Zendesk recently published a great little infographic, a Quick Guide To Going Global. It offers some great contrasts between different cultures, and how the rules of being polite in one country may get you in trouble somewhere else. As Andrew Gori writes:
Being polite might seem easy: Someone does something nice, you say “thank you,” right? As it turns out, that all depends on your location. Manners are different all over the world.
As Andrew points out, there is one thing that’s consistent: To be polite you have to treat people with respect. But memorizing a handful of superficial rituals isn’t the way to do it. Instead, take the time to understand your own culture, and become sensitive to business cultural preferences. You can get started by taking a look at my videos on business culture.
Just as every country and every region and every people have social cultural preferences, the corporate world has business cultural preferences. These preferences define how we communicate, how we relate to our boss or employees, even how we manage time. They can’t be taught, trained, or educated away, either. It’s not about knowledge, it’s about feeling how to act properly in a particular social environment. Culture is something we start to pick up as a child, and that includes the culture of business in our country. Most of us don’t even think about it. It’s “just the way things are,” and that’s what makes it so hard to change our cultural preferences.
Be sure to check out Andrew Gori’s original article on Zendesk.