Outi Penttilä: Tips for working in multicultural and multi-editor environments

I am grateful, happy and lucky that I have been able to work in multicultural and multi-supplier environments several times during my career. My life backpack has grown enormously with these experiences. 

In projects in a multi-supplier environment, I think it is absolutely important to keep a lot of threads in your hands in order to reach the desired end result. In addition, it is important to crystallize what the project is aiming for, and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the different actors. The importance of communication between different stakeholders can never be overemphasized. 

Smooth cooperation requires open and clear communication. Especially between people from different cultures, the need for clear communication is highlighted. Both sides have to be sensitive to interpret what the other is trying to communicate, so that the message is definitely understood correctly. From communicating in a multicultural environment, I have learned that certain issues should be discussed in advance "offline" with the other party, instead of suddenly bringing it up in a meeting. This does not put a person in a difficult situation if it is not part of their culture to say difficult things directly. 

I have experienced working in a multicultural work community as a wealth, although I have not been able to avoid subtle clashes of cultures. You can get to know different cultures by reading literature, but I feel that I learned the best after working with people from different cultures and spending free time with them.

There have also been wonderful little mishaps along the way, one of which I remember vividly. When I was young, I worked for the first time in a global organization, organizing training. I was so engrossed in my work and the responsibility I was given that I completely forgot about time zones. I sent email invitations with participation links to the trip. Soon I received a message asking if it would be possible to find a slightly more suitable time, when the time I suggested happened to be in the morning. A little embarrassment, apologies for the mistake and new invitations to go, taking into account the time zones. My training started with a smile because of my little mistake. After that, I actually remembered to check the participants' time zones. 

I have learned a lot of new things on this trip. The experiences have partly made me the way I am today, and it doesn't end there, because this is a lifelong journey. 

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