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A new series of workshops: Business Cultures of the World

Friday March 09th, 2018

Do some of these questions sound familiar to you?

  • The Chinese sometimes are pragmatic as hell and seem to seek for “quick and dirty” solutions, while on other moments they continue to raise problems about something that is not relevant. Why?
  • The French have a very hierarchical way of working: everybody does what the boss tells them to do, even when this is clearly nonsense. But behind his back they all talk about how stupid his decisions are. Why don’t they ry to influence his decisions?
  • My American colleagues are so superficial: they ask “How are you doing?” but are not interested to hear the answer, and they are so positive on everything that they often speak as a talk-show host rather than as a business professional. Why?
  • The Koreans can be very tough in negotiations, and treat us like sh.., while at other moments they are very friendly and relaxed. I never know what to expect from them. What makes them act so unpredictable?
  • Why do my Indian colleagues constantly say all is fine, while in reality there are delays in the project and certainly not all is fine. Why are they not honest to me?

Just some questions that indicate cultural differences are at work. And although organization culture, professional culture and even individual personalities play a big role, our cultural programming to a large extent determines how we interpret such situations as described above.

In cultural awareness trainings we discuss these questions using a cultural framework, such as the Hofstede model, Erin Meyer’s Culture Map or some of my own modifications of these models. Using the models, one can compare many cultures on the scale of hierarchical sensitivity, directness of communication or ways to build up relationships. More and more however, companies tell me they do not want to cover and compare all cultures in a training, nor do they want to address cultural awareness as a big theme. They want specific information and knowledge that helps them understand the behavior of their colleagues in France, Korea or the US specifically.

In the cross-cultural profession this move is criticized a lot. The belief is that when you give specific tips on dealing with one culture, you enter the domain of the do’s and don’ts of a culture, and this only confirms the existing stereotypes. It often looks like the ‘interculturalists’ have the holy mission to fight stereotypes and finally learn humanity to appreciate differences. And although respect and appreciation for differences are key for me as well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with learning from stereotypes. Culture deals with the shared characteristics of groups, and that’s just what makes a stereotype…

My new series of trainings is a mix of both worlds: I have developed a range of culture-specific workshops (Business Culture of …) that mainly focus on the cultural behaviors from that business culture. So the program ‘Business culture of China’ deals with the main cultural characteristics of China, and looks at common business processes (negotiation, decision-making, performance management, team collaboration, change management) in the context of the Chinese culture. Also, it provides some insight into other cultures, such that you are able to position the Chinese culture compared to other well-known cultures.

I developed these programs with the needs of today’s business world in mind: a short, intense and focused program of 6,5 hours. You walk out with solid understanding and loads of practical tips how to improve the cooperation with your Chinese counterparts. On top of this, each participant has access to unlimited one-to-one Skype consultation after the course, to share day-to-day experiences and get ideas to deal with cross-cultural business challenges.

The program is now available for 6 cultures: below you can download the brochures for each. The series is planned to be expanded with Business Culture of Spain, France, Germany, Turkey, Sweden and Russia in the coming year. Currently available:

Business Culture of the US

Business Culture of China

Business Culture of Japan

Business Culture of South_Korea

Business Culture of Finland

Business Culture of India

I expect to run these programs mostly in-company and will adjust the content of the program dependent on specific needs of the group.

The above 6 programs can be booked from April 2018 onwards, and can be conducted across the globe. For international programs I charge only part of the travel/airfare, to accommodate other business introductions in your region. Get in touch to learn more!

What are the challenges your team deals with when working with some of these cultures? Please let me know! I will always get back to you with a personalized answer, and hopefully some suggestions or follow-up questions: I’m happy to hear from you!

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