world of today is drastically different from that of
twenty, or even ten, years ago. The influence of
multinational corporations, the technological
revolution, the "Information Superhighway",
and the movement of the private and public sectors
towards globalization, sets the scene.
laws, agreements and regional partnerships - from NAFTA
to GATT to the EUROPEAN UNION or ASEAN - have
contributed to make this massive change not only
possible but also achievable.
development demands a completely new approach to
business or to any type of international relations. A re-evaluation of strategies, of expansion
and the use of human resources.
when it comes right down to making the deal, it's
people who make the difference. It's the people in
your company who have to make the contacts, make the
commitments, and follow through on them. It's people who
have to learn to understand and work with each other,
whether it happens in person, over the phone, through
the fax or by e-mail. And it's people who have to make sure these new
business relationships are built on a sound basis of
understanding and mutual respect.
This is necessary because globalization could be
a two-edge sword. The opposite site of immense potential
markets is the challenge of understanding or misunderstanding
an entirely new cultural milieu.
Cultures Are Not Like Yours
matter who you are or where you live, no matter what
nation or culture you come from, you will need to
recognize one very important truth when you do business
with colleagues in other countries. Other people -
although they may dress like you, speak your language,
or even work for the same company - are not "just
do business with people that have very different
histories, languages, and ways of doing business. They
will have a different sense of time, and a different
sense of humor. They will have different ways of
negotiating, and different perceptions of when a deal
has truly been made.They will also have different
expectations of what it means to follow
through on commitments and agreements. In a word,
they will have different cultures!
You Need To Know The Rules
Are you a sales manager setting up new distribution
channels? A service representative working with overseas
colleagues to set up new systems? A manager helping to
run an overseas subsidiary or open a new manufacturing
plant? Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, if you
are interacting with people from other cultures, you
need to know something about them.
Cross-Culture Awareness course can be an essential first
step in that process. When you do business with
companies in other countries, you are not just staying
in a different hotel, eating a different meal, and
meeting in different offices. You are entering someone
else's world, and you need to understand the history of
its people, the rules the culture runs by, and the way
they view the business process.
understanding does not come overnight. It will only come
with preparation, effort, and an open mind.
traveler should know something about the country they
are visiting - its history, its people, its heritage. It
helps you make conversation, helps you learn more from
the experience, and is a sign of respect for those you
you understand the basic facts about a culture, and
something about its social rules, you are ready to do
business. When does yes
When does maybe
mean no? When should you raise the issue of payment? How are commitments
followed through? - In order to get the best results,
you need to know how business is done in your partner's
issues form the backbone of any culture. People in
different countries conduct their lives in different
ways: Which color flowers to bring? Which hand to shake?
How to address your colleagues? Who speaks first?
It is far better to know the rules than to risk
offending anyone and losing a deal.
Knowing the rules
is one thing. Being prepared for the little things that
can go wrong, is quite another. And little things can
always go wrong!
Companies worldwide are actively training their staff
in Inter-Cultural awareness, sensitization and
communications in order to help
their sales, service and management employees prepare
for interacting and doing business, successfully, with
include manufacturers, service companies and consultants
from electronics, telecommunications, pharmaceutical,
construction, government, training and education,
tourism, automotive, consumer electronics, marine
engineering, and many other organizations.