My previous three blogs on conversations with a CIO have prompted a number of comments about CIO culture, language and location. Various readers responded with comments such as, “we are different here in Spain, France, etc.” Others commented on relationship barriers due to language and/or culture differences. In addition, there were a variety of sweeping uninformed statements making stereotypical assumptions about differences in how European CIOs behave and make decisions – things like Southern European CIOs tend to be late to meetings and gesticulate excessively, whilst Northern European CIOs tend to speak English (over and above their native language) and are exceedingly punctual with no strict hierarchies between employees and management. And of course the British are unique with their stiff-upper lip conservative nature, structured and methodical at all times.
How easy it is to stereotype people when you don’t bother to understand them – and worse, to act on those stereotypes.