Managing Cross Racial Marriages Within Extended Families

While not quite the mainstream, it is becoming more common these days to find marriages taking place between two racially diverse individuals who decide to tie the knot. Races have their own unique culture.

Here is the problem. And it is a harsh truth.

In order for the marriage to be successful, it is not enough that there is everlasting love between the husband and wife-to-be. It is essential that the families and close friends each has buy into the culture that sometimes divides the couple.

The boy and the girl (we are only dealing with hetrosexual unions for this article) may quite easily adapt to each other’s culture their race represents and values. They obviously love and care for each other. They have taken the big step having had a relationship for some time, maybe even lived with one another before marriage, and devised ways to minimize any conflict, misunderstanding or dislike for certain practices or values each other’s racia, cultural differences.

Here is an everyday example. In Asian societies, particularly in India and Pakistan, it is quite common–in fact expected–at a party for the genders to separate. Men will congregate one place, women in another. Even in today’s modern, non-sexist society, it is hard to find a true gender-blender, where men and women sit next to each other, drink together for an extended period.

Each culture is rich with its values, practices, and yes oddities–at least as observed by people who do not know or belong to that culture. How do you manage to impart functional understanding to your friends and family of the items–practices, rituals, beliefs and values–that makes up the core of your spouse’s culture?

It is not going to be easy. The worst thing you can do is to be over-optimistic about it and think “I come from a decent family, have decent, reasonable friends, all I have to do is get them to meet my spouse and it will be smooth sailing”. Unless you have history or facts to support that conclusion, it is like buying a lottery ticket and basing your retirement on its outcome!

For instance, your path may have been made smoother by another cross-cultural marriage in your family or amongst your friends. Assuming the person from another race or culture has been accepted as one of your own may be an excellent precedent that will enormously help you navigate your relationship amongst your family and friends.

But what if you are a pioneer in this area? Here are some practical tips you can plan and follow.

=Unless you or your partner want to isolate your self from each of the families, make an effort to understand your partners culture, practices and ancestry. Mix with them.
=food is a wonderful unifier. You will be surprised how many similarities exists in foods.
=Religion can be a sour spot, so bring it front and center with your partner. As you become parents, you want your children to adapt both religions.
=Give respect to your elders.

How to Create a Customer Focused Business Culture

One unfortunate side-effect of a busy company is that some employees become so focused on the tasks at hand that they lose their focus on the customer. If you want to be truly successful you need to renew your focus on how to create a customer focused culture within your company.

Planning for how to create a customer focused culture is not overly difficult, but it does require some effort. These 6 areas will help you get the customer back where they belong within your organization.

Model What You Expect

If you want to change or redirect the culture in your company you need to make sure that it is emphasized from the top of the chain of command all the way down to the entry level clerk that was just hired. Your employees need to know that you are as focused on the customer as you expect them to be. If they see you modeling the behavior, they are much more likely to buy into your philosophy.

Make Knowing Your Customer a Priority

If you want to really serve your customers you need to know what they need. That means that you must get to know them. You should make an effort to know how large they are, who their customers are, how they prefer to do business, etc. The more you know about them, the better you will be able to understand their needs and customize what you are offering them to best meet those needs.

Listen to Your Customers

One way to really get to know your customer is to really listen to what they are telling you. Do not go to them with preconceived notions of what they need without first listening to what they are telling you they need. Many conflicts can be avoided, and complaints resolved, if you only take the time to listen.

Hire and Train Good People

Hiring the right people can be a time consuming process, but it is one that is necessary to be successful. The wrong person dealing with your customers can destroy everything that your company is doing that is right.

By training your employees about the proper procedures and policies you can better assure that those employees will respond appropriately with your customers.

Empower Your People

Many times there are easy solutions that are available that would handle a customers concerns. You companies relationship with your customers will improve if issues are resolved quickly. The quickest way for that to happen is for your employees to have the power to make decisions regarding how issues are resolved.

When your employees have to put a customer on hold while your employees track down a supervisor to make a decision, it is wasting your customer’s time. They will have a better experience if everything is resolved as quickly as possible with few inconveniences.

Respond Immediately

In this era of instant communication there is no excuse for a customer to have to wait several days before having your company respond to them. This is especially true when dealing with complaints. Do not give the impression that you are avoiding the issue. Respond to your customer as quickly as possible.

It may be that you do not have an answer when you respond. It is appropriate to respond and let the customer know that you are working on their problem. Once you have a resolution, you can contact them again to let them know how you plan on addressing their issue.

Knowing how to create a customer focused culture is basically adopting an attitude where the customer is the most important asset your business has. You should do everything within your power to protect that asset. Without your customers, you have no business.