How do businesses treat rules in your culture
I went to the theater the other evening to see a one-woman show. It was superb, and just as entertaining as it was thought-provoking!
And my first thoughts afterwards were about ad-libs and the ways that rules are followed - or not - in different cultures (well, it’s what I do!)
So I thought: ”What are the main ways that people treat rules in different cultures”?
“Rules are important and should (generally) be followed” seems to be a pretty common response here in the USA in many business scenarios, as well as in theater circles.
For example, in the theater business, it’s clearly all about learning your lines & moves etc impeccably so that you can reproduce them completely and perfectly at each performance with no room then for improvisation or ad hoc inputs.
And in business circles there seems to be a quite rigid set of (often unwritten) rules, for example around:
- How the management hierarchy is set up - perhaps a formal up-and-down structure or maybe it’s more of a circle with spokes that radiate outwards from one central source of authority
- Time-management - especially regarding deadlines, meetings etc
- Tradition or change - the business focus is usually forward-looking rather than always watching the reverse mirror to see and repeat what worked in previous “glory days”
- Focus on the team or the individual - people often consider themselves individuals who work in a team in preference to being a team with its own group-focus
Cross-culturally, I’ve found all over the world that this stronger attachment to rules and behaviors is often found around a cluster of English-speaking countries (USA, UK, Australia, Canada and others) as well as in several north-European nations.
And yet ….. people have a rather more relaxed and flexible manner in businesses across Latin American, Mediterranean and many Asian countries. In these places, rules seem to be treated more as guidelines to be applied according to the particular needs of the situation and often with “building and maintaining relationships” as the over-riding need and objective.
And yet ….. of course, not all businesses keep strictly to their local rules!
So you need to be a detective and uncover the culture in each organization you work with.
Which means asking questions: the right questions, useful questions, relevant questions ….. all sorts of questions in fact, if you want to be effective and build useful relationships with other people and businesses.
And that is where I come in! If you would like some help uncovering the iceberg of hidden cultural messages wherever you face challenges in building relationships that enable your business to succeed, then please get in touch with me.
“I am committed to guiding and supporting you to build better connections with your clients from different national and business cultures by expanding your Multi-Cultural Intelligence”
Global Knowledge - Available Locally
I had one burning ambition when I graduated from university: to see the world and get someone to pay me to do it. Result: SUCCESS! After a first career working for a global British bank throughout UK, Europe, USA, Middle East, Asia/Pacific and Africa, switched horses mid-stream and began a second career several years ago by starting up my own small business – and I’m still going strong! I design and deliver highly interactive workshops and presentations, with the focus on people absorbing their learning through practical activities and enjoying themselves – I am definitely a real-world pragmatist and not an academic theorist! Clients have ranged from multinational corporations (incl. Dell, Monster.com, British Telecoms Global Services, Lloyds Bank International, UK Post Office) to numerous SMEs (Small and Medium-size Enterprises) as well as many individual coaching clients, especially business start-ups and managers & team-leaders, located all around Europe, UK, USA and the Middle East . I am quite a “rare bird”, as a specialty of mine is talking “Global English” with people for whom English is not their first language. I know how they feel, because I have learned some other languages myself on my travels! Among my transferable skills and qualifications, I am an award-winning actor and director in amateur theatre (at regional events in England as well as a “Best Actor” award at a European Drama Festival) and I’m also a Freeman and Liveryman of the City of London. I now live and work in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.
Cross-Cultural Training and Coaching :
Multi-Cultural Awareness, International Business Etiquette, Negotiating in a Culturally-Connected World, Customer Service Across Cultures, Business Cultural Dilemmas around the World, Communicating Across Cultures
Sales and Negotiations, Key Account Management, Building Relationships & Rapport, Questioning & Influencing Skills, Business Acumen (incl. financial awareness & business strategy)
Team-building & Team-working:
Leading and Managing Your Team, Presentation skills, Train-The-Trainer
DELIVERY: workshops, seminars, presentations, 1-to-1 coaching
CLIENTS: SMEs and/or national and multinational corporations
If you have challenges or problems dealing with people and businesses from other cultures, or your business communications in general, please get in touch: I’m available at your office, a coffee-shop or a PC-screen near you!