychology from the College of Idaho.

[00:01:32.490] – Christian Pearson
Webb was previously an instructor at BIO for two years and then was an assistant professor of Logistics at Georgia Southern University for two more years. Webb has also served as a Logistics Readiness Officer for the United States Air Force for 12 years. During his Air Force career, Webb worked at base level and Pentagon-level assignments. Webb separated from active duty military service in 2008 at the rank of Major, and after earning both Air Force Commendation Metals and the Air Force Meritorious Service Metal. Thank you so much for joining us today, Scott. It’s so great to have you on the podcast.

[00:02:10.790] – Scott Webb
Great to be here. Thank you.

[00:02:12.310] – Christian Pearson
I’m really excited to talk to you about some of those cultural differences, logistics, and how to navigate all of that. Just to kick things off, I thought I’d share a quote from… His name is Jawa Harlal Nehru. I hope I pronounced that right. He’s a man known not only for his work as the first Prime Minister of independent India, but also for his close association with Gandhi and his passion for social innovation. Nehru famously once said, Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit. While this quote is short and sweet, I really appreciate the depth and the scope of its message. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think Nehru was trying to say about culture?

[00:03:00.300] – Scott Webb
I think what I hear him saying is that as we broaden our culture or as we think deeply about what we believe and how we act and what our culture, and probably should I find culture first. I usually think of culture as an invisible wall. It’s the thing that allows us to identify who’s part of our group and who’s with us and who’s not with us. A good example that I use in class all the time is body space. And I do an example where I ask two students from a small town in the Western US to come up and talk to each other. And I ask the students to watch their body space because people from the Western United States tend to stand, men tend to stand at least an arm’s length away. But no one knows where they learn that from. No one knows how did I get this unwritten commandment that we stand arm’s length away. But it’s part of that invisible boundary.

[00:04:02.980] – Christian Pearson
Yeah. It’s so interesting. I feel like culture is universally understood. And at the same time, no one can really say exactly what culture is, right? It’s so hard to define that thing. It’s intangible.

[00:04:13.620] – Scott Webb
Yeah, it really is intangible, but we know what it is, right? So if I start talking to you and I stand too close, you get uncomfortable and you’re not exactly sure. You know why. You know I’m standing too close. There are Seinfeld episodes about close talkers, right? But basically what we see in this quote is this idea that as we broaden our culture, as we think about not just what is the invisible walls that we have around us, but how do we move those walls back? How do we start making our culture a little more… I hate the word inclusive because it’s loaded in today’s world. But how do we actually make ourselves a little more welcoming to people that are not inside our walls, and maybe make our walls a little wider so they do come inside.

[00:05:05.850] – Christian Pearson
Yeah, I totally see what you mean there. It says you’re going to broaden your mind and your spirit, widen the mind and the spirit. And I think that’s totally true. We talk a lot about being open-minded these days. I think there’s definitely a relevant application of that quote as far as culture goes. Before we talk more about culture, I’m here to talk with you about how you got involved in international logistics and global supply chain. Tell me more about logistics. What does that even mean?

[00:05:43.720] – Scott Webb
I think the easiest way to think about logistics is it’s inventory management, and then anything you can do with inventory. So you can put it on a shelf, you can put it in a building. We call that warehousing. You can put it on something to move it from one place to another, transportation. You can plan for it. You can actually put it on store shelves and use it. All of that’s logistics. So I like to think of it as inventory in motion, inventory at stasis, just the planning for investment in inventory. It’s… In supply chain, we talk a lot about marketing is the voice of the customer, and accounting always says that they are the language of business. And we are really the business of business. So we’re how does business actually get done?

[00:06:37.480] – Christian Pearson
Yeah. You’re the practical part.

[00:06:39.890] – Scott Webb
We are. Yeah, very practical. Cool.

[00:06:42.850] – Christian Pearson
Well, that’s fun.

[00:06:44.520] – Scott Webb
So how I got into logistics, I don’t know. My original goal was to be a therapist. And on my mission, I really found a love just for people. And I really wanted to help people in life. And so I got my undergrad in psychology, and I focused a little bit more on the experimental side of psychology just because I loved the whole research design and how do we really know what people are doing?

[00:07:22.040] – Christian Pearson
For sure. It’s on that cutting edge, right?

[00:07:23.730] – Scott Webb
Yeah. And then at the end, I actually got my first professional job as a therapist in the Oregon State Prison. And I couldn’t really do therapy by myself, so I always had to have a licensed therapist in the room with me. But I did group therapy with another therapist in the Oregon State to prison, and specifically, sex offenders for two years.

[00:07:48.750] – Christian Pearson
How do you go from that to logistics?

[00:07:51.270] – Scott Webb
After year one, I realized that was not the right career for me. And my wife was Working at Costco as a sample person there. Oh, what a wonderful person. Oh, man. I got a free lunch every time I visited her, right? Oh, man.

[00:08:10.250] – Christian Pearson
Those are my favorite people at Costco.

[00:08:12.230] – Scott Webb
So the Air Force recruiter that was next door kept coming in to get a free lunch every day. But he kept chatting to my wife about her joining the Air Force. And I thought, I should go talk to this guy. I had a brother that was in the Air Force as a doctor, and brother-in-law that was a doctor in the Air Force. And And my wife said, Yeah, you should go talk to him. So I went and talked to him, and I really didn’t want to go in the Air Force. But after talking to him, he really made me excited about the opportunities. And so I put it in a pack it to go to Officer Canada School with the Air Force. And they asked me what careers I wanted to go into. And because of my background in behavioral science, I put two very behavioral careers. And on the last line, because they I gave you three choices. I put whatever the Air Force needs. And they needed logistics officers. All right.

[00:09:06.090] – Christian Pearson
There you go.

[00:09:07.480] – Scott Webb
And I seriously had to go to a dictionary because we didn’t have Google at the time. I had to go to a dictionary and look up what logistics was. And gosh, if you’re a person that likes organizing, likes puzzles, and just thinking about the way everything fits together, logistics was just intoxicating for me, which is a little weird. I thought I wanted to really help people, and I got this thing that was more about inventory and movement, and just fell in love with it.

[00:09:40.670] – Christian Pearson
That’s awesome. Thank goodness that you discovered logistics along the way, right? Yeah. I guess since you’re so invested in logistics and you have worked in that so long, how did you become so acquainted then with cultural differences? Is there a lot of international Is there any additional work that comes with the logistics side of business?

[00:10:03.030] – Scott Webb
Yeah. Actually, for any of the listeners out there, if you look at the tags on your clothes, how did they get to you? One of the examples I use a lot is ink pens that we write with.

[00:10:20.880] – Christian Pearson
Like the ballpoint inkpins? Yeah.

[00:10:22.100] – Scott Webb
About 60 to 70 % of the ink pens in the US are made in Japan. Wow. And I always ask people, why would How does you make an ink pen in the most expensive country to manufacture something in the world? And the reason why is it’s mostly just logistics. That because we get such great economies of scale, It’s actually very inexpensive to ship those pens out of Japan to the US. And because of the level of automation in their factories, it’s very inexpensive for them to make them there, even though it’s a very expensive country to manufacture in.

[00:10:59.160] – Christian Pearson
So in other words, it’s because we’re ordering in bulk in such huge quantities that it’s actually cheaper to manufacture there? Yeah. Wow.

[00:11:10.280] – Scott Webb
Yeah. And to me, all logistics is international. It’s all global. Even people that make stuff that says made in the USA, if they export out of the USA, all of a sudden, it’s an international product. Most of our products are international. Most of the clothes we wear, everything that powers our lives, cars and phones and everything. As we go through life every day, logistics has touched your life, and you probably don’t know it. And it’s international. It’s crazy how much we depend on this.

[00:11:49.260] – Christian Pearson
I guess what we call globalization, right? We’re so dependent on an international community of businesses, of supply chains, and of products. It’s something that I’ve started thinking about more since taking your class. Talking more about culture, which is today’s topic, how are cultural differences important? When you’re talking about supply chain operations, specifically, communication, decision making, relationship building, how does culture or cultural differences play a role in that? What do you have to consider when you’re going into a relationship with someone from another country?

[00:12:37.390] – Scott Webb
That’s an exceptional question. And the reason why is in the US, we tend to view business relationships as transactional. If I want to buy a car, I don’t try to make friends with the person selling me the car.

[00:12:52.820] – Christian Pearson
Sure. He tries to make friends with you. He does.

[00:12:54.950] – Scott Webb
But you intentionally put up this wall a little bit because you know if you get too close to him, he or she might leverage that. Leverage that, yeah. And so we tend to be very transactional. We tend to be… If we’re making friends, it’s to get a sell, or it’s to create this business relationship. Other countries, Japan, for instance, is one that pops to mind. When they create a business relationship, they might sign a contract or they might not. They They don’t need it. And the relationship is at least a hundred-year relationship. So their car suppliers… A good example is a break assembly. In the US, if Ford has a break assembly supplier that doesn’t meet their cost targets. So they come in a little higher and they say, look, we’re going to have to charge you a little bit more. Generally, Ford will penalize them. And they’ll have something in their contract that says, if you don’t come in at this price, you’re going to have to pay these penalties. And they might also have some incentives, right? To say, if you come in below this cost, we’ll pay you a little bit extra.

[00:14:08.270] – Christian Pearson

[00:14:09.310] – Scott Webb
In Japan, if one of their suppliers didn’t meet their cost targets, They send a team of consultants in to help them figure out how to lower their costs and how to do things more efficiently because they’re invested for a hundred years. They’re not invested for the transaction.

[00:14:25.000] – Christian Pearson
Sure. They’re not looking for short term solutions then.

[00:14:27.590] – Scott Webb
Right. They’re looking long term, how do we really make make this work? And I think we’ve learned a lot from that in the US. And there are some companies that are trying harder to make those sorts of relationships. But it’s difficult because we’re very competitive people. So I mean, you start to think about it from the time our kids are little up until all the way through secondary education, most of us, it’s all about winning. It’s all about competition. It’s all about… And that’s not a bad thing. I think it’s helped us as a society and as a culture, succeed over time. But I think there’s also some things we could learn from the Japanese and from these other cultures. So going back to your question, sorry, long answer, pretty short question. I love long answers. One of the things to think about is, for instance, if you’re going into Italy or if you’re going into the Middle East and you want to do business, you need to make friends first. So And sometimes it’s not just friends. Sometimes it’s staying there a week, meeting their family, going to family events with them to the point where they feel like, I can trust you.

[00:15:42.850] – Scott Webb
I know you. Everything Everything’s relationship-based. So I spent a month in China a few years ago with a bunch of other faculty, trying to understand Chinese culture a little bit better. And the main professor that was the… I was his assistant on this tour. He was the main, I wouldn’t call him tour guy, but main faculty member that was teaching us about China along the way. And every restaurant we went to, he went and sat in a separate room. With the owner of the restaurant because they knew each other. And we were going to all these same restaurants, and he would always come out, and I would say, so how much was that restaurant? He goes, Oh, for most people, it would be this much, but because we’re friends, it’s this much. And so that social capital in other societies, I think, means a lot more than it does in US societies. So for US business people traveling overseas, we have to take a bit more time. If we’re going to a country that is not also transactional, like Germany, we love, right? Sure.

[00:16:50.890] – Christian Pearson
They’re the same thing. So I guess it’s more of a time investment, but then it’s a long term investment, too. It is. You’re You’re going to get more returns, better returns over time if you’re spending weeks, months with these people building relationships. It’s so interesting. Like you said, it’s very different just as an outsider to international business looking in that. That sounds so strange to me, but I’m sure it’s true. That’s crazy. One term I’ve heard in some of my psychology classes, you mentioned you did experimental psychology. I I’m a psychology minor, and I was majoring in it until I discovered business. I wanted to get a job. But yes, exactly. But I’m still minoring in it, and we talk a lot about this idea of emotional intelligence. You’ve probably heard of it. It refers to one’s ability to navigate emotional highs and lows, to communicate what he or she is feeling respectfully and effectively. And so there’s another term called cultural intelligence that I’m fairly new to, but I’m sure you’re familiar with it. Could you tell us more about cultural intelligence, and specifically, why is cultural intelligence important when you’re navigating a diverse business environment?

[00:18:08.860] – Scott Webb
Yeah. So one of the things I go out of my way to teach my students, which might seem a little odd because I’m teaching about really inventory management, logistics, forecasting, all this really hard skill stuff, is this idea of metacognition. And And I love metacognition because basically it recognizes that the lens that you see the world through is not necessarily correct. And a lot of what you’re doing with cultural intelligence is just looking at, why am I thinking this? So for instance, if you’re in France and someone walks up to you and says something in English that is like, you foreigners, you never know how to dress for the weather, right? You would US frame of mind, we would immediately be like, Oh, my gosh, that guy is so rude.

[00:19:07.160] – Christian Pearson
Sure. Take offense. Yeah. Right.

[00:19:08.550] – Scott Webb
And instead, what’s happening is, according to Aaron Myers, who’s written lots of great books, on cultural intelligence and how to navigate culture in the business world. She’s probably the foremost leading researcher in this area right now. What she would tell us is that French people People give direct negative feedback. And in the US, we don’t do that as much. You don’t walk up to your roommate or up to your girlfriend or up to or whatever and say, Hey, your makeup is just a little off today. Oh, man.

[00:19:46.840] – Christian Pearson
Yeah. You don’t want to get slapped.

[00:19:47.920] – Scott Webb
It doesn’t work, right? So instead of the gut reaction of, oh, my gosh, that guy’s rude. It’s thinking about, why would I think that guy’s rude? Maybe he’s just acting culturally appropriate for the culture he’s in. So it’s taking that second thinking about, why is this happening? What is my lens to the world? And is my lens actually correct? And I actually go a little deeper because I tell my students, you need to understand not just your culture, what you believe in your culture and what those boundaries are your culture is putting up. You also need to know there’s something out there called Primal Global Beliefs that there’s a… I forget which school. It’s University of Pennsylvania. There’s been a ton of psychological research come out that shows people actually, they’re not exactly sure why, but people have these basic beliefs about the world that are not culturally dependent. They’re actually even not dependent on your family. So I say, you need to know what you believe. And the prime thing that most people take away from that is people either believe the world is safe and a place to be explored or the world is dangerous and a place to be protective of yourself in.

[00:21:07.870] – Scott Webb
And then there’s personality, which psychology, minor, you know all about.

[00:21:13.130] – Christian Pearson
Oh, yeah. It’s so complicated.

[00:21:15.380] – Scott Webb
Yeah, it is. And you need to know because these things are the things that give you lenses into the world. So your culture, your beliefs, and your personality all help you understand this is how I approach the world.

[00:21:29.240] – Christian Pearson
Yeah. So I guess what you’re saying with metacognition is if you recognize your inherent biases, right? And your cultural lens, your personality lens, that belief lens, then you can also maybe have more empathy for people with different lenses.

[00:21:45.070] – Scott Webb
Yeah, for sure. I think, too, it also allows you to be just… I think the one thing, two things, actually, that help a person in the international context is to be curious and to be flexible.

[00:22:01.590] – Christian Pearson
Curious and flexible. I ought to write that down. Dig a little deeper into that. I wonder if you could tell me about a time when you saw cultural intelligence used Or maybe you used it, maybe someone else used it. Could you give us an example of some good cultural intelligence at work in a business situation or somewhere in an organization?

[00:22:27.960] – Scott Webb
Yeah. And I’m really sad today because I love Coach Pope. And he hasn’t signed yet, but all the news media saying he’s going to University of Kentucky.

[00:22:39.000] – Christian Pearson
Right. That is bad news for us.

[00:22:41.030] – Scott Webb
It is. He’s been a fabulous coach and even a better man. One of the things I’ve admired, and I’ve had the opportunity a few times to work with a couple of his players and see how Coach Pope interacts with his players. One of the things that amazes me is how good he is with these athletes from West Africa. So he said Gideon George. Gideon was from Nigeria. Fusini Tereori is from Mali. Atiki, I think, is from Tanzania. I always look at that and I think They love him. And it’s obvious when you’re around them that just how much they love Coach Pope and how much Coach Pope loves them. And I’ve looked at what he does with them, and he doesn’t talk to them as much about basketball when they’re off the court as you would expect. A lot of what he talks to him about is, how do they succeed in life? What does success look like for them? So with Fouce, he’s raised half a million dollars to build the first basketball facility in Mali. With Gideon, he helped Gideon start a nonprofit, connected him with some donors. And Gideon bought Tuck Tuck’s little Tuck Tuck things back in his hometown in Nigeria, and he actually leased those out with a lease to own to several people, but at a rate where those people could actually buy that Tuck Tuck after a period of time.

[00:24:16.860] – Scott Webb
But Coach Pope facilitated all this. And I just think it’s obvious why they love him. It’s obvious why you’d want to play hard for that guy if you’re from West Africa, because their culture is so family oriented. It’s so we do everything as a community, and we give back to our community. And he’s never questioned that. Coach Pope has never tried to settle him on the idea that you need to get famous and make millions and push yourself to be this basketball player that’s the best basketball player ever. He invests in his players. I’ve always been really impressed with his cultural savvy because I think that West Africa culture is really a difficult culture to interpret.

[00:25:00.220] – Christian Pearson
Wow. Wow. I didn’t know any of that. Thank you so much for sharing it. Man, I feel like I should interview Mark Pope now. I wish.

[00:25:07.060] – Scott Webb
Talk him in the stain. See what I can do.

[00:25:11.410] – Christian Pearson
That’s really interesting, though. I think just as you were talking, it keeps coming back to this idea of how willing are you to sacrifice some time and invest in a relationship, right? Whether that’s more of a transactional one or what we’re talking about is a lot more long term relationships. But the fact that he’s willing to maybe sacrifice some of his own goals for these players and instead invest in their goals, right? In their aims, their idea of success is Really impressive for me. So big reason that I wanted to have you on this podcast is my boss, Ben and I, we’re currently working towards going to Cambodia, and we’re leaving two weeks from Wednesday. So very soon here, we’re going to be on the ground in Cambodia, and we’re going to have to be navigating some cultural differences there as we lay the groundwork for our research project. Now, without going into too much detail on the research side of things, I just wanted to ask for some advice. What are some practical strategies you would give us to manage and leverage cultural diversity there in Cambodia? I don’t know how familiar you are with Southeast Asian culture, but I’m sure you know more than I do.

[00:26:38.060] – Christian Pearson
And I’d love to hear, what do you think? What are some best practices?

[00:26:45.610] – Scott Webb
There’s three things I’d recommend in Cambodia. I’ve been there once.

[00:26:49.700] – Christian Pearson
Oh, wow.

[00:26:50.450] – Scott Webb
Okay. But I’ve spent a bit of time in Southeast Asia. Actually was in the Philippines in January for a period of time. Wow. Way cool. It is fun. Number one is Cambodian people are incredibly polite. And if you are polite back, it means a lot to them. I think sometimes Americans, especially, get the bad impression that people are polite to us and we want stuff from them. The prototypical Karen thing you see on the internet all the time. We have that reputation overseas. And I think a lot of it is when they thank you, you thank them, when they are just so polite and so kind that sometimes it feels like it’s slowing things down, so we need to speed things up. And it’s just the opposite. We need to slow things down a little bit. The other thing that I think people need to understand is their history. The red Cambodian-Yeah, the Khmer Rouge. Yeah. I think it’s worthwhile whenever you go to a country to find out what some of the defining things are that happen in that country. And before you get down to business, take a tour. Find out what really happened with the Khmer Rouge.

[00:28:25.800] – Scott Webb
And you start to find out that everyone in that country knew someone, that the Maira Rouge killed. And everyone in that country had some experience where someone in their family was threatened and scared for their own life. And I think what that does for you is just help put you into This is a culture that is very polite, and there’s this incredibly violent history, recent history. And you can start to see how that influences their mistrust of their strangers a little bit, and their mistrust of their own people a little bit. And the last thing I think everyone should do in Cambodia is go to some of their markets and try to negotiate with them. They are so much fun to negotiate with.

[00:29:16.450] – Christian Pearson

[00:29:16.860] – Scott Webb
Okay. Yeah. It’s just part of their culture. They love to negotiate. They love that back and forth. To me, it almost feels like the negotiation Negotiation is more important to them than a final sell, which to us is not the case. To us, it’s all about what price did I get? And to them, it’s how did I negotiate? How did that negotiation go?

[00:29:41.050] – Christian Pearson
That’s so interesting. I’m actually part of our research right now, the part that I’m over, we’re running a revenue tracking training for a lot of small business owners in Cambodia. These are survival entrepreneurs, is what we would call them. They’re literally living off of their proceeds, off of their income. And we noticed, based on what we’ve heard from people on the ground there, that they don’t have a fixed price for anything. They don’t have barcodes, and they don’t track their transaction. So part of this revenue tracking, of course, is we’re teaching them how to track transaction value and total their revenue for each day, which is a new concept, which is crazy, right? With my cultural lens coming from Western society, it seems like a no-brainer to track your revenue. But I think what I’m coming to understand is there’s so much more going on than just what I see as, Oh, they just don’t understand why your revenue tracking is important. Maybe it’s a little more than that. It is. Maybe, like you said, they’re more focused on the element of push and pull inherent to every transaction than the actual subtotal the day, which is really interesting.

[00:31:03.710] – Scott Webb
Oh, you’re going to love the food, too. Oh, boy. Nice mix of Asian with French, which it is so good.

[00:31:12.580] – Christian Pearson
I’m super excited. We’re going to do a cooking class.

[00:31:15.250] – Scott Webb
So it should be fun. Oh, fun.

[00:31:16.140] – Christian Pearson
I wonder, as I was preparing for this podcast, I had a question come to mind, and I wonder if you’ll humor me for a second. But I just wanted to ask, Are cultural differences ever truly irreconcilable? I feel like sometimes we might see them as they’re just too different. They’re too far from what I know, and there’s just no way that we can get along. Is that true? Is it ever true? And if there is a difference, and it is reconcilable, how do you know who differs to whom? Is there a cultural compromise going on? Yeah.

[00:32:00.350] – Scott Webb
One of the things I would say is when someone’s culture violates a strongly held belief or a strongly held personality trait or a strongly held cultural trait of your own, you’re not going to find common ground. A good example is the Nazi culture, which is awful to bring up, but it is an extreme. I One of my core beliefs in my life is I believe in the sanctity of human life, which is funny coming from a military background where I sign a piece of paper that said I would be willing to take another person’s life. But at the same time, I look at what that Nazi culture taught that some people were less human than other people, and some people it was okay to kill them. There is no way I could ever come come to a common ground in that culture. And again, extreme example. Example may be a little closer to home. I’m a very linear time person. I am in logistics, right?

[00:33:13.420] – Christian Pearson
I remember you talked about this in class.

[00:33:15.380] – Scott Webb
My wife’s father is from Central America. My wife has ADD, and it has been an adventure in our marriage because for me, being on time to things means being 10 minutes early. So church, for example, My family was always sitting in the pews 15 minutes before the meeting started. Always the same pew. We were like that family that was always in that pew. I married my wife, and if she got there before the closing prayer of sacrum, I mean, she was good. And we’ve never resolved that. We’ve never come to this is how our family is going to function. A lot of it has been, okay, I’ll drive my own car, you drive your car. And you get to workarounds around that. But there’s still a cultural impasse there. Interesting. Yeah. And I think sometimes you just have to say, yeah, this is just the way things are. And And you just got to be okay with it.

[00:34:18.410] – Christian Pearson
Yeah. Agree to disagree is what comes to mind. That’s so interesting. I’m glad that you brought up those examples more close to home because I think even if we’re not necessarily dealing with someone from a different culture internationally, there’s so many subcultures in mainland USA that we encounter every day of our lives. And it’s finding ways to either compromise or to respect those differences. That’s how we can learn to get along, right? Yeah. This has been really interesting. And I just have a few more questions for you before we go. I hope I’m not holding you too long. But I wanted to ask you about this idea of… I don’t know if you’ve ever heard people talk about being cultured. If you’re cultured, I want to get cultured. Within the context of international business, what would you say it means to be cultured? Is it enough to just travel a lot? Is that how you get cultured, or is there more to that term? What do you say?

[00:35:25.700] – Scott Webb
I think being cultured means that you understand You might not necessarily agree, you might not necessarily adopt that into your life, but you understand why other people do what they do. So I’m actually leading a study abroad going to Latin America.

[00:35:46.530] – Christian Pearson
This summer?

[00:35:47.500] – Scott Webb
This summer, yeah.

[00:35:48.500] – Christian Pearson
It’s super fun. Congratulations.

[00:35:49.650] – Scott Webb
That’s awesome. So we’re going Dominican Republic and Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico. And we actually had to bring in a speaker to talk to us about the Dominican Republic because their take on it was the culture in the Dominican Republic is so much different than any other culture in Latin America, that you probably need some preparation to get ready for that. And to me, that’s culturing, right? That you’re understanding, you’re being cultured, you’re understanding how does their culture work? How do you function within that culture? How do you… And I’ve heard people say, you know you’re really cultured when you don’t stand out in a culture. I actually think you’re cultured when you stand out, and it’s okay, right?

[00:36:40.820] – Christian Pearson

[00:36:41.200] – Scott Webb
And you probably know that from your mission, that people knew you were American. Without even really talking to you, where they could just see you walking down the street and think, oh, you’re not Spanish.

[00:36:53.510] – Christian Pearson
Oh, yeah. They usually thought it was German.

[00:36:55.340] – Scott Webb
Germans and Americans are pretty close on their Meyers skills. But, yeah, that’s part of being cultured. It’s just being okay with that and being like, yeah, I’m not part of your culture. And I understand that. And I respect your culture. I love who you are. I love the way you do things. One of the big examples I come back to is food. And everything’s food to me. I love France and I love Italy. But I’ve had so many American friends and students go on study abroad with me or whatever. And we’re in Italy, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, this dinner is taking an hour and a half. We ordered, and they’re not bringing anything out. And usually what I say to them, it’s because Italians love making food. To them, it’s not about I put an order in, and the efficiency part, which Americans are really in love with, is the efficiency of getting stuff.

[00:37:53.860] – Christian Pearson
Sure. We invented fast food. Yeah.

[00:37:56.050] – Scott Webb
And you even go to nice restaurants and everything’s on a clock. You want everything reliably to come out. In Italy and France, it’s more about, I love making this food. I’m going to put my love into this food. It sounds almost silly when you For an American to talk about that, but I love sitting in a little cafe in either France or Italy and waiting because in my mind, originally, I was like, oh, my gosh, I’m starving. Why don’t they get that food out to me? And now I’m like, they care so much about their food that they’re not going to put anything on a plate unless it’s perfect for me. And that’s being cultured. It’s just understanding your culture is not… The lens you see the world through is not necessarily the way the world is. And being cultured means accepting and enjoying and loving what other cultures bring.

[00:38:52.600] – Christian Pearson
I love that. Being cultured is loving what other cultures bring to the table. That’s so great. And I really appreciate all the insights, the advice you bring to the table today. You’re definitely expanding my mind and broadening my vision as far as culture goes. And I hope I can represent that well as I go to Cambodia in the next couple of weeks. One last question before we go. Sure. In light of… You’ve had some extensive at this point, military experience, academic experience. What would you recommend for our listeners, for anyone listening, What would you recommend doing in order to develop one’s cultural intelligence and to be just generally a more well-rounded, capable, cultured member of whatever organization you’re in? Could you give us one or two action items, some good takeaways?

[00:39:48.450] – Scott Webb
One of the things that I love about Christ’s ministry in the Old World is how often he stepped outside of his own culture. So When you think of the Good Samaritan, the hero in that is a culture that the Jewish people didn’t like. The woman at the well. He shouldn’t have been talking to her right in his culture. I think it really behooves us to step outside of her own culture. And I think what Christ was teaching us is just humility. That we are all brothers and sisters. We are all together in this world just trying to make sense and everyone pretty much has the same goals. They want a family, and they want a family that loves each other, and they want a family that is safe and respected. And I think the more we come to think about the way Christ lived his life, that we’re going to treat everyone with that respect. We’re going to have the humility to sometimes think, Gosh, my lens to the world is probably not the right lens, or it’s the It’s a light lens for me, but it’s not right for these people around me. I think that’s the biggest lesson we can take away, is that that humility, that Christ-like humility, to reach out to people that are not in our culture, and to recognize the heroes that are not necessarily what we would consider a hero, and then to live our lives in a way that helps other people feel safe and helps other people feel like We love them, and we want them to be with us.

[00:41:33.760] – Scott Webb
That would be my advice.

[00:41:37.360] – Christian Pearson
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Scott.Thank you so much forThat’s, Christian. For that. Thanks for coming on the podcast today. For all of our listeners out there. Thank you for listening. And as always, we invite you to, especially today, consider how you might further develop your own cultural intelligence, how you might become a little more cultured, and that you might look for ways to make an impact in the lives of the people around you, to maybe invest a little more in some of those relationships that need time and effort from you. And as you do all of that, just remember to lift where you stand.