Nowadays we often hear talks about sharing and integration, words that are sometimes used in an ideological way, or used as talismanic words that have the tag of politically correctness.

Sharing elements of different cultures in business is a practical and difficult exercise that requires a great deal of effort to adapt to. It is a matter of pooling one’s hard-won knowledge and sometimes one is not always willing to make part of his own humanity available.

Integrating a mixed team is an equally difficult exercise that requires a careful organizational analysis of different bodies, and its success requires a joint effort, shared action and strong mutual respect aimed at recreating a system based on new paradigms, through the contamination of the knowledge, ideas and talents peculiar to each culture.

In the activities of our group “Beside You” we are working in this direction, and I would like to share this experience with entrepreneurs and managers who wish to create virtuous business synergies with foreign partners.

We have followed a path structured in the following 5 steps:

Identify cultural diversities, different needs, various critical approaches in business;

Identify the prevailing talents of both sides;

Share common needs and objectives;

Activate contamination and collaboration through a structured process of integration of knowledge, skills and objectives, thus creating synergy and high added value;

Maintain an active ongoing dialogue.

This is the story of the positive experience of the link between our international advisory group “Beside You” and the Scandinavian world developed along three main axes in recent years:

the training of our Italian-Swedish team to advise on integrating Sustainable Development into business in the Life Science and Healthcare sectors;

our inclusion in the Nordic Center for Sustainable Healthcare;

the opening of our office in Oslo for the Scandinavian market.

It’s an interesting journey from the point of view of integrating knowledge, contaminating ideas and points of view and the special characteristics of culturally very different peoples.

Analyzing the elements that characterize both the Italian and Scandinavian sides of “Beside You Group”, the qualities that required more attention in the integration are those typical of the Italian and Scandinavian sides of the Team.

In particular, it was necessary to shape a new approach by working on the integration of characteristics such as creativity, intuitiveness and quick reaction to crises, which are typically Italian, and organization, efficiency and precision, which are more rooted in the Scandinavian culture.

These characteristics can be viewed as pairs of elements that we might jokingly call ‘different twins’.

Creativity, which is typical of the Italian spirit of the group, may appear to be at odds with organization, which is eminently Scandinavian; in fact, the former is a predominantly individual characteristic, the latter is a choral act. But when the creative phase is shared and nurtured by a collaborative group, it can be concretely ‘grounded’ in a subsequent structured organizational phase, achieving surprisingly innovative and effective results.

Another typically Italian characteristic is intuition, a certain sixth sense that reveals what is not obvious, a precious ability to trace a meaning, a sense that eludes rationality, but that can be the trump card in a crucial choice. This quality is not akin to efficiency, which is more in keeping with Scandinavian culture, as it is achieved through an orderly, precise, systematic process. Here again, alchemy is possible by combining intuition with a structured process, we gain access to a broader view of reality and can concretely generate new value.

Finally, our innate ability to react to crises stems from a high degree of flexibility and quickness of mind, a quality that helps us to always identify a solution, even an imaginative one, that makes us skilfully tackle and often solve problems. This ability is not combined with the systematic nature of the Scandinavian soul, which is not particularly oriented towards sudden and adverse changes, but if we manage to skilfully mix our flexibility and readiness with a more structured way of proceeding, then we can exponentially increase the effectiveness and concreteness of our solutions.

The secret to successful integration is to mix elements of knowledge and characteristics of different cultures in an intelligent way, activating a process of analysis, sharing and mutual contamination which, in our case, has managed to integrate the Italian qualities of creativity, reactivity and intuition into a structured framework, activating a synergy that multiplies the quality and value of the results.

I would be delighted to hear your experience and your point of view on the integration of mixed-nationality teams and imagine sharing your stories with other entrepreneurs and managers to stimulate the circulation of knowledge.

If you are interested, please send me a private email to the following address:

Fulvio Mastrangelo