I am sitting here on the beach in Sydney, where I had come to relax/interview/prioritise for the next few months. After the two very busy P1 and P2, now has come a time to look into the horizon, and reflect having felt a real sense of the dynamism at play from the first 4 months. The course load was definitely heavy and hard skills-oriented, at least up to this point. Looking back on the four months of the course, recruitment and social experiences, I can clearly see that my thinking had started shifting.
It has been an eye opener to come together with so many people from all walks of life and all nationalities. The interaction and teamwork among people with different values and ideas, has often been hilarious and occasionally frustrating. In all cases, lots of surprising ideas came out of this diversity.
As a participant in these interactions at INSEAD, you learn how to better navigate across the vast cultural landscape. Some ideas are universally shared while some ways of communicating don’t work with certain nationalities. As you bond with other students, you gain cultural perspective that shapes your behavior and the way you deal with different people. As a consequence of this intensive cultural exposure, you start second-guessing your own pre-established ideas. You learn to ask “WHY” a lot more. And your thinking starts to change, as a result.
Could the ability to adapt and engage with different cultures be a driver for leadership development? Without a doubt, leadership has a lot to do with human behavior. I would guess then that cultural “fluency” can help improve a leader’s behavior. Learning how to adapt your approach to communication and teamwork can increase trust, credibility and influence.
In my opinion, it is true that the cultural bath is a big component of the learning that gives INSEAD some serious zest.