As any business leader can tell you, it’s not always easy to have a smooth, productive business interaction with people from other cultures and there are invariably different customs and expectations to be aware of. In a tough business environment, then, how can we learn to compete and win on the world stage? One key, I’ve found, is to draw inspiration from the world of sports.
Tip #1: Learn the rules of the game.
Just like an athlete learns the playbook, you need to learn the rules for any situation you find yourself in. These rules differ widely across cultures. Take small talk, for example. In many cultures and especially those with more formal rules for communication and a strong emphasis on social hierarchy it’s taboo to make casual conversation with your boss. The same goes for performance feedback. In Germany, people are used to direct and concise feedback, without the positive ego-stroking that Americans find to be a critical part of the process. Think of notoriously direct New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick telling one of his receivers point-blank that he ran the wrong route during a playoff game. That’s how a German boss might provide feedback and how employees expect it but it’s very different from what Americans are used to in the workplace. So, Tip #1 is to learn the rules of the game. Continue reading Mastering The Sports Of Global Business