I have always wanted to visit the Motherland aka Great Britain as an American (and also the other Motherland for African Americans), and so I am glad that I get to do both in this program. Outside of the Queen (Royal Family), the red telephone booths, and Cambridge and Oxford, I do not know very much about Great Britain or London! As one who lives in a tourist area (Orlando), I have come to learn that there is the “outsider” view of a place and an “insider” view of a place. Reading both Culture Shock! London by Hargraves and Culture Shock! Great Britain by Tan has provided me with a little more of an “insider” view for our next advance.
One would think in the connected culture in which we find ourselves in with the advancement of technology books as these would not be as useful, but one quickly understands that it is the insight that is valuable not just information. For instances, Tan writes, “it’s humour that’s pervasive, spilling out over just about every aspect of life. You’ll notice that most British advertisements, whatever the selling message, usually have a tongue-in-cheek touch.” Insights into human nature over information about a place are what makes these books worth reading.
On the other hand, I too like the Rev. Jacob, love fashion, and outside of the great learning, we will do look forward to doing my fair share of shopping. As an American, I would love to say we led the way in this category, and while we have some great designers, every true fashionista knows it is London and Paris. While some of the fashion that comes out of these two places is too much for me, it speaks to the individuality of the culture, which is what fashion is meant to do.
What do all these things have to do with leadership? For me, it again speaks to the connectedness of a global society and how important it is to know our culture differences and mainly how we communicate. Erin Meyer in her book The Culture Map, reminds us Americans are low-context cultures, she writes, “In low-context cultures, effective communication must be simple, clear, and explicit in order to pass the message effectively, and most communicators will obey this requirement, usually without being fully conscious of it Conversely, in a high-context culture, you must “read the air” to understand the full breadth of the conversation. While the UK is not high-context, it is higher than in the US. In the micro, this reminds me as leaders, we must be adaptable, and with the understanding of Paracletic Leadership put others first. Reading the air, while it takes more effort, can also lead to a fuller experience as it involves working together rather than being told what to do. In the macro, it might explain why British people call their foods by the wrong name, such as calling french fries (chips) and potato chips (crisps).
 Anthony Elliott, Contemporary Social Theory: An Introduction, (Routledge: New York, NY, 2014) 11.
 Terry Tan, CultureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette: Great Britain (Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish, 2008), 57.
 Tan, Great Britain,102.
.” Meyer, The Culture Map, (INTL ED), 34-35.
 Ibid., 32-34.
 Orin Hargraves, CutureShock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Tarrytown: Marshall Cavendish, 2009), 179-80.