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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second Today I consider myself a global citizen living in Hungary and being involved in many things, many boards around the world. That was not always the case. I was an investment banker. I remember that the investment bank, I was one of the leaders, was focusing on Central and Eastern Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe is full of prejudices. Just to give you an example, politicians are very smart in playing these nationalistic games. For example, Hungary and Romania, there were a lot of issues, especially given that there is a Hungarian population living in Romania, and quite a big one.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds So when I moved to London and was responsible for a certain part of the investment bank, I had my prejudices about how I could do businesses in Romania, what I will find in Bucharest when I go there, will I be treated as a serious person, as an equal person?

Skip to 1 minute and 14 seconds And there are in the region, there are some bigger countries, so Hungarian moving to London and running a certain operation was also– other people had prejudices. In Poland, Poland is four times as big as Hungary. Why not that guy? Why the Hungarian guy? First of all, life is full of surprises, so I learned that my prejudices are not the same as– were wrong– actually I never felt anything bad in Romania. On the contrary, I was very welcome. And I had to make sure that those people’s prejudices turned out to be wrong. Found that it’s not fair that someone from this small country gets this position.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds The way to do that is and was to find common values, and there are lots of common values. And not to look at what the difference is but to look at the similarities and also to try to realise where I have my blocks and where I have certain things which I have to change, and it worked, and in Poland for example, the way it was, we had a big fight with the Polish team, and then there was a Tottenham game with Jurgen Klinsmann playing and inviting them and then having a dinner afterward, solved all issues.

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds The common value was the football, which most of us loved, and that was the basis on which we could build and we could then discuss further and find a solution.

Finding common ground

There are many ways to start undoing the knots. Peter Kulloi, the Chair, of the Bátor Tábor Foundation in Hungary explains how he has identified prejudices/biases and the solutions he has used to work through them.

What advice would you offer to start undoing the knots and breaking down biases?

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This video is from the free online course:

Developing Cultural Intelligence for Leadership

Common Purpose