Russian Keys

Cultural Intelligence: Effective Interactions in the Global Economy

30 MAY 2014 & 23/24 OCTOBER 2014 Location: VICTORIA UNIVERSITY, Wellington Book now
Dr Olga Suvorova

Director, Russian Keys Limited

Overview: In the rapidly changing global environment, the work of officials with counterparts abroad can have a critical role to play in supporting and promoting New Zealand’s interests, especially business interests. Cultural intelligence can provide one of the keys to success. The history, roots, and values of people from another culture influence and shape their way of seeing the world and of doing business.
You will learn how some aspects of New Zealand’s ways of doing things can affect, both positively and negatively, your links with officials abroad. You will learn how to communicate with officials from another culture, and to understand how to create the relationships and collaborative approaches that will advantage New Zealand. Case histories from emerging economies, including Russia and former Soviet states, will be used to illustrate the challenges and opportunities.

Who should attend: This one-day workshop is designed for public servants, whether based in New Zealand or in foreign countries. It is customised to meet the needs of government officials whose duties and responsibilities include working with counterparts abroad to facilitate business between New Zealand and jurisdictions culturally unfamiliar to New Zealand.

Learning objectives: Participants will:

•gain insights into the political economy of another country and identify relevant key differences in the legislative situation, principles, values and practices, compared to New Zealand

•assess the importance of the ‘human factor’ in another country—that is, informal but vital people-to-people interconnections and relationships, as distinct from formal institutional relationships

•recognise the significance of culturally appropriate interaction where a linguistic mistake will be forgiven but a cultural mistake will not be forgiven

•learn how to build the personal and institutional relationships critical to supporting New Zealand’s interests, including business and economic.

Course outline: Topics covered in the workshop will include:

•From Planet Hobbitlandia: how New Zealand and New Zealanders appear in the eyes of non-New Zealand officials. Inadvertent turn-offs through inappropriate cultural interaction. Case studies: Russia, China.

•The Political Economy: the realities of formal and informal power. How the public and private sectors work and interact in another country, and how the State and the Individual inter-relate. Institutional underpinnings—similarities and differences with New Zealand. Public sector flexibility—how free are foreign officials to take initiatives; how important is political direction? Where does such direction come from?

•The Human Factor: dressed the same but thinking differently. How is the foreign official interpreting what you say? Are there political factors bearing on his/her decision-making? How can you tell? What to do? Cultural understanding and misunderstanding: how not to be a bull in a China shop. Promoting, protecting and preserving New Zealand’s essential public sector values and integrity.

•Possums in Headlights or Skilled Problem Solvers? Resolving problems—the need to be pro-active. The unwritten word—who are you going to call? The role of ‘telephone diplomacy’ and the need for investment in appropriate and, hopefully, enduring institutional and personal relationships.

•The Play’s the Thing: the theatre of cross-cultural relationships—recognising when political factors override correct institutional relations. “Good cop–bad cop” routines. Workshop format: The course will be delivered in a one-day workshop format, with an initial presentation by the presenter, illustrated by audiovisual materials, followed by role-playing, games, questions-and-answers and interactions specific to the workshop subject and based on real-life case studies.

Presenter: Dr Olga Suvorova, PhD (Moscow State University), Member New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters, Owner Russian Keys Limited, Business Development Director, Prior Group Limited. Academic background: PhD (2007) in Cultural Anthropology (“Interaction of National and Corporate Cultures in Multinational Companies”), MA with First Class Honours (2003): Linguistics (English, French, Russian) and Intercultural Communication; Investment and Corporate Banking Certificate from London Citigroup Training Center (2007).

Since 2004, Olga has had extensive experience in working with international leaders in both private and public sectors in New Zealand and Russia on cultural intelligence questions. Recent professional teaching has included conferences and seminars on intercultural communication at Massey University, Moscow State University and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (Nelson branch).

In addition to teaching interests, Olga has extensive experience in business development activities involving New Zealand and Russia and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This has included managing significant inward investments into New Zealand and providing consultancy advice to New Zealand companies interested in the Russian market.

Olga’s educational philosophy is very much based on interaction of language and culture and the importance of cultural intelligence. While language has been identified as a barrier to communication between peoples since the time of the Tower of Babel, culture has not been so identified. The cultural barrier is unseen, until a clash between your own indigenous culture and an alien culture take place. Cultural intelligence can provide one of the keys to success. The history, roots and values of people from another culture influence and shape their way of seeing the world and of doing business.

Olga relocated from Moscow to New Zealand in 2009 to live here with her New Zealand husband, and she continues to work in both New Zealand and Moscow.

Further details: If you would like more information about this programme, please contact us on: Ph: 64 4 463 6556 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.