50% of executives admit to significant losses in cross-border transactions!

Nita Korsten

There is an increasing amount of competitiveness and interdependency in the world economy. Technology enables people to communicate instantly from wherever they are. However, not all employees within an organization have the awareness and readiness to work with people from other cultures.

Significant Need to Strengthen Intercultural Skills of Global Workforce

Important research by The Economist Intelligence Unit: “Competing Across Cultures; how cultural and communication barriers affect business” shows that almost nine in ten respondents in the survey for this report think their company’s number of overseas clients will increase in the next three years, while 77% believe that their company will have an operational presence in more countries than it does now. As a consequence, companies are moving away from traditional organizational structures, with 78% saying that in the next three years they will establish more cross-border teams, comprising people who are physically located in different countries. 

Besides that, the research shows that when important cross-border relationships break down, the cost to a business in financial, operational or reputational terms can hurt. Around 50% of respondents admit that communication misunderstandings have stood in the way of a major cross-border transaction, incurring significant losses for their company An overwhelming majority of executives surveyed believe that an improvement in cross-border communications with customers and colleagues will have a beneficial impact on financial indicators, such as profit, revenue and market share.

Real business value in equipping staff with intercultural skills

Other research, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs and Booz Allen Hamilton: Culture at Work; The value of intercultural skills in the workplace, shows clearly that there is real business value in employing staff that have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organizations from cultural backgrounds different from their own. Employees who lack these skills leave their organizations susceptible to risks including:

• Loss of clients
• Damage to reputation
• Conflict within teams

Improving intercultural skills of employees

Combining these research reports shows that while cross-border activities of companies are only growing, there is significant need and opportunity for employers, policy makers and education providers to work together to strengthen the development of intercultural skills to meet the needs of an increasingly global workforce. 

Crust Young Consultants partners with Executive Teams, helping clients to think and learn about doing business internationally and organizes customized workshops, using tested and effective assessment tools.  

Starting this spring we offer six different workshops in open enrollment programs in Amsterdam:


For an overview of our interactive, informative and fun workshops click here!!