Editor’s Note: Dr. Stephen Sweid is a pioneer of Breakthrough Strategy thinking. He has published a series of training guides on the Breakthrough Strategy, which you can find on Flevy here. Recently, Stephen has also published a comprehensive presentation on Multicultural Synergy.
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As consultant, trainer, and writer my impetus to address the issue of multicultural synergy was not for the sake of making another contribution among many to the realization of some harmony between the different cultures and nations in a specific environment. My real purpose was to find some new solution that can guarantee the diverse cultures avoid hating, fighting and killing each other, as being the case at present in many parts of the world, North, South, East and West. Moreover, the genuine desire was in finding a secure way to even bring the different cultures to work together in building the world and not destroying it, and creating synergy, i.e. 1+1=10, through the mix of diversity of cultures and nations.
I am tackling the issue with a positive stance, indeed with the spirit of an open society and not a covert one, being aware that hatred is mainly instigated by specific hidden forces, and is not a natural constituent of people. One key issue here is that there are many working cultural / social systems in the world, and not only one, and some systems might have been going on sustainably for thousands of years. Each system is considered THE system by its own people with nothing else being acceptable. Multicultural settings and need for tolerance and respect are not recent issues, and there are great examples in history of peaceful mix of nations. Still, our world is expanding and changing quite rapidly, generating many new forces and extreme reactions.
It is not that there is no multicultural harmony in the world at present, but my new approach attempts to make the process of multicultural synergy a systematic one, building on concepts and tools extensively used in the business world, e.g. the strategy pyramid, operational base, alignment, system thinking and other. This new approach presents new perspectives covering the to94-apic of conflict and collaboration of cultural diversity. This is like the scientific discoveries, whereby new relationships are identified between different parameters of a given phenomenon, and are then represented in the form of an equation, or formula. This representation enables the practical development of the science into endless new configurations, such as technological applications. Similarly, the structured concept I use in this guide for multicultural synergy aims at establishing the relationships between the elements through a specific clear formula and pattern, and facilitating the application of multicultural synergy in business or government, with potential for spinoff of new and practical configurations.
I come from a multicultural family and am multilingual, i.e. 4 languages, and I lived and worked in many parts of the world and experienced at first hand the tolerance and harmony of multicultural diversity in many countries, but also the potential conflicts. I was exposed in recent years to different multicultural settings and institutions in London and Dubai, private and public, business and government, both places known for their multicultural diversity and for being melting pots of cultures and people. I am fluctuating between both cities until now. Both cities were the sources of inspiration for my new formula for multicultural synergy in business and government. I am an international business and management consultant and trainer with over 25 years’ experience in the domain, and performed many projects in the world for multinationals, UN and EU development agencies, government bodies and NGOs.