Cross Cultural Competency, with Jessica Stone

Cross Cultural Competency, with Jessica Stone

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Jake Anderson  0:00  
to like, reach out to somebody and be like, Oh, your your your interview is not going well.

Jessica Stone  0:03  
Yeah, it happens, especially when you're starting something so no worries.

Jake Anderson  0:07  
Yeah. Okay, cool. All right. Let me get this going.

Announcer  0:14  
introspective, inward looking, self examining, characterized by or given to introspection. Welcome to the introspective podcast, your compass for internalizing the path towards optimal lifestyle design business success in mindful entrepreneurship with your host, Jake Anderson.

Jake Anderson  0:39  
Hey everybody, welcome back. We are here for another episode of The introspective podcast. My name is Jake Anderson, I'm your host. And today we're going to talk about communicating You know, one of those one of the one of those skills I think, is, in my opinion, the most important skill to have in business and entrepreneurship really life in general, not just business. But we all live in this world where everything's predicated, I think, especially with our success is predicated on the relationships that we create. And back when I was growing up, back in the good old 90s, the 90s, we didn't have that thing. I mean, we did I mean, it was the internet where it was the dial up and you had like 100 minutes you could use every month. But the connection that we live in today is global, we are globally connected, you know, I get on zoom, pretty much every day and I'm speaking with somebody in a different part of the world. And you know, we need to be talking about this we need to be talking about how we communicate through different cultures because we can easily get kind of stuck in this silo of you know, where who we are which I think it's important to be authentic to yourself, but we need to reconcile that with other cultures and and have that conversation and just be mindful of it. So today I'm I have the great pleasure of bringing on Jessica stone who is a 20 year veteran of local national and international newsrooms, where she has covered the intersection of politics and business around the world. Her work has appeared in the South China Morning Post Yahoo, finance, Stansbury research USA Today, and the nation's Fox and CBS radio and television stations, Jessica's journalistic curiosity and passion to understand have taken her to five continents to work alongside a variety of cultures around the world. And more recently, she's hunkered down in the Washington DC suburbs, where she uses her cultural competency skills to moderate dinner table debates between her two young daughters and her husband. I welcome to the to the show, Jessica stone. Jessica, how are you doing today?

Jessica Stone  2:44  
I'm doing well. We're just back from spring break. So just shaking off the vacation vibes.

Jake Anderson  2:50  
Oh, nice. You know, Spring Break actually started this week for my my, I've got a seven year old and it was yesterday, it was Easter. And I was because my wife and I were kind of doing our weekly plans. And I was like, okay, so I need to take Graham to school tomorrow. She's like, no, this spring break this week? I'm like, it is. Yeah, I'm like that just like throws my whole universe off. I did not get to prepare me for spring break. So well, very cool. Well, this is this is such an interesting topic. And and, you know, before we, before we like hit record, and we were having our chat about, you know, just this whole cross cross cultural competency and, and being exposed to new cultures and instantaneously because we have the internet now. And I know that like a lot of people, you know, who are listening, they're entrepreneurs. And they've been told over and over again, which I do believe and I agree with that. You need to be your authentic self, like be authentically you and in speak to true you and who you are. But I believe that there needs to be some kind of a reconcilement there with different cultures and understanding how to communicate with different cultures and respecting that and just knowing really what that mean. So I wanted to start off with with this discussion is talking about what it means to be cross cultural, like having the cultural competency skill of communication. And through your experience, because you've been through so many travels throughout the world, you've got this really diverse background of understanding different cultures and how to communicate. So what does somebody really need to be thinking about when it comes to communicating calls culturally? And how does that apply to maybe like what they need to be thinking about even in business?

Jessica Stone  4:33  
So I think you bring up a really good point that we are increasingly telling our young people and the new entrance to the workforce be your authentic self. The problem with that is is if someone from China is being authentic, and someone from America is being authentic, they're going to authentically argue they're going to authentically conflict. That's how that's how authentic that's gonna go right. So you know, it's really great to know yourself and I love the title of this podcast. introspection is a key part of being able to be cross culturally competent, you need to be able to look at yourself and say, How can I communicate effectively, not just authentically, how can I communicate effectively, so that the other person who's receiving my communication can see through their own cultural lens, their own racial, gender, and maybe religious lens, and just work environment lens, to, to understand what I'm trying to accomplish and what we need to accomplish together. And, you know, coming from me, that says a lot, I just had a conversation yesterday with somebody who knows me very well, my neighbor, she said, I've just read your book, which is part of the reason we're talking about I've just wrote a book about this called crossing the divide 20 lessons to help you thrive in cross cultural environments. And she said, I remember reading the chapters about China and how much you struggled, and you share the struggle that you had between being your authentic self, and naturally going a certain direction being a hard charging type a blonde American woman, in a setting where, frankly, that was counterproductive to play to all of those strengths, what you needed to do was to play to a strengths that maybe were a little less visible things like respect for authority, sort of taking a backseat to the comfort level of the person that you're with, especially a translator or a guide, in a new country. And even a country that you have been to before. These are, these are helpful things to think about, I want to give your audience a really tangible example of why this is so important. I just went through a list of all of the maybe top 50 SAS companies around the world. Obviously, there's a lot of software as a service companies in this country, a lot of them are headquartered in Silicon Valley, some of them have their second headquarters in Silicon Valley. But a lot of them started or have a lot of employees based outside this country, particularly in Europe and in Asia. And I think of my 26 year old cousin, Rachel, who got out of college, and immediately went to work for an international survey taking company that is not based in the United States. And Whoa, all of a sudden, she had to adapt to all of these different ways of communicating the country from which the people at this country come from communicate very differently from Americans, they certainly speak great English, but they also have a different style with how they manage and how they talk to their employees, and how they expect their employees to talk to the customer. So I think especially the entrepreneurs of today that are going into some form of technology, not necessarily the small business, although you're going to see it there too, because you have international travelers, but particularly in the entrepreneurial space, even that you're at Jake, where you're talking to sound engineers, and, and tech, not technologically savvy people, you're going to have to be in situations where you can talk to one person for this product, another person for that, and then the customer may be miles away continents away in the end. So this is a skill set that I feel really strongly about. It's not one that I confess, I've completely mastered, I'm still working on it. But something that I think we don't teach enough in, in high school and college and something that if you don't learn it, then you're gonna have to learn it on the job. And that can come with some painful consequences.

Jake Anderson  8:33  
You know, I, I'm a big like, advocate of like having some kind of a framework in mind, whenever it comes to being successful at mastering some kind of a skill, and almost feel like this. This is not it, maybe I'm wrong, like because as I'm thinking about cross cultural communication, you know, I have a team like, for instance, I have a team in the Philippines that does all, all my podcast editing there, they're such nice people. In fact, yesterday, I was having, you know, a kind of a late night conversation with my media editor. And in their very quiet people, you know, they're they're not, they're super grateful. And they, it's, but dislike that that person is going to be different than, you know, if I'm working with somebody from Scotland, or Ireland, or you know what I mean, some other Yeah, very different personality types. And, you know, so when it comes to that communication, at least the way that I approach and I'd love to hear, like, maybe there's some examples here where you've had some communication, or you've you've had interactions with people from different countries, and maybe you found some frictions, like, how did you kind of shift through that friction? And because it's like, for me, it's like, I try to be Lisa's approach I take I don't know if it's right or wrong. It's just what I do. And it seems to work okay. I haven't had any any head bumps You know, I'm sure I will eventually especially as I get deeper into it, but I always try to kind of like, as much as I can like, like, tap into as much emotional intelligence as possible with that person, like really like learn their energy and kind of feel them out before I really show that true authentic Jake, you know, that kind of type a like, you know, like, let me kind of pull back a little bit and kind of feel this relationship out. You know, is that like, what do you think they're like? Yeah,

Jessica Stone  10:19  
I think that's a part of it. And and I think that you're, you're probably already lightyears ahead of me knowing that, because I'm somebody who's put tasks in front of relationship for most of my career until I realized that the only way that last 10% of your of your journey towards success happens if you have a high EQ and you you read people and you adjust In response, I think I've been able to read people, but I haven't always been willing to adjust In response, because I didn't want to not be myself and I and maybe I thought I had something to prove. But I do think that that's been a counterproductive, counterproductive way to behave. I mean, look, this book is full of mistakes. This is a guide book full of things that I would love for you to do better those of you who read it. So I think there's, you know, I also think that the way to approach people is straightforward, but also, as a student say, you know, listen, we're going to you and I, we don't come from the same place the same background, there's inherently going to be things that we look at differently, can you please tell me, because I want to be a student of view and of how to communicate best with you? Can you tell me if something I do or say makes you uncomfortable? Can I tell you? Can you can we agree that we're probably going to have conflicts at somewhere along the line, but that we're a team and we do want to accomplish this goal? You know, I think it's important to talk about time, particularly between countries, people have very different senses of time. And German has a very different sense of time than a Brazilian, then a Filipino, then a Colombian, so that that sort of conversation being as upfront as you can and also sort of sussing out too, I think, Jake, have these have these people that you're working with worked with people from other cultures? Or are they to potentially going into it thinking, Oh, I can just operate in my own cultural context, and everything will be fine. I think that's an important thing to know.

Jake Anderson  12:19  
Mm hmm. Yeah, it's very true. I mean, having that openness with people and saying something along the lines of, you know, let me know, if there's anything I say that might be not in alignment with with communication, and how you feel and how this is how this is working in this relationship. And I do think that and I think this comes with time, too, because each like, if you decide to, again, I want to go to the Philippines and do business there with people in the Philippines. And that's a decision I need to make, you need to understand just the culture of the Philippines. And like what I think I think it goes a long way. And this is something that I've been uncovering too, just as, as I've kind of started to really get into this is, you know, any, like, the more I kind of understand, you know, what, you know, what people like what the experience is like, eventually, some point I want to actually fly down there. And, you know, and actually immerse myself in the culture. And I think the more you can immerse yourself in the culture, and just like, it doesn't always had to be business, you know, like, it doesn't have to be like, Hey, we're talking about editing my podcast, hey, our family doing, you know, what are you celebrating this year? Are you going on a vacation, like, learn about what they do? And I

Jessica Stone  13:29  
think that's a mistake a lot of us in the West make, and I'm very to the point. So I often don't warn people. So I think that's very keen of you to talk about as well as talking about things other than then work, but there are cultures for whom they're just they're not interested in sharing that part of themselves with you. I think the other thing I talk about here is, you know, your perception of the of your country's history is different than other countries perception of your history as a country and of their country's relationship with you. I say that, in particular, because I've spent a lot of time working with Chinese folks. And we're in the century where we've got the China has been rising, the influence of China is unmistakable. There is a narrative, if you were Chinese, in living in China, about what the West is, what other countries are, who's better than who were who you know, the relationships between different Asian cultures and your own. And, and there's somebody Michael Shuman wrote a book recently, he's a terrific freelance journalist, based in China in Hong Kong, and he wrote wrote a book about the China China's history of the world. I think it's really important to think about when you go places, how do they view you, I mean, for example, in the Philippines, they have been repeatedly conquered by people from Europe. Right and and now more recently, they're there and that's why they have spent Catholicism and, and more recently, their ties are much closer with China. So you'll find a lot of Chinese business people there and you'll find it a much more Chinese culture in business dealings in the Philippines. So I just think, you know, history is such a big part of it. And I have a good anecdote that I write about, about history to two good anecdotes. One is that I spent some time in Hanoi, Vietnam, a couple of years ago, reporting on the meetings between then President Trump and Kim Jong Un, over nuclear, the nuclear future of North Korea, and you talk about a place that has been repeatedly war torn not just by the Americans, but by the French and the Chinese. And, you know, As Americans, we look at Vietnam, and we think, oh, that was the war we lost. Well, the Vietnamese look at them, their own country, and and US was so so many other lenses. So you go to the place like Hanoi, which is the capital of North Vietnam, what was then North Vietnam, prior to the reunification, and you think, gosh, there's French architecture, there's, there's a lot of Chinese visitors. There's, there's a lot of Americans that live here, even though there's not the best history between America and Vietnam. And, and so the way that they view their history and through us was really interesting to look through their eyes. And there are obviously countless other stories like that. EQ is huge listening is huge, and entering not as an expert. But as a student. I think that's, that's something I think is really important.

Jake Anderson  16:39  
I think, I think you I try to see, like look for cues, right? The kind of when people are speaking to you, if somebody is opening up to you, and and sometimes you can drop a little question as, like, for instance, it's, you know, we're kind of getting into the warmer months or something like, Oh, hey, do you got any big plans to summer for you do any vacations? And I think you can kind of read and tell like whether or not somebody is receptive to that, you know, if they're opening up, it's like, okay, we can have this kind of conversation when this is acceptable. And if they seem resistant, and maybe maybe that's not something they're looking for. And it's that listening, that emotional EQ. And I think that's really important. And also, you mentioned, I thought you made a really good point about the perception that they have to their lens, about, about us as a country or, you know, just understanding that there's different perspectives going on. Like, do you have anything? Is there anything more specific to share on that? Because I'm curious to know, maybe there's a perspective about the United States American culture through the lens of a different country that maybe would be surprising to hear from somebody who lives in United States. Have you ever had any any instance like that come up? Or like, Wow, that's really how you perceive the United States? I had no idea. That's good to know. Because if I would have not thought about that maybe you're knowing this makes is going to make our relationship better, knowing that that's how your perception is Yeah,

Jessica Stone  18:05  
I guess I've been traveling long enough to usually assume that not everybody loves us, as Americans. And I have on occasion pretended not to be American when traveling, if I felt that was the safer, of course of action. A long ago, but but I want to go back to Vietnam to try to poke at your answer. Because because I hadn't studied Vietnam very much before I went. And I didn't really know a lot about Vietnam outside of of the wars between our country the war between our country. I thought that they were going to be maybe a little bit unwelcoming a little bit hesitant, reserved. On the contrary, I found people to be incredibly warm and very open. And I had a conversation with and I actually did a story because I'm a journalist, and I was there to report anyway, on how Vietnam turned the page society to where you now have a generation of young Vietnamese who don't think about America as the country that fought us and killed us, you know, with napalm and the bombings. And I mean, it was a horrible war. And there were horrors that were done to the Vietnamese people through landmines, and like I said, the dropping of napalm, and it was just very devastating. And you would think, gosh, that the generations after this, we're going to hold a grudge, right? Again, to the contrary, and there was really an ethos throughout the country. When I talked to a Vietnamese man who now owns a bar and restaurant, his father had been a political prisoner. He said, you know, we have this, this Confucian ideal of harmony, and we were out of hearts. m&e when we if we are out of harmony when we hold a grudge. And so we, we felt that we needed to make peace, and to have a peaceful and open receptive attitude towards Americans but also that economically, we were not going to be any better off if we turned our back on America after, even after the horrors and atrocities of that war that we needed to rebuild our country and the Americans were willing to help us do that. And so with our harmony, ethos, and reconciliation, we were able to achieve reconciliation. And in many ways, the reason that that particular summit was held in Hanoi was because the Koreans hope that they can have an experience like, like the with North Korea, the South Koreans would like to reunify with the north part of the country, and have the kind of prosperous economy that Vietnam is beginning to have, in part because it's opened itself back up to the west. And because it has allowed, I mean, there are digital nomads from all over the world that live and work in Vietnam, they have very digital nomad friendly policies and visa structures. And I just found that really important, because I think that grudge holding is something that a lot of cultures do, and certainly Americans do it as well. And the idea that you could get over something like that, you know, whether it's a genocide or a war or conflict or a racial issue, the idea that you can move past it, not to forget it, but to, to build on it, and to reconcile and forgive was really, really powerful. And, and certainly seems to be working much better for the Vietnamese then, than holding a grudge

Jake Anderson  21:55  
wouldn't be beautiful. If everybody was like that.

Jessica Stone  21:59  
We're gonna start pretty cool by Jake but I did I just found it so powerful, because I did the story through the eyes of this Vietnamese man, and this American GI and, and looking at what they've done, the American wound up going back to live in Vietnam to help remove the the bombs and the the landmines that have been left. Yeah. In Vietnam. So he's reconciling, showing his action moving forward, but also paying for the past. And, man, you know, yeah, I just I found it really, really meaningful. And I didn't spend any time in the south. So I don't know, I can't speak for what it's like there. But Gosh, Hanoi is just a really beautiful city. And for all the, for all of the horrors of that war, there's still so much intact in Hanoi and the beautiful French architecture and the French, by the way, where you were just really terrible to the to the Vietnamese, I mean, the history of that war, that's very much catalogued at the Hanoi Hilton far more than the Americans have worked with the Americans, I think I saw five pictures of john mccain. And that's it. And then everything else is about how horrible the French and the Chinese were to the Vietnamese. That to just shows you how important history is. And also this ethos of harmony. Because whether or not you are a religious person, the idea of forgiveness is a way to free yourself. Right? If you let it go, it's not it doesn't have a hold over you anymore. And I do think that's something that we need to continue to talk about a lot more. It's something that Marxism, and the more Marxist cultures, especially in China, and in Russia, they're not. They're not telling people let go, they're telling people remember. And and it's not that you forget, right. It's not that we forget that the Holocaust happened or that the genocide in Rwanda happened. It's just that we forgive and we move on, and we learn from it, and we get better. And, and I think that's really needed in our culture today. It's part of the reason why this coming out at the beginning of the year is so interesting to me, because I didn't realize how many of these skills were going to be so important in our country, just to get along with folks in our own country. I had been spending so much time in an international context that I didn't fully realize how divided Americans are. And we need a lot of cross cultural competency for the north, south to the south, east to the west, the cities to the rural areas, and vice versa. There's a lot of misunderstanding that's, that's very cultural from geography.

Jake Anderson  24:36  
It's bad, it's in before we go any further I want to give the listener something, I just want to tell the listeners one thing and speak to them for a second. There is something really powerful about letting go and forgiving somebody or something that's happened in your life. And I you know, I didn't realize how powerful that was until I actually did it. Until I took something that was that just hung on my shoulders, and something I felt such resentment towards. And then one day, and I'm not going to go into the whole story of this, but I'll just make the point here. But one day I said, You know what, I forgive this person for what had happened. You know, I, I'm not, I'm not going to try to understand exactly what their motives are, what what the reasoning behind it is, but I will understand that there might be something I didn't understand. And that I forgive this person. And I remember like, it was like an immediate relief. And so I want to tell the listeners, like, if you're listening right now, think of something, whatever that thing is, that is holding you down. That is just you've been holding this grudge, and forgive it, let it go do it right now. Like seriously, pause the podcast and do it now. And then and then I'm pausing, come back to the conversation. But but it's it's amazing. Like, it's one of the most liberating feelings I think you could ever have, when you actually let go of something that's been of a grudge and, and I applaud the Vietnamese for for being so. Such so like that, you know that to be able to we don't hold grudge, we don't see it. There's nothing healthy about that. And you bring up a good point about even inside the United States. I mean, we're so divided right now. And it's really sad. And it's really sad. I mean, it's people. I mean, there's people that just can't even have conversations with each other because they're so polarizing and viewpoints. And, and nobody's willing to actually, like we said earlier, you had mentioned that just the power of listening and understanding somebody else and where they are coming from, and maybe why they think and we don't have to be in this dagger throwing competition against each other. So I know that.

Jessica Stone  26:46  
And I just want to say it feels uncomfortable, because it is like, it's not easy. What we're talking about here is not is not the easy way, it's much easier just to cancel, cancel the relationship, shut down the social media interaction, stop texting, block somebody on your phone, and just pretend that you can move on. But I don't know about you, but your subconscious will come back from things with that particular person or that situation. You know, you sometimes you have to forgive again, and again, it's

Jake Anderson  27:17  
heavy, it's heavy when you walk around with that on your shoulders of just because you can you can consciously cancel that stuff. But it You said subconsciously, it doesn't go away subconsciously, though. No, it's there. And it's Wait, and the subconscious is really pulling the levers Anyway, you know, we all know, I think I can't remember some neuroscience persons moment. It's like 90,000 connections happening every day in the subconscious compared to something far less than 90,000 in the conscious mind. So you know, you have to you just have to face it and and work through it. I want to talk because you mentioned even about the generation when Vietnam and how the younger generation is definitely, you know, kind of

Jessica Stone  28:00  
I mean, there's just It is such a young country, if you think about I think the average age is like 35? No, it is, you know, what a great country to be an entrepreneur in and you see that, right? You see that on a very micro level, and then things grow every but there's such an energy. And this is happening a lot in Asia writ large, where you've got a very young demographic, you've got, you know, Vietnam, Vietnam has a communist government, but it is a more open towards capitalism, government than even China is there's many, many less restrictions on communication, and in dissent in particular. And, for example, you may have heard of the, the, you know, what WhatsApp is right, the messaging app, people probably in America have been using that more for security, because it's encrypted, but it's very popular in the Middle East, in Europe and in South America. Well, it's also very popular in Southeast Asia, that you can't use it in China, you can use it in Vietnam, the only one you can use in China is WeChat, which our government has now banned. So that's not helping our communication. However, I just I it the energy of a young population like that, I mean, I think that same can be said of, of parts of the Middle East that are very young. I mean, think about the Arab Spring and how that was led by young people who want freedom and who want economic freedom in particular. So yeah, I mean, for for entrepreneurs who are willing to travel or want to do business around the world. I know the state of Virginia, where you and I live also has just a really good outreach to parts of Asia, they've made that part of their foreign direct investment strategy and a lot of states around the country are doing that because there is a lot of synergy and if not, if not an outsourcing insourcing relationship, a partnership with other parts of you know, development, you know, you're you're running a company that has different pieces around the world and that's that's very common. These days, do you

Jake Anderson  30:01  
think? Do you think that as the younger generation kind of moves in and the older generation fades out? Do you think that some of these countries like China, you're starting to see it? You said in Vietnam? Do you think they're going to adopt more of that free market? Kind of ideology? Like not so much communist Marxism, but more? I don't know. I'm just kind of curious to know, because it sounds like, No,

Jessica Stone  30:25  
I don't I think we're in a battle for our lives between the West way of doing things and and the Chinese way of doing things. Because the Chinese have gotten so powerful economically, without giving the people of their country freedom, really economic freedom past a certain point. Religious Freedom, freedom of speech, I mean, look at what's happening in Hong Kong, there, they no longer can even elect people into their legislature without the say, so of the Chinese government, there's no such thing as a primary, if you try to run a prime at a party primary in Hong Kong, you're going to end up in, in detention. So yeah, no, I think I think this century is going to be very much one between two different models of development. And which one is is is going to come out on top. And there are some good arguments for the Chinese model. Americans so. So and democracy is sure messy, as we've done amply showed the world in the last four or five years, very messy. And there are there are downsides to freedoms and and the Chinese are quick to point that out. Hmm,

Jake Anderson  31:37  
that's interesting. I, I've personally had been. So I feel like I've been so kind of disconnected from looking at it from that level that, you know, I kind of get stuck in my own little bubble here. But it's interesting to see that that are here that that you have kind of the western side, and then I guess, the Chinese or the eastern side of how things are done, and who's going to work? Where are we really going to adopt?

Jessica Stone  32:04  
And well, and to bring this back full circle? If I may, Jake, this is why cultural competency with Asian cultures, specifically Chinese culture is so important. Because we we can't just take whatever they send out about themselves as as the gospel, but we also need to understand how they view the world and how they view us. Are we strategic competitors? Are we partners, are we we're not allies? Many, many, many companies in the United States make the majority of their or significant part of their revenue in China. What happens if the Chinese say, Hey, you know, no, we're just not going to sell Louis baton? No, but we're not going to allow it into the country. What happens if they say GM, you can't come in here anymore? Because you said that Taiwan is a its own country? It's not it's part of China. Look at what they did to Marriott a few years ago are the NBA. We are definitely, we are definitely in desperate need of understanding China from their vantage point, from our vantage point not and not in a black and white sense. There's so much nuance there. I mean, China is a very ancient culture. It's it's way older than the United States, they look at us and just think, you know, you're just like a teenybopper on steroids. Like, you're only 200 something years old, where do you get off thinking you're the you're a world power? We've been around for centuries? And millennia, right? So yeah, I just I think that there's a lot of room for that. And the other thing I would say about how this comes down to the nitty gritty of how we, as entrepreneurs, look at this, what I consider to be sort of a century of competition between these two systems that were set up for who are the companies that make 5g one Chinese company? One Swedish company, excuse me, two Chinese companies and one Swedish company, no American companies. So do you feel America is is going for the cheap, you know, they need they need broadband. Who are they hiring Huawei, a Chinese company built by somebody from the People's Liberation Army, whether or not there's a direct connection to government control. It's never been outright proven. It's never been outright disproven. But each of these decisions about culture and about intent are going to come into really intimate things that business leaders and business people have to do. Where are they getting their technology in particular? And where was it manufactured? is going to be those are huge decisions, and it's more expensive to buy the western product nine times out of 10.

Jake Anderson  34:45  
Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, do you think do you think there could ever be any reconcilement in terms of you got the two systems and there's less take the best because ideally, we would want to take the best for both and make it The system that we use, and I think it starts with listening and understanding through the lens of how people see that others or how people view it's like, Okay, well, I don't know. I mean, this is a conversation I've never really went too deep into. And I'm like, No, this is no, I like this, because it's it's, it's and I'm sure anybody listening probably, excuse me is probably thinking, you know, there are two systems going on here. And is it possible to take the best from from both systems and be able to reconcile? Or is that just not even? That's not even something to even bring up as part of this? I mean, it would

Jessica Stone  35:42  
be nice. I don't know that. That's where we're headed. I think we're really in a great power competition. And I don't, I don't see a lot of signs with either country on the geopolitical level, that collaboration is the way forward, maybe on climate change. You saw that under the Obama administration. But even the Paris Climate accord, while it has China, as a signatory doesn't have the same commitment from China to reduce emissions as the United States are signed on to do and China is a much bigger bigger polluter. India is a huge polluter, too, and they're not being held to the same standards as the United States is. So we do have to figure out ways to work together. I'm really a big believer in engagement. But I do think we have to do that clear eyed China has gotten some breaks in the past, because it's a developing or was a developing country, I don't know that you can make that argument quite the same way anymore. And so the systems, the International systems of accountability, we have need to be need to be restructured. I mean, I think the the jarring thing for me, was this recent meeting between Secretary Blinken and young ditcher, the one of the top Chinese officials that that does these diplomatic meetings with our government, in Alaska, this was the first meeting between the two countries post the Biden election. And I've covered China for 10, going on 10 years. And I don't think I've ever heard a Chinese diplomat, so direct, when he said, as quoted in the New York Times, you know, control international public opinion anymore. And that that goes to the the conflicts we have around genocide and human rights issues. The Biden administration kept raising that, and China is basically saying, you know, that's an internal matter. And you don't have the power that you use to to control the international narrative. So we're not too worried about

Jake Anderson  37:46  
Wow, wow. I don't know. I don't know what to say about that. I mean, heavy, right. It's really heavy, very heavy. Yeah. Pause the podcast, go get you a cup of coffee, and then unpause and come back because we just a little caffeine for this one.

Jessica Stone  38:03  
Yeah, but this is why this this skill set is so important, right. Erickson is the only company that makes 5g, it's a Swedish company, we need we need that company, to we need to be working with that company, we need to have our own 5g and we need to onshore what we can to bring it back into the United States. And I didn't expect to be advocating for an industrial policy. But I do think that we need to move closer to bringing back what we can what's realistic to bring back and what we can't, you know, gotta find ways not to just go for the cheap way of manufacturing. And it's not an easy solution, because our whole economy is based on these economies of scale. And outsourcing has been the way of the world for the last generation

with economic productivity.

Jake Anderson  38:53  
The thing that makes me concerned about it is if if the country like okay, so if it's a power, power grab here, right? Like it though, this is our system, this is how we think it should be done. And this is our system, we think it should be done. And you have this level of dependency that creates leverage, where it's like, Wait a second, you know, if you don't agree with this, I mean, we control X, Y, and Z Yeah, you really depend on and we can just snap our fingers and, and, you know, create whatever, you know, whatever outcome we want, because we know that we can control the outcome that you that you desire in your own country like 5g internet is obviously we need that connection. So that's the thing that's kind of scary about it is,

Jessica Stone  39:40  
you know, think about what 5g does it's it's Alexa, it's a self driving car. It's no it is if if there is any room for doubt in those kinds of technologies. We we need to be concerned about that and I don't know if it's not too late. I hope it's not but i but i But coming back to the concept of cross cultural communication, Jake, I had this sort of epiphany moment in an airport, coming back from Vietnam, where I realized that there are some really big differences between Chinese culture and American and Western culture. And and I just want to read this lesson from chapter 18. concepts like justice, law and truth are not defined the same across various cultures. Understanding the difference will help you communicate about issues of fairness and right and wrong. Understanding this notion is compatible with the belief that truth exists and is discoverable, you can be culturally appropriate about how you discuss inconvenient truths, although it's tricky. Sometimes a culture of survival is built on having a clear definition of these values. Other times it's built on having an intentionally vague notion of these concepts. And I came to that lesson because the conversation I had was basically this. The concept of absolute truth exists in the West and does not exist in the east.

Jake Anderson  41:11  
Do you mean by that, like as far as the truth and in

Jessica Stone  41:15  
truth is what the Emperor says it is. The truth is what President Xi Jinping says it is right. The truth is changeable, fungible and cannot be independently discovered? Because it is dictated.

Jake Anderson  41:27  
Yeah, exactly.

Jessica Stone  41:29  
Now, we have plenty of problems in the West, no question. Oh, do you have problems? Yeah, that's

right, sir. But the Judeo

Christian Greco Roman ethic is that truth exists, it can be discovered. It's not what the government says it is. Yeah. And you can find it on your own. Right. Whether that's has a religious tinge or a cause tinge, you can have your journey towards it. And that that matters a lot in business, that that exchange of truth and absolute truth. Because I found again, and again, with Chinese colleagues that even over the course of 10 years, the version of the story, the history of the history would change to suit the narrative of what was in Beijing. Hmm. Yeah, oh, we always did it that way. But wait a minute, two years ago, you didn't? Three years ago, you didn't? Well, we don't care too much about the GDP figure anymore. We don't, you know, we don't concern ourselves. But wait a minute, used to be obsessed with how much your country was growing economically. And that was the only standard of success for your whole country. Anyway, I digress into into a lot of China lore, but these these are some of the things that that I think we need to wrestle with.

And we'll see,

Jake Anderson  42:51  
well, whether it ends whether you agree with it or disagree with it, you got to understand it. And

Jessica Stone  42:56  
yeah, I think that's a good way to, to summarize it.

Jake Anderson  42:59  
Yeah. And and I want to shift into, you know, as we because we're kind of getting near the end here, and I wanted to I wanted to bring this topic up before we run out of time. Because I think this is really applicable to all this stuff is applicable to entrepreneurship and business. But I know, for a lot of business owners that are listening who, you know, we talked a little bit about the generational gap, that people because I think that also falls in place.

Jessica Stone  43:27  
Yeah. Yeah.

Jake Anderson  43:29  
So let's talk about that for a minute. Just, you know, you have kind of this rising millennial generation, that certainly is getting some some negative stereotypes in certain ways. But there's also you know, because I've worked in I've, I've managed people from from that generation, there's also a lot of benefits and some some strengths and things to that generation. I mean, you get them, you know, these, I come from the generation where I saw, like, the transition in technology, like I remember having to go to a payphone and actually ought to get picked up from baseball practice. I remember, you know, getting the little thing from AOL, I got to like, 1000 minutes a month for internet usage and chat rooms. And, and, you know, I saw that transition, but there's people you know, that are coming into the business world, that they all came from techno like, that's, that was the world they lived, and they lived in the world of social media, and in all this communication and, and having information instantly at their fingertips anytime they snap, whereas I had to go to the library into the card catalog and like, hunt down my information, like it was tonight's dinner, you know, and so, so coming into this when you have this disparity in generations, and I think there's been some conflicts, like what are your thoughts there on that with just a generational gap that we have like in the business world, and how you see kind of a little bit of you see that conflict where The older generations like, well, she's these young bucks, they don't work like they used to, they don't have the IQ. And they're so entitled. And, and you have this again, there's this like budding of the heads, it's happening, you know, in the workforce. So,

Jessica Stone  45:12  
I mean, I think it's the same skill set, right. So EQ, it's, it's listening. I do think I've said all of those criticisms myself. But one thing I've really begun to appreciate about the millennial generation in particular, is that they, they don't


it just because it hasn't been done doesn't mean they won't ask for it to be done, which is bringing all of us better quality of life, we have much more opportunity for work life balance for maternity and paternity leave. For work from home prior to the pandemic, they were pushing the envelope that wasn't Gen X that was pushing the envelope Gen X said, Okay, well, these are the rules, I'm going to color inside the lines, I'll maybe gently push. But millennials have really gotten more workplace benefits for the rest of us than I think Gen X has. The other thing I think we have to keep in mind is that millennials and Gen Z coming after them even more are so technologically dependent for relationship, that their skills with handwriting, grammar, kipman, verbal communication, and verbal communication and a sense of conflict resolution are not always as high as those of us who've had to communicate more verbally. So I think those are areas where they can afford to learn from the older generations, I think the older generations can certainly afford to say to say, Hey, you know, ask a millennial, how would you ask for a raise? How would you ask for a work from home day? They're not even staying in positions, as long as they don't toil in the fields. Before they ask for the first bonus or promotion, right? I mean, you could say that that's entitled and high maintenance. But there is there is an upside. So let's learn from each other.

Jake Anderson  46:59  
Well, and I think that millennials, in this just do my own sampling of observation is that they tend to seek more purpose in what they do. Where I feel like the older generations were more like, I need a good job that pays the bills were millennials like, no, I kind of want I want to feel more purpose with what I'm doing, I want to feel and again, that's, that's just through my own sampling of observation. The people that I've worked with from from that generation, I'm like, I'm like, right, I'll be 37 actually in like, eight days. So I'm right on that. I think 1984 thing is right at that threshold, you're

Jessica Stone  47:35  
technically a millennial,

Jake Anderson  47:37  
technically a millennial. Yeah. But I but but looking at, I'm thinking about the people who are 22, you know, in their 20s, right, kind of 20s

Jessica Stone  47:48  
they may be z then yeah, but baby z is I think, a little bit younger than that. But the other thing about z and younger millennials is that they've been through, they've never not gone to school where there was a you know, a culture of of shootings and school. So there's more fear there. They're post 911 kids, they've been through two recessions. Now. They're, they're cautious. And some of them have a lot more money in savings as a result of that caution, which we could also learned from,

Jake Anderson  48:19  
well, they've also had to deal with a lot more things like cyber bullying. Mm hmm. And, and, and I mean, talk,

Jessica Stone  48:28  
I mean, I can't imagine

Jake Anderson  48:32  
imagine growing up with social media and like, because the way I'm Remember kids picking on kids in high school without it, oh, yeah, it was bad. I couldn't imagine going to social media, where they they're clicking buttons and putting out you know, stuff. I mean, it's, it's Yeah, they just live in a much different world. And, and they've had to go through different struggles and hardships, then what, you know, growing up in the 70s 80s, or 90s, people that grew up in those, those areas really had to go through. So you're right, it's something we have to we have a lot to learn from each other. And I think asking those questions as to, you know, how would a millennial handle this? And, you know, because you're, you're right, that they do carve the path to, I think, a more progressive workplace, and

Jessica Stone  49:19  
we're just trying to catch up with Sweden, you know?

Jake Anderson  49:23  
Well, you know, what I mean, we now at least one of the, I think the benefits of the pandemic is least, it has put us into a more, you know, people were working remotely at businesses before were very uncomfortable with the idea where now they're embracing it because they had to, they were forced to embrace it. So they have to learn like how to adapt to it. So you know, it's it's nice to see that there has been, you know, in steps made into that more flexible work because I think it definitely still quality life, and I think people be happier in the long run, having that flexibility. So,


let's talk about Let's talk about your book here because we're getting there near we're getting near the end here. And I want to give you the opportunity to do share your book, I see that you've got your printed copy, which Congratulations, I know, it must feel just so amazing to be able to pull this off the book. And it's like a brand new book smell going on. And funny. So let's see, let's hear about crossing the divide. Tell us? Yeah,

Jessica Stone  50:28  
I've told you a lot about it. But I guess it would sum it up by saying, first of all, it's on Amazon. And I also have an E book. And in terms of the traffic, Oh, thank you, sweetheart. I'm actually in the middle of an interview. But thank you, sweetheart. I'm sitting here talking to Mr. Jake. Can you go upstairs and give me five more minutes, please, sweetheart? Can you give that to daddy and he can open it up? Tell him picking up sweet chocolate. But please close the door. Okay. Thank you. Cuz I painted it dry.

Jake Anderson  51:11  
Now real quick. I don't want to edit that out. Because that's the world we live in today. Right? Now. I'm home. And no, I got my kids home with me too. And the same thing. I'll be doing interviews. And actually the office I'm in now is above my garage. So they actually have to make a little trip to get a

Jessica Stone  51:27  
little tougher. But it's a little tough to get a lock on that door.

Jake Anderson  51:30  
Yeah. But the thing is, is like that's the world we live in now. Yeah. And we've got our children.

Jessica Stone  51:35  
Think about it. Like the way my husband often talks about how the family farm was really the same way. You know, everybody had a role. Everybody worked. Nobody, you know, yeah, maybe there were some things girls did. And some things boys did that were different. But everybody worked and there wasn't a home office divide. Everybody was pulling towards the same thing. So some, some part of me thinks we'll get back to that a little bit. But going back to the book, which the girls, which I wrote in part for my girls, because I hope that they'll learn these things. Now you're gonna hear the dogs itching. Last, my last lesson in chapter 20, I think is very apropos to our discussion on millennials. Millennials have reminded all the other generations that the importance of authenticity and purpose. And, and yet there's this idea of a fluid identity, you know that it comes and goes, you can be one thing one day and another thing another day. I'm not suggesting we can't be flexible and experiment. But I do think that identity is not something you want to give away to identify with other people. That is to say, you don't have to become them, just to be relevant to them. And just to be culturally competent. Right. So the last lesson is you don't have to lose your identity to identify with others. Oh, no. And I'm sorry, that are just still barking, excuse me, itching, Bertie. Not what she's got going on. So the last lesson is we'll find the best ideas and achieve better outcomes. If we stop thinking uniformity is the key. You don't have to give up your own personal moral convictions or religious beliefs to be culturally competent. don't convert everyone around you to your way of thinking. But likewise, don't let them expect you to conform, either. Be passionate about your beliefs, but willing to change your assumptions. Exercise grace and humility, apologize, laugh at yourself, find common ground.

Jake Anderson  53:32  
I think that's important for people to understand. And one thing I definitely want people to take from this among everything else is that this doesn't mean you don't be yourself. You know, this doesn't mean you don't be yourself. You just you need to understand and have awareness of the different cultures and understanding their perspectives. And and that's what this really means. The way that I understand it.

Jessica Stone  53:56  
Yeah, introspection.

Jake Anderson  53:58  
It's introspection. That's right. That's why we call it introspective. Right, we have to we have to get introspective of, of, of what is what is happening and being able to bring that awareness to things here and in culture and in the world we live in we're globally connected. And we it's it's it's it's not it's no longer an option. I think it's a requirement to be if you want to thrive in this modern world. Yeah, you got to know this stuff.

Jessica Stone  54:24  
And it doesn't feel intuitive and it doesn't always feel natural. Because it isn't because it's not it's not being the same it's a it's not that you can't beat yourself. It's that you need to find the best way to communicate effectively. And that isn't always communicating to someone else the way you would want to receive that communication.

Jake Anderson  54:45  
Absolutely. So Jessica, how can people get connected with you if they want to learn more and and get connected?

Jessica Stone  54:52  
Jessica dash stone comm is my website. I am interacting with all of my readers there. I also have a man mailing list, feel free to join the mailing list. You can buy the book through the website. But you can also see other articles I'm writing and thought leadership and other projects I'm working on. I'd love to hear from those of you who have cultural competency stories, battle stories, a lot of us have made a lot of mistakes. I'd love to learn from yours, just as I hope you will buy the book and learn from mine. But yeah, I'm looking for an exchange with everybody with that listens and learns. And, hey, share your successes, too. I want to hear from you.

Jake Anderson  55:31  
Awesome. Well, we'll definitely make sure to link that up in the show notes. And if you want to just go directly to the to the blog page, it's going to have everything about this podcast to summary the video for YouTube the full episode, simply just go to www introspective podcast comm backslash Jessica stone, and that's je SS I see a s t o n e. And that will kind of take you to the central landing spot for for everything, including there will be I'll put a link on there to grab her book as well on that page. So it will make it easy for you to get connected and get this book in your hands. So you can become more culturally competent and survive in this world that we live in today. And we need to have this skill set. So listen, this is not like this is me telling you this is a requirement. You need to learn this stuff. It's not this is not an option. You got to you got to make it a priority. So thank you so much for listening to this episode. Jessica. Thank you for being here. It's been a pleasure. I've learned a lot. This has definitely been a very interesting conversation. There's been some heavy spots. There's been some light spots and everything in between. and I

Jessica Stone  56:41  
got it all right.

Jake Anderson  56:42  
Yeah, no, this is good. I mean, definitely like there was like some. I was on the edge of my seat at one point like who like this is like we have two systems here. And we got to think about this and we got it. You know, it's kind of crazy. So, for bringing that conversation to the podcast, it's really been a pleasure.

Jessica Stone  56:58  
My pleasure.

Jake Anderson  57:01  
All right. Okay.

Transcribed by

Communication has always been relevant and important throughout history, especially with today’s global pandemic crisis. In the entrepreneurial world, communication is also essential in dealing not just with the people near us but also with people we interact across the world. So today we have Jessica Stone, a journalist, an author, and a global adventurer, right here on the Introspective. As a 20-year veteran of local, national, and international newsrooms, Jessica has covered the intersection of politics and business around the world with her work appearing in the South China Morning Post, Yahoo Finance, Stansberry Research, USA Today and the nation’s FOX and CBS radio & television stations. Jessica’s journalistic curiosity and passion to understand have taken her to five continents to work alongside a variety of cultures around the world. If you’re planning to take your business in other parts of the world, this episode is for you!

What You'll Learn

  • The impact of global connectedness on the changing cultures and attitudes of people
  • Helping people understand this idea of cultural competency and cross-cultural communication.
  • Dealing with generational differences from the standpoints of business and leadership.

“You don't have to give up your own personal moral convictions or religious beliefs to be culturally competent.” 

-Jessica Stone

Understand why communicating authentically may not always be effective when it comes to cross-cultural talk.

Connect with Jessica Stone

  • Email: [email protected]
  • LinkedIn:
  • Twitter: @jessicastonetv
  • Instagram: @jessstonetv
  • Learn more about Jessica:
Crossing the Divide: 20 Lessons to Help You Thrive in Cross-Cultural Environments

Check out Jessica’s book on how to thrive in cross-cultural environments

Follow this Podcast

Thank you for taking a deep dive on today’s episode of the Introspective Podcast.  If you found this episode to be interesting, valuable, and provided some fresh perspective for your entrepreneur journey - then head on over to Itunes to subscribe and leave a review with your feedback.  If you’re not an Apple user, then feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.  Your feedback is paramount to the success of this show, and provides direction for how I can best serve you.

-Your friendly Podcast Host, Jake Anderson 

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