Adapting to others

Here’s a dialogue I recently had with a French executive from a global company in Europe, which has a predominantly...

Here’s a dialogue I recently had with a French executive from a global company in Europe, which has a predominantly Japanese culture. It points up some widespread issues in cross-cultural companies.

Executive: Things are going rather well. I’m noticing some positive developments thanks to the techniques we worked on. But in a Japanese company such as ours, time is a very important feature and things always last longer than in other cultures. So, results often tend to come a long time after the initial movement.
Ken: As you say, in a Japanese culture, time will have a different pace from a European culture. The key thing to hang onto here is to put your emphasis on where the other person is coming from and frame your message to fit them, not you. It may make you feel less comfortable initially but if it makes them feel more comfortable, you’re more likely to get the results you want.

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