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GCD 5: Lille, France

Global vs Local and much more

7-10 May 2008

Dialogue #5 took the GDD back to Europe, to the historical university town  of Lille in France, just south of its northern border it shares with with Belgium.

Summer came early to Lille this year – which did not prevent nearly 20 global practitioners from around the world from gathering to dialogue about the dynamic tension spanning from individuals to multinational organisations. Topics included delving into the global vs. local dilemma in international business, global parenting, the competition between corporate and cultural values, and the multi-level relationship between personality and culture.


This dialogue was complemented by a strong experiential learning element: One interactive exercise demonstrated the challenges facing virtual teams permitted members to explore possible solutions to these dilemmas. Another visualised individuals journeys toward global understanding and the role of the team in nurturing these. 


Some of the insights coming out of this Dialogue included:

  • As interculturally experienced as we are, when push comes to shove, we are all human animals, bound by our own cultural paradigms – for better or worse

  • We often focus so much on others, that we lose touch with our own internal barometers

  • Recognise – Respect – Reconcile – Realise

  • Being aware of differences is easy – reconciling them is often much harder

  • We assume similarity…

  • Difference stirs up emotion, which (like magnets) drives us apart or draws us together

  • Intellectualise -> Emotion; Feel -> Thought

  • Intellect is nothing without emotion

  • We = I + I vs. We = You + I

  • It takes time!

  • A process looks very different when you’re in it!


Of course, all work and no play makes Jack/Jacques/Jacek/Giacomo a very dull boy, and we assured that we remained anything but dull by indulging in the culinary delights of Lille and the world – from bistro to boulangerie, table to tajine, and chic to chocolat!

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