post # 78 — May 16, 2006 — a Careers, Client Relations, Managing post
Since I work around the world, I am frequently asked if the business issues I discover tend to differ from country to country or region to region.
The answer is that while the business issues tend to be very similar, the style with which you respond to them must chnage a great deal.
It is always true that to have a successful company, you must energize, excite and enthuse your people. However, it turns out that the way that you excite a Brit is not the same way you enthuse an American. (They even show their enthusiasm in different ways.) In fact, it can vary regionally: the best way to get through to a New Yorker doesn’t always work best in the rest of the US.
The same lesson applies in client relations. When I sent my article Marketing is a Conversation to a prominent UK lawyer, she observed that aggressive attempts to get to know the clients (at least in the fashion I described) would be considered very counter-cultural in the UK and Europe. The intentions and the motivations might be the same, but you would need to have a very sensitive ear to pick up what was being received well.
None of this says one cannot work well in foreign countries. It does say that a key to success is the need to pick up social clues quickly and integrate them into your style (a form of emotional intelligence). But then, that’s true domestically anyway!