Friday, June 29, 2007

Cross cultural communication

Can you deal with other business cultures without knowing their language(s)?
Yes, and no. Yes, if you have a language which both of you can speak, and no, when the business cultures are too different and both of you are too prejudiced.

But how to manage business people acting globally? Simple, adapting to the business culture in the country you want to do business with. And for the sake of mankind, leave all your prejudices at home.
Dutch people like me tend to be critical. Not to put someone else down, or to let someone to loose his face. No, I am critical because I want to learn and listen to others, and don't want to take everything for granted. So, being critical means, I am interested.

The Netherlands is a small but, business-wise, important country. We were invaded by the Scandinavians, the French, Italians, Spanish and the Germans. But we are still there. And know how to trade. In fact the first multinational was the VOC.

At the same time, the Dutch speaks 3.6 (average) foreign languages. Basically, always English, German and French. But you will find easily Dutch people speaking 5 or more languages.

About cross cultural communication, which has also to do with dealing with other cultures and habits, two Dutch people became famous about this subject. Fons Trompenaars, with his books: Riding the Waves of Culture, Seven Cultures of Capitalism, Building Cross-Cultural Competence and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, and Geert Hofstede, check out his site:

No discrimination anymore

Plasters are now available in all kinds of colors...