Market Opportunity Day
22nd October 2013
Era of Cs
What is culture?
Who am I?
Who are you?
Who are we?
What is Culture?
What influences who you are?
Professional / Educational
Significant Link Between
Culture and Business
Core beliefs and values influence:
outlook and world view
concepts of space and time
attitudes to authority and leadership
notions of team-work
Tuning into the other person
Content/topics - suitability
- Communication style
- Cultural background
- Knowledge level
Interrupting (or not!)
- Prejudices, baggage
Showing interest, follow-up Q’s
Giving something of yourself?
- Intelligence level
Ego control, not showing off
- Professional background
- Interests & non-interests
- Concentration level, focus
- Speed, accent
- Slang, vocabulary choice
- Own filters
- Reading between the lines
- No irritators
- Limited ’fillers’
Positive, level of enthusiam
Smiles (cultural level)
Avoiding contentious issues
- ask questions, listen
- avoid own opinions
- generalise, be vague
- perspective, history
- not informed
- 3rd party ’blame’
- be measured
- opinions as facts (NO)
- not putting someone in a
difficult position (giving face)
“Hmm, that’s a very interesting idea.”
Be consciously aware of them
Describe, do not judge
Be ready to revise them
Initial preparation for what you MIGHT face
Be ready to abandon them!!
National culture is still a useful level of analysis
Do some thinking / your reseach!
Which context, place, situation?
Who should be involved (from your perspective)?
Who needs to be involved (from theirs!)?
How can you get information about the people
Cultural factors at this stage: attitudes to status,
working roles, time, efficiency, deadlines
Reputation (& trust)
You, your team, your organisation, country
Cumulative, easily lost / destroyed
Great asset (culturally) – means you have a better
(or worse!) chance of being trusted at the start
Positive referral by trusted source?
Introduction by trusted 3rd party
Cultural factors at this stage: stereotypes, status,
hierarchy, relationship vs. professional orientation
Arrangements - planning
Timing, dates – sensitivity (national holidays, busy
periods, lucky/unlucky dates)
Communication channels (email, phone, face-toface, virtual)
Cultural factors at this stage: amount of time
allocated, getting confirmation, data vs. dialogue
orientation, motivation factors
1. Manners and taboos
Manners, taboos and culture
Greetings, titles, handshakes
Body language, eye contact
Professional – personal topics
Social events: fomality,
Hosting and toasting
Sensitive conversation topics
(religion, politics, history)
Colours & numbers
Meetings and culture
Body language, eye contact
Speech – content, type, facts,
Low/high context, pauses,
challenging? (intellectually or
View of time (speed of process,
thinking, planning, action),
timing, punctuality, breaks
Hierarchy and status, WHO is
Professional and personal time
– separate or overlapping?
Storytelling, sayings, proverbs
Paper, slides, speech?
Roles & value – expert?
Decision-making – individual,
Presentations and culture
Communication style (as
How is a presentation ’seen’?
•Facts, data, figures, research?
•Use of words, language and
•Language skills, listening skills
•Concentration span, length?
•Impress with charisma?
•Part of longer relationship?
Dress, personal impressions
Handouts, slides, flipchart
Timing and punctuality
Who delivers it (status)?
Negotiations and culture (+
Decision-making (how, who,
Reputation (face, company)
Details – overall concept?
Opinions (agreeing and
Contracts (written, oral?)
Fixed, followed or renegotiable?
Influencing & Persuading
Tactics, starting point?
Strengths of the North
plan and see problems ahead
hold consistent policies
access rational thought
challenge us objectively
fast communication, flat hierarchies, openess,
coolness, inflexibility, individualistic
Strengths of the West
focus on immediate future
speed, drive, action
too quick for discussion, lack of process & rigour
Strengths of the South
sell ideas and persuade
generate a positive social atmosphere
challenge us personally
relationship building, warmth, community
hierarchy, disorganised, political
Strengths of the East
think and act long-term
networking, tolerate ambiguity, meaning and purpose
inequality, high context communication, reactive
Cultural Adaptation: North
1. Do one thing at a time, complete action chains
2. Use logic and rationality
3. Stick to facts, prioritise truth over diplomacy
4. Follow rules, regulations, laws
5. Speech is for information
6. Maintain word-deed correlation
7. Stick to agenda
8. Respect officialdom
9. Respect contracts and written word
10.Limited body language
Cultural Adaptation: West
1. Talk and listen in equal proportions
2. Be polite but direct, speak up
3. Take your speaking turn
4. Partly conceal feelings
5. Concentrate on the deal
6. Reply quickly to written communication or e-mails
7. Look for short-term profit
8. Be punctual
9. Stay results orientated
10.Compromise to achieve the deal
Cultural Adaptation: East
1. Don’t threaten or blame
2. Suggestions, especially criticism, should be
3. Favour diplomacy over truth
4. Good listening is important; don’t interrupt
5. Speech is to promote harmony
6. Don’t rush or pressure them, go over things
7. Face to face contact is important
8. Observe fixed power distances and hierarchy
9. Utilize networks
Cultural Adaptation: South
Be prepared for several people talking at once
Let them talk at length, reply fully
Digress from agenda and explore interesting ideas
People and feelings are more important than facts
Speech is for opinions
Truth is flexible and situational
Be diplomatic rather than direct
Socialise, be relationship oriented
Contracts may often be renegotiated
Likes to work
Practical communication tips
2. Leverage in Communication
Think it though first & avoid obvious
Pre-empt, deal with history
Competition – internal, external
Beware of assumptions
Pressure (CEO, manager, market)
Don’t forget the human factor
Language, culture and
Perspective – broader, bigger, longer
Use real, concrete, relevant
Hints about the future
Make people feel important in the
Strategy (BU, company)
Listen and acknowledge
Defuse - 3rd party ‘blame’
Communication plan + action
Flatter, stress the positive
Choose or change the setting
Change or die
Becoming a multicultural
Where are you now (monocultural, transitional)?
Areas of operation, activities, target markets,
where is growth going to come from?
Daily contact, depth of collaboration
Is culture and diversity already an issue?
Do you really want to become more multicultural?
What are the challenges and benefits for your
Becoming a multicultural
Key success factors
Sponsorship by the board and top management
In line with strategic goals
Systematic approach, targetted efforts
Involve and engage people, bottom-up approach –
culture is a topic most people have opinions about!
Training and in-house resources, Knowledge
Develop metrics & tools to measure change
Becoming a multicultural
organisation - checklist
Lead by example!
Written policies forbidding discrimination
Social events, relationship-building, trust
Engagement, input from minorities
Flexible work environment
Continuous monitoring and development
ROD - ”Return on Diversity”
Success Factors for Crosscultural Collaboration
Set common ground rules
Agree on communication rules
Understand own culture
Curiosity and respect for others
Everyone wants to be liked and feel that:
they are listened to
Excellent, but show it with
body language & affirmation
their feelings & opinions
Speed & frequency of
response – comment!
they are interesting
Personal comment and
their efforts are appreciated
Clear thanks even when it is
A smile goes a long way!!!
The golden rules & action
1. Know thyself - beware of assumptions!
2. Cross-cultural research to avoid basic errors
3. State of awareness, improved sensitivity
4. Be interested in the differences
5. Effort to learn from experience
6. Enjoy it!
”cross-cultural communication + country name”
kwintessential.co.uk (good starting point for
national cultural information)
clearlycultural.com (introduction to Hofstede’s
everyculture.com (general cultural info)
worldbusinessculture.com (more business focused)
Parsons & Shils (1951): Pattern variables
Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck (1961) Value-orientations
Edward T. Hall (1966) contact & no contact;
(1976) monochronic & polychronic time concept;
(1976) low & high context
Geert Hofstede (1980; 1983; 1991; 2001, 2005)
Shalom Schwartz (1987/1992, 1994, 2002)
(Schwartz Value Inventory SVI)
Fons Trompenaars (1993;1997)
Alexander Thomas (1989): cultural standards
Richard D. Lewis When cultures collide (2006)
Richard Gesteland (1999): combines various
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