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The complicated nature of cultural difference does not really rely much on which country you are from. If you want to do business globally and at the same time intend to operate across different cultures, the first thing that you should predict is how others are going to respond. That means, your typical heuristic should be culture and its differences, and quite understandably so.
When you read a book or an article or a blog post on the internet about cultural differences, you come to know how people of this world vary in culture. The Germans differ from the Chinese who differ from the Italians and it goes on. It is all about:
- How people think
- How they act and
- How they express emotions.
All these are different for different kinds of people.
In the business world, cultural differences play a significant role in the success of the business. Most businesses fail on this aspect because they think that they have done enough homework, know the people who they work with very well and are well prepared.
However, and surprisingly, on due course of time they find that the people or a specific person acts in and entirely different way from what they anticipated. For example, considering the Asian contingent, they may find that:
- They are not being reticent as expected
- They are quite loud as not expected and
- They are confrontational which was least expected from an Asian.
On the other hand, for example their Israeli counterpart may turn up to be very mild in behavior as opposed to their natural aggressiveness in behavior.
Time to reconnaissance
Therefore, as a business owner you will encounter a variety of people who will confound your expectations regarding cultural differences but at times you may be compelled to wonder what went wrong and where exactly you made the mistake.
This is the time for a recon. You will need to accept cultural differences in your business and ask a few questions to know from where exactly these problems arise. The most obvious and relevant question that you should ask yourself is: What culture does the person in question come from?
Since national cultural differences matter most in business, you will need to know that:
- Your network in an Asian country will tend to be a lot different from your network in the United States
- The ways you follow to motivate your employees in Japan may not work on your employees or network in Canada.
However, you will make another big mistake if you think that national cultural differences are the only major thing that matters most for your business success. Culture is not everything, though it is a major role player.
Therefore, you will need to follow a specific approach for your recon. You will need to be careful, prudent and judgmental just as you are when you weigh the pros and cons of different debt relief options on NationalDebtRelief.com. Just as that ensure you choose the best and most feasible debt relief option for you this will also help you to work in accordance to the cultural difference in your organization.
Focused set of questions
Therefore, as the matter turns out, you will need to ask yourself a more focused set of question instead of the general ones. This will ensure that you are far more successful in knowing about the cultural differences as well as in anticipating how exactly people will react so that you can prepare yourself properly and more effective well advance for such differences.
Question 1: What exactly do you know about the specific region?
It is good to learn at least a few things about the region and its norms if you really want to know well about the cultural norms of that region. This will help you to:
- Diagnose your situation
- Know the areas of development and
- Act accordingly.
For example, if you are focusing on the United States, you should not assume that the people from the Northeast will know a lot and be quite similar to those people who live in the South or in the Midwest. If you do so, you will be highly surprised and mistaken.
Having said that, you will also be misguided if you assume that people from Southern and Northern Italy are identical to the people residing in the rural and urban areas of China.
Question 2: How much do you know about the industry or the specific company?
Just like regions and countries differ, companies and industries also tend to differ and have characteristic cultures.
- Keeping that in mind, the way in which you need to interact with the boss of Google must be quite different from the way in which you would like to interact with a boss at Intel or Microsoft.
- On the other hand, the meetings and conferences in any traditional and bureaucratic organizations are also held quite differently from the meetings at any small startup.
- If you consider ad industry, you will find that their norms for behavior are starkly different from the norms for behavior in any agricultural industry.
The list can go on and on, but that is not the point. What is more important to know is that the culture of a company will imitate the culture of that specific region or a country.
Question 3: Finally ask how much and what do you know about the people you are interacting with. You must also know how much you cane exactly find about them.
You may be interacting with a 60-year-old senior executive. The way of communication will be much different from the way you would communicate with 20-something year old manager. This is because older people tend to reflect the norms of the overall society more than the younger counterparts.
It will also be very useful to know whether you are interacting with locals or cosmopolitans as locals will reflect the norms of the immediate region but the cosmopolitans with lots of travel experience will be open to a broader range of behaviors.
To sum up, all these will help you set up a successful business and start a new culture that will pay rich dividends.