Business culture cheat sheet

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Culture Cheat Sheet for Growing Global and Loving Local in 10 largest markets: "In Rome Do The Romans!"

Whether you fancy developed markets or BRIC – appreciating the cultural nuance is key to helping you unlock the value of your investment. And while peddling in cultural generalizations is not enough (North and Southern Italy and England and Scotland may be worlds apart) – it’s a cheat sheet after all.

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Business culture cheat sheet

  1. 1. Cultural Cheat Sheet: Grow Global. Love LocalNavigate 10 largest economies in 5 minutesDoing business in ChinaFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailBe sincere: it’s the quality most prized by the Expect quick resultsChineseDo favours: it’s a great way to build Lose your temper or get impatient – it shows arelationships and they will be returned lack of controlShow respect to senior people and older people Fail to keep regular contactSpend time building the relationship Be extravagant or immodest in your dress, behaviour or personal habitsReciprocate: if someone asks for your help, Ignore Chinese social etiquette – especially athelp them mealtimesDoing business in the USAFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailBe positive and clear about what you do and Use British understatement and sarcasticwho you are humourNetwork and be visible Make un-PC comments about sex, race and religionDeliver on time and on budget Suggest that Americans lack a sense of humour
  2. 2. Adopt a relaxed and friendly approach Fail to advise of slippage in the projectBe supportive: modify proposals, don’t reject Slip out for a beer at lunchtimethemDoing business in IndiaFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailSpend time building the relationship Keep your human side hiddenDo things on the phone of face-to-face when Be patronizing – India ceased being a part ofyou can the British Empire more than 60 years agoCheck performance and delivery – but with Show intolerance if things don’t happen exactlycourtesy the way you expectBe more relaxed about time and schedules Show impatience if things don’t happen in your timescaleBuild a basic knowledge of India’s religions and Fail to adapt to local business customs anddietary customs adapt them to your needsDoing business in JapanFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailSpend time building a good relationship Try and stand out as an individual in a land of consensusWork hard and earn trust Cause a Japanese person to lose face in front of othersSocialize – sing in a karaoke session even if Try to rush people into an agreementyou’ve got a lousy voiceStress team achievement, not individual Ignore Japanese protocol and customsachievementStudy Japanese business protocol – correct Talk loudly, gesticulate extravagantlyprocess is as important as a good result
  3. 3. Doing business in BrazilFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailBuild the relationship Avoid mentioning Portuguese or Argentinian superiority in any areaDress your best – good clothes and accessories, Insist on bringing up the disparity of wealth inclean and pressed BrazilIn all-male company, compliment the beauty of Decline social invitationsBrazilian womenBrazilians are very house proud: accept if they Be inflexible, stiff and formalinvite you for dinner or just a drinkStay in good hotels – style matters Ask to see the favelas, Brazil’s shanty towns where guns and drugs are frequentDoing business in RussiaFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailBe patient Criticize RussiaBe firm, even tough, in your negotiations – the Compromise too early in a negotiationRussians value leadership and strengthRespect the Russian calendar: their meeting Show disunity in the teamtimes may not be the same as yoursPay attention to the hierarchy: it’s important to Neglect to check what ties behind thegive due respect to the boss. prosperous frontShow personal warmth: Russians build business Use ‘hard sell’ rather than ‘academic sell’on personal relationships tactics in negotiating
  4. 4. Doing business in the United KingdomFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailDeliver on time, without drama Boast about your achievementsArrive at meetings punctually Talk for an hour in a presentationIf you’re having difficulties, ask advice Phone people in the evening about workimmediately rather than risk missing a deadlineCheck at the end of a meeting exactly what the Let a colleague down once he or she believesBrits expect of you they can depend on youJoin them for a beer after work, or in the gym Be patronizing to women(many Brits now avoid alcohol)Doing business in GermanyFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailDemonstrate efficiency and punctuality Be disorganized and ignore due processBe straightforward and direct Promise and fail to deliverDo what you say you will do Do things without consultationFind out the rules and follow them Go over the heads of line managers or reportsRespect the management hierarchy Be over-familiar with colleagues
  5. 5. Doing business in FranceFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailUnderstand the free market v social contract Do it all in English – if you have no French,debate in France apologizeShow appreciation of French culture Ignore the French intellectual approachMake sure that French guests eat and drink Swear and drink too muchwellMaintain a degree of formality until you’re Dig up the old clichés about Anglo-Frenchinvited to use first names conflictBe logical and consistent in negotiations, and Decline lunch invitations and buy a sandwich towhen you reach a decision, stick with it eat at your deskDoing business in ItalyFive Ways to Succeed Five Ways to FailBuild good personal relationships and keep in Criticize or belittle Italy and its economycontactShow appreciation of Italy and especially of Remain solely on a business footingyour partner’s regionRemember that the top man or woman makes Decline invitations to eat or drink with yourthe decisions hostsDress carefully and in coordinated fashion for Wear jeans and trainers to the office on ameetings: in Italy clothes do make the man (or Fridaywoman)Name Italian products that you own of have Make jokes involving the PopeenjoyedSources: Glocal Partners, adopted from The World’s Business Cultures

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