Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Stage 2: Initiation

We distinguish preparation from initiation in order to emphasise the shift in activities when the project is properly under way and the project partners have begun to work together on the planned actions. This stage is still often characterised by tentative contact and exploratory discussion but the emphasis will be more on the partners learning from (and about) each other. Thus, the main activities are different from the preparation phase and slightly different competencies become the priorities here. In particular, the participants need to cultivate an attitude of openness and be prepared to test out the knowledge they have acquired about their partners. All parties need to be willing to question their own assumptions and, on the basis of experience, re-think some of the professional beliefs, attitudes and behaviour they may have taken for granted.
  • Explore objectives and establish common ground
  • Examine stakeholder interests - recognising cultural constraints impacting on priorities, buy-in & decision-making
  • Review resources and define roles and responsibilities
  • Build personal relationships - develop a people orientation rather than just a task orientation
  • Agree ground rules for communicating – identifying preferred modes for working together inclusively

Information gathering – learn about unfamiliar cultures
Goal orientation – identify goals that are mutually compatible and beneficial
New Thinking - question assumptions and modify stereotypes
Active listening – check and clarify rather than assume understanding of others
Language adjustment – adapt use of language to the proficiency level of the recipient(s) so as to maximise comprehensibility
Communication Management – choose communication modes for relevant purpose, agree communication networks, establish and agree protocols
Building of shared knowledgedisclose and elicit key information and intentions (to help build trust and mutual understanding and to reduce uncertainty)
Rapport building – focus on personal relationship-building (to help build mutual understanding and trust)
Sensitivity to context – understand power and role relations, and how decisions are made in unfamiliar cultures
Interpersonal attentiveness – pay focused attention to individual sensitivities (e.g. status, competence, social identity)
Flexibilitybe able to ‘flex’ behaviour and judgements in recognition of difference
Acceptancemaintain positive outlook and feel enriched by experiences of difference 
Inner purpose – exhibit consistent values and beliefs rather than over-adapt to different ones
Coping – find suitable ways of dealing with stress, uncertainty and lack of control over certain situations