90: Cross-cultural Support with Josh Magsam

90: Cross-cultural Support with Josh Magsam

Josh Magsam and I talk about the potentially disparate cultures in global teams, and how we need to recognise that cultures manifest in many ways.


I’d love your thoughts on this episode! Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!

Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 90 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is cross cultural support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today. Josh Magsam. Josh, it’s lovely to have you back again. And here we are this week talking about cross cultural support. Now, you look after a number of teams, right, that are based in a number of different geographies, so maybe we could have a quick chat about your experiences there.

Josh Magsam 0:51
Yeah, certainly in my current role at partner hero, I see teams based in Honduras, multiple locations Manila, now of Eastern Europe and Germany as well. A very large, remote contingent out of Brazil. So there’s a lot of different factors that go into each day. I mean, on the one hand, you’re bringing everyone together. And, you know, I can do a call with a manager in San Pedro Sula. And you know, then a couple in Boston when maybe in the Midwest and myself here in Portland, and you’re all for the same company, and you’ve got the same guiding principles, and the company culture speaks broadly to everyone. But at the same time, you do have to negotiate very carefully, how managers can kind of build a playbook that will help them with their teams and their location. You know, I’m going to need them to get a good understanding of how folks think and feel and work and operate in those cultures. It’s not going to be enough just to say hey, we’ve hired you know, it doesn’t amazing people for you. You have to pay attention to the things that matter schedules. Cultural references cultural pride. communication styles help people value spending time together all those different factors, and a good manager is going to have to spend some time learning those things.

Charlotte Ward 2:05
Yeah, I really liked a phrase you use that cultural pride. How do you define that? And how do you encourage your managers to, to, to nurture that?

Josh Magsam 2:15
Yeah, you know, I use that phrase, because we talked about company culture. And, you know, we have all these people and in all around the world, and we come together under, you know, our core values, we do have a great culture, and it is a shared language and shared guiding principle for all of us. But how that gets lived in South Paulo, versus to go seek oppa versus Boise, Idaho is going to be a little different, you know, let’s take one of our core values, which is taking ownership, you know, and culturally that may be lived a very different way in Honduras than it is in Boise. You may see people communicate it around it differently. And so it’s very easy to say okay, we need to kind of get the folks in Honduras and the folks in Brazil and the folks in Boise all kind of Thinking and speaking and acting about this the same way, but what you need to do is to respect the way one culture is going to approach that and live it and celebrate it, and encourage them to live it and celebrate it and realise that that becomes part of the overall cultural fabric of the company that it isn’t simply isn’t going to be 100% the same in Honduras versus boys. So instead of saying, Oh, we need to match this together. So that all looks the same. And it’s very sort of homogenous. You need to give everyone the space to kind of come to it in the way that they they do, and their own cultural background.

Charlotte Ward 3:33
Yeah, to bring their own interpretation to that value. So I understand exactly what you mean. For instance, the place I’m with now, one of our values is honesty, you know, being very candid with each other, my team, which is a team of quite diverse nationalities, I’m British, I’ve got Russians. I’ve got Americans. I’ve got Ukrainians and checks and, and it kinda looks very different across Different cultures, right? That sort of honesty that we expect from like a one nationality or one. Somebody with one background, my experience very different what I would expect and and for me, it would be a kind of honesty based in some kind of verbose pneus I want I want a lot of a lot of words, lots of words around my honesty if I if I’m honest about it, I need that padding. I need that cultural padding, but I know some of some of the other guys on my team like don’t bother with the British fluff. Just tell me as is

Josh Magsam 4:37
the British fluff. that’s a that’s a new one. No, that’s that’s actually a great one to pick upon. Because you know a lot of companies celebrate some variation of that as a core value and as a cultural touch point, right? radical candour, you know, honesty, taking ownership, all those sorts of things and it is very different in many cultures. And it’s Yeah, and maybe this is a particularly American thing or West Coast thing, even in terms of the way Silicon Valley and its various instantiations around the world is sort of propagated this idea that radical candour is you can just sort of run in and tell people to their face in five words or less exactly what you thought of it and walk away with everyone feeling good about it. I don’t think that’s entirely true, even in the West Coast. But certainly, if you take that attitude globally, you’re you’re in for a bad time. You have to tread more carefully and learn how people communicate and how their culture works.

Charlotte Ward 5:37
Yeah, yeah. I think this has been a really interesting chat. There’s a couple of things closing out this week, actually. One is that the rest of this week, we’ve tended to concentrate on supporting different customer bases. And we’ve, we’ve strayed away from necessarily as far as possible, recognising that there are national differences, but I think it’s interesting that you broke it down there, too. subnational cultural differences, right? And actually that culture can be, it can be a coast or it can be a business paradigm, it can be any number of things. So it’s, we, we can slice and dice culture in a number of different ways. And it’s not always nationality is it?

Josh Magsam 6:18
That’s, that’s a great insight because depending on your organisation you can have, you can have 500 people in the same city in the same building, and you’re gonna have very different cultures on the marketing team versus the product development team versus the finance team, right? You’re gonna have to learn a little bit of what’s valued in there and how they have those conversations.

Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customer support leaders.com/90 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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