Cross Cultural Issues in
By Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach at Zest and
Zen International Coaching
What is Culture ?
" Culture is more often a source of conflict
than of synergy. Cultural differences are a
nuisance at best and often a disaster."
Prof. Geert Hofstede, Emeritus
Professor, Maastricht University.
Cultural Differences and Impact
on Doing Business
• Language (Verbal and non-verbal)
• Cultural Values
• Cultural Norms
Some Features of Culture
• 1. facial expressions
• 2. religious beliefs
• 3. religious rituals
• 4. importance of time
• 5. paintings
• 6. values
• 7. literature
• 8. child-raising beliefs
• 9. ideas about
• 10. gestures
• 11. holiday customs
• 12. ideas about
13. ideas about friendship
14. ideas about modesty
16. eating habits
17. understanding of the
18. concept of self
19. the importance of work
20. concept of beauty
22. styles of dress
23. general world view
24. concept of personal space
25. rules of social etiquette
• Physical closeness of people
• Postures/body stance
• Eye-contact (Use or avoidance)
• Physical attire & overall grooming
• Protestant and Christianism—stress hard work
• Judaism—stresses education, development.
• Islam—focus on rules for social interaction
• Hinduism—encourages family orientation and
dictates strict dietary constraints.
• Buddhism-stresses sufferance and avoidance of
Cultural Values and Norms
• Cultural Values = Enduring beliefs define
mode of conduct and are guides for desirable
• Norms =rules that dictate what is right or
wrong, & acceptable or unacceptable.
• What an outsider must or must not do.
• What locals may do but an outsider
• What an outsider may or may not do.
Critical Differences in Doing Business
US vs France
1. Analytical thinking: Focus on
the present, data analysis,
2. Focus on the “how,” and then
on the “what
3. Little interpersonal
communication needed for
4. Communication is very direct
5. Importance on what is said,
not on how it is said
6. Change is good, outcome over
tradition is emphasized
7. Independent work, informal
speeches, first names
1. Reasoning based on
2. Focus on the “why”, then on
3. Emphasis on relationships,
business is built on personal
4. Conflict and negative aspects
of business are handled
5. Saving face is important
6. Links with the past, history
and traditions are important.
7. Hierarchical organizations.
titles, last names, formal
Communication and Leadership
• Cultural literacy is one of the most
important skills to build effective
relationships with diverse employees,
collaborative alliances with suppliers, and
strong connections with customers.
Strategies for Effective
1. Be aware of your own culture, beliefs, values and behavior.
2. Show curiosity toward other cultures and expand your knowledge when
interacting with local people by listening and observing.
3. Show respect for other cultures and customs by adopting appropriate
behavior and language (verbal and non-verbal)
4. Do not over-react when you feel uncomfortable or “under attack:, ask first
questions for clarification
5. Be patient.
6. Learn quickly how to read people and assess situations
7. Be genuine, open and inclusive
8. Help other managers and employees by communicating clearly on roles,
responsibilities, expected initiatives and behaviors.
9. Learn how to give feedback in a cultural sensitive way
10. Leverage cultural differences for mutual gain
About Zest and Zen
Global Executive Coaching
• Anne Egros the founder of Zest and Zen is an independent professional coach, based
in Brussels, the Capital of Europe and host of many international organizations including EU and
• Anne has been an expatriate for 20 years working at management levels for
Fortune 500 companies in USA, Japan and Europe. She understands deeply the needs and challenges of
global leaders and international managers working in multicultural environments.
• Anne's coaching approach is holistic and unconditionally constructive. When the company vision,
mission and goals are aligned with the individual's values, people can achieve extraordinary results
• Executive coaching and Cross-cultural Leadership: Anne thinks that doing business globally does not
mean "one size fits all", most marketing strategies must adapt to local characteristics and circumstances,
sometime even at the individual level. "Glocalization" is the new strategy for international development
and it requires a brand new set of skills for managers to become inter-culturally effective leaders that
inspire people reaching excellence.
• Anne provide one to one and team building coaching services. The “One2One Energizing
Coaching“ helps clients to become aware of who they truly are, what motivates them or hold them
back. Anne use brainstorming techniques, visualization and creativity tools.
• Anne Egros helps her clients to build a personal brand in their organization and in social media
aligning their personal values and vision with the ones of their organization.
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org