Whenever you travel a foreign country, there is the challenge of language. For some, this is so intimidating that they will never travel someplace too far off the beaten path. It does not seem to bother others.
While on a 3 country operations program review (including about 15 city stops) the importance of having a healthy curiosity cultures occurred to me. During one of my many flights, I debated which was more important – the language skills of the country visited or a healthy curiosity of the culture and history associated with the country. While the language helps you directly communicate, learning the culture helps you understand everyone. I concluded that language is a skill and culture is an attitude. A leader can hire or teach and skill, but it is more difficult to develop a curious nature. For this reason I chose cultural curiosity as most important.
Which do you believe is more improve for an international business person – language or cultural curiosity?