Some of you may have noticed that I have reduced my blog posts in 2017. I have taken on an increased role at one of my clients that has absorbed >60% of my working time. It has also put me on the road internationally again. The benefits are that I have enjoyed a resurgence in my global business development activity, more nose to nose relationship building and more time to read.
A new networking acquaintance turned me on to an insightful book: The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. Ms. Meyer is from Two Harbors, Minnesota and teaches at INSEAD.
The book helped me see the many mistakes I have made building international business relationships. As Americans, we pride ourselves on being direct and “open.” Not all cultures perceive our openness similarly. Ms. Meyer concludes, Americans are more task based and less relationship driven. We perceive ourselves as being open and friendly in our personal interactions. We make offers of friendship easily which we don’t follow up as authentically and can be perceived negatively by others. We are the peaches.
As peaches, we quickly let people in to our soft selves. We show pictures of our children, we use first names in all conversations, we invite people for future personal events e.g. a meal, a golf outing, a boat ride. We never intend to introduce these people to our homes, to meet our children or share a meal on our personal time. That’s when you reach the hard pit of the peach-we don’t want to let someone into our personal domain.
Many of our European and Asian colleagues are more like coconuts. They are initially, at the skin, more closed. They don’t ask personal questions about family at the initial stages of a relationship. As relationships develop over time they let you past their coconut hard shell. They become warmer and friendlier and let you taste their sweet milk inside. They value trust very highly.
How should peaches seek to build authenticity and trust with their friends the coconuts:
My networking colleague said I probably could have written this book, that’s not true. I only wish that I have learned from the numerous gaffes I have made and had read some previous work on this subject.
Do you want to have a free fifteen minute discussion so I can share these mistakes I made so you can avoid them? Or pick up the book and take it from the expert Erin Meyer.
Sign up on my web site http://www.jimthomasintl.com/ or contact me directly by phone.