So many people refer to cross-cultural skills or people skills as “soft skills”. I beg to differ! These are “CORE SKILLS” and everyone needs them. The world is now our playing field. We no longer play in one state or one country. Even small businesses have a global presence and we need to understand how people are different when we are working across borders. To be effective we need to understand that people communicate differently and our American style is not going to work everywhere. We have to learn: the history and culture of the people we are dealing with; how they like to communicate; how they make decisions; how they manage projects and work, to name a few areas. Without this knowledge, costly mistakes will be made and your project will be affected.
Take a little bit of time to learn some cross-cultural skills before you interact across borders or even across your office because the person sitting in the cubicle or office next to you might be from another culture.