Listening to Prof. Edgar Schein's** talk about Exploring Culture through Humble Inquiry I suddenly remembered about The Curtain, a book of essays written by Milan Kundera. Kundera quotes Lord Arthur Neville Chamberlain describing Czechoslovakia as a "A faraway country of which we know little" . The year was 1938 and Lord Chamberlain, after negotiations with Hitler, agreed that Britain will not intervene when Germany will invade the Czechs a few days later." In Munich", writes Kundera, "in the Autumn of 1938, the big four, Germany, Italy, France and Great Britain, negotiated the destiny of a small country to which they have denied even the right to talk".
Exploring Culture through Humble Inquiry was the topic of tonight's talk given by Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at MIT Sloan School of Management. The event was organized by the South Bay Organization Development Network (SBODN), an informal forum focused on making a difference in how organizations and the people in them survive and thrive.
It is the wisdom of the seniors that adds to the delight to Prof. Schein's lifetime consulting experience. Hearing him talking about the importance of tuning in to a client's organizational culture reminded me of Salvador Minuchin, who stressed the importance of genuinely meeting the client where he is at. Indeed, a consultant is relevant only if he or she is able to simultaneously work FOR but also WITH the client. Similarly, when working in multicultural teams is very important to genuinely connect with each person, and that, I would add, is impossible without Cultural Intelligence.