Tatiana A. Indina, PhDDOING BUSINESS WITH RUSSIAPRACTICAL TIPS for HANDLING NEGOTIATIONS,THE RUSSIAN MENTALITY,& MINDSETSynergy Business School, Moscow April 2013TATIANA A. INDINA
Things you need to know to avoidCultural ShockForget all your expectations!Get ready to discover a different worldWhere Chaos can be creativeRules can be brokenPeople are not easy to deal withPath can be endless andTime countless..But no matter what, A Miracle always happens!WELCOME TO RUSSIA !
Russian Business Culturemay seem a bit chaotic …
How to Understand the RussianMentality and Connect with themthrough their Values
Two Worlds in RussiaMoscow• NB: Avoid generalization,be sure mention cross-citydifferencesAll Other Cities (Provinces)
Understanding Russian MentalityDon’t be confused!& the MysteriousRussian Soul
Peaches and NutsWestern Cultures• Russians are hard to get toknow, but once you’vemade friends with them,they are faithful and veryloyal friends!Russia• People are friendly, but theykeep you at a distance fromtheir private lives.
• Group opinion matters!We consider ourselves one big family• Collective support and responsibility• Everyone minds your business• Everyone cares• Everything is connected to everything else• Mixing personal issues with business is usual• No privacy borders• “Vse obshee’’, ‘’Vse svoi’’, “Vsem mirom” (“All total”,“All his”, “The Whole World”)Collectivism, Communality,
• Welcoming guests• Sharing your best with them• Inviting guests to your house• Taking care of your guests• Feeding and Entertainingthem• Making friends• Engaging in philosophicdiscussionsHospitality & Kindness
Personality, Emotions, & Friendship• Russian culture is very emotional• Connecting on a personal and emotional level isvery important (hobby, children, family)• Personal relationships matter the most• Having a good personal relationship helps at work• Business is based on personal good relationshipsand connections• Russians value real friendship and love• They are passionate, impulsive, and have a greatsoul• Being faithful and honest are valued• They let their hearts guide their decisions• They embrace their moods and emotions• “Полюбить так королеву, проиграть такмиллион» (“To love as the Queen, so to lose amillion”)• «Один раз живем» (“We only live once”)
Honesty, Sincerity, & Truthfulness• Russian people are very direct – you willnever have illusions about whether ornot they like you• They often say what they think• Russians judge by your actions, not byyour words• Only actions matter• Russian people value what is real, notwhat is fake• Being a “real man” – a person who keepstheir word – is highly valued• Who you really are is more importantthan your image• Russian idioms: “рубаха парень”(“regular guy / outgoing fellow”), «душана распашку» (“soul of the plow”),«мировой человек» (“man of theworld”)
Spirituality• Central role of religion in Russian life• Rich Cultural and Historic Heritage• Great Scientific Heritage• Discovering the World’s Secrets ishighly prized• Having a ‘good soul’ is important• Personality development is valued• The Search for Meaning in Life isvalued
Keep gender differences in mind•Russian business etiquette is gender-oriented•Russian women like to dress very feminine•They enjoy flowers and compliments•Women are not expected to pay in restaurants
Basic Metaphors Of Russian Culture“Raising”• Agriculture and organicCollective Farming werecentral activities• Ancient tribes were nomadic,often moving in search of betterlocations, rather than remainingin the same place for severalgenerations.• Strong dependence on Nature• Life was full of Uncertainty, anUnpredictable Future, and HighRisk
Delegation of ResponsibilityDependency upon Circumstances• Delegation of Responsibility• Tendency to expect better time and conditions foryour work• Tendency to find objective reasons for lack ofresults• Irrational belief that the work, once started, willsomehow finish itself or be done by someone else• Lack of consideration for people working on thesame project after you (negative effect on quality)• Ability to work productively and quickly under highpressure, un-balanced work schedules• Ability to produce high productivity under stricttime limits (while maintaining high quality)
Fatalism• Future is unpredictable, so a wisestrategy is not to work giving 100%,saving some energy for futureneeds• You never know what the Futurewill bring you• The Future is Risky, take advantageof Present Circumstance• You cannot Control your Future• No Long-Term Goal Setting• No Insurance Plans, SecuritySavings, etc.• A Healthy Lifestyle is not valuedProverbs• This is your fate• You never know how muchtime you have• You cannot trick Fate• Never say Never• What if a War starts, and Iam exhausted?
The “Path” Metaphor• Distances are huge = Paths is very long• Paths can be unpredictable• You never know when or how it willend• You cannot predict what the outcomewill be• Path can be full of risky adventures• Paths can lead astray from their originalgoals for various reasons
Orientation on process“Dig from thefence until lunch “•Concentration on process•Ability to lose track of the original reasons andgoals of activity•Ability to forget about deadlines andtimeframes• Focusing on details which seem the mostinteresting•Replacement of the original goal with somehidden, or additional, new-found goal
Two major Russian Problems:1. DURAKI (FOOLS)2. DOROGI (ROADS)
A Focus on the Present• What benefit can I get rightnow?• What is my primary interest?• The Future is an Illusion, thePresent is Real• You never know whattomorrow will bring you• A bird in the hand is worthtwo in the bush”
Path• Sometimes after you have planted theseeds of your goal, your path takes youfarther than expected, so that when it istime to collect the harvest, you mighthave to collect the harvest of someoneelse’s field• Very often the right one is not the onewho planted the seeds, but the one whogathers the harvest.
“The Struggle” Metaphor• The large size of ancient Russian tribes could allowthemselves to fight with smaller groups ofneighboring tribes• Tendency to find an external Enemy to blame forinternal failings and problems• Suspicion of unfriendly intentions from Outsiders• Tendency to explain one’s own aggressiveintentions as self-protection• Tendency to unite to resist an external Enemy
Two Major Russian Questions1. KTO VINOVAT ? (“Who is to blame?”)2. SHTO DELAT? (“What to do?”)
Assertiveness, CriticismArguments and Search for Truth• We do not smile. It’s true!• Negative emotions aresocially accepted.• Suffering is Heroism• We love to be critical (andself-critical)• Arguments are a form ofmental exercise• We search for the truth!• Compromise is not our style• Confrontation is normal (Welike to test that something isreal)• We love to prove we are right(there are two opinions: Mineand Wrong One)•
Мы матом не ругаемся, Мы на нем разговариваем !№;%%??()(_№?*%№»?(If Russians argue or use rude words – that does not meanthey do not like you… Rather, it is more likely that they do!
Patriotism• Respect for a greathistoric heritage• Genetic memory ofwars• Superiority complex• Low tolerance towardseverything different• Strong Conservatism• High resistance toChange
Russian organizational behavior• Russian Serfs had to work for their landlord andfor themselves; if they worked too hard for thelandlord, they didn’t have enough energy left towork for themselves• As a result, culturally, working for your ownbenefit is viewed differently from working foryour employer• As a result working on an employer was alwaysgiven less effort• IF a person is motivated and sees his owninterest in the activity, he will put forth moreeffort• IF the person perceives his work as work forsome “master”, their productivity andmotivation decreases, and can result in himtaking on a consumer’s attitude
Relax & Take it easy !(A miracle will happen andEverything will be OK!)
Negotiation Strategy• As a foreigner you are allowed to smile !• Connect on Core Values (Show that you are just like them, that you have a lot incommon)• Show respect for their traditions• Show your personality, Let them get to know you better• Express your emotions• Be less formal and make friends• Holidays and outdoor events are important ! (That’s where business connections aremade!)• Be honest, be straight-forward• Show that you are cool, strong and real!• To gain their respect, demonstrate you can be a strong leader• Keep in mind gender differences• Show them the benefits – no bullshit!• Argue when necessary• Focus on the Present!• Give them Time – Remember, it is a process !• Relax, Take it easy ! (Everything will work out in the end!)
Russian Proverbs and Sayingsreflecting Mentality• The peasant will not crosshimself before it begins tothunder• Chickens are counted inAutumn.• One does not go to Tula withones own samovar• The sun will shine into ouryard too• A man is judged by his deeds,not by his words• All is well that ends well.• You neednt be afraid of abarking dog, but you shouldbe afraid of a silent dog• Better late than never.• One fisherman sees another from afar.• A bird may be known by its flight (A person isknow and judged by his actions or behavior)• Take the bull by the horns.• Once burned by milk you will blow on coldwater• You cannot pull a fish out of a pond withoutlabour• Any sandpiper is great in his own swamp.• The devil is not so frightful as he is painted.• There will come a time when the seed willsprout• Eggs cannot teach a hen• The tongue speaks, but the head doesnt know• Every sandpiper praises its own swamp• There is no evil without good
Important RitualsandTypical Russian experiencesyou must have
To deal with Russians more effectively:Learn Russian HistoryRead Russian BooksWatch Russian MoviesGet familiar with Russian Fairytales & AnecdotesDiscover historical sitesHang out with your Russian friends
Read Russian Books• Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky• Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol• Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy• War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy• Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin• Fathers and Sons by Ivan TurgenevThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov• The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky• A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov• Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
Say “I love Russians!”And discover a Real Russian inside you!