Do you know how to manage your business effectively in China? As an expatriate working in Germany, are you comfortable with your communication style managing your German colleagues? Does your global staff know how to develop a successful strategy to manage the offices virtually in Asia? In today’s global marketplace, a global manager is defined in many different ways. Whether the global manager is traveling globally or working virtually across cultures, the key to success is to understand how culture impacts the business environment and to adapt one’s work and communication style to achieve a global mindset.
THREE STRATEGIES TO ACHIEVE A GLOBAL MINDSET
1. Understand Your Own Cultural Background
What is your own culture? First, begin by identifying your cultural background and how this may influence your management style. This is not an easy process. One exercise that has been successful for global managers is to discuss the meaning of their name with colleagues. By defining one’s name from a cultural perspective, global managers are challenged to consider how their cultural background may influence the way they work.
2. Gain Cultural Etiquette Insight
Global managers must increase their knowledge of cultures where they do business. Gaining insight into the cultural etiquette of a country will help the global manager make better decisions to lead more effectively. Although learning the etiquette of a culture may seem like a basic exercise, it is sometimes the small mistakes that make the biggest impact. A common example is the business card exchange. It is important to understand the value placed on the business card, especially when working in Asia.
For example, in countries such as China and Japan, the business card should be viewed as a symbol of the relationship. Therefore, the card must be treated with care. A few helpful tips include exchanging the card with two hands, keeping the card in sight during the conversation, and understanding that writing on the card is viewed as an insult. Maintaining a level of formality when it comes to the business card exchange is good business practice when traveling globally.
Increasing one’s understanding of cultural etiquette will allow the global manager to achieve his goals and, equally as important, will minimize the opportunity for mistakes.
3. Change Your Hat and Adapt!
Global managers may not have all of the answers as they are increasingly challenged to work across cultures. The good news is that by adapting one’s own cultural orientation patterns to work effectively across cultures, an individual can strive towards achieving a global mindset.
How do you adapt your own management style to meet the needs of the other culture?
A global manager is relocating to Shanghai and needs to understand the best approach for develop relationships with his new Chinese colleagues. One of the most important tips for achieving success in China is to recognize that China is a relationship-based culture. Therefore, the global manager must make it a priority to spend time developing relationships with their Chinese colleagues. The global manager should invite his Chinese colleagues out for lunch to get to know them on a personal basis. One quick tip: Don’t talk about business! The focus of the lunch is about getting to know one another. This is the beginning of building a successful relationship in China.
Understanding one’s own cultural background and recognizing how it impact’s one’s work style, learning and practicing correct cultural etiquette, and adapting one’s management style to meet the expectations of the local culture and the stakeholders will lead a global manager to achieve a global mindset. Achieving a global mindset will lead to an effective and efficient experience for the global manager.