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The 'Nutshell' business culture series


In our increasingly global business culture we all need to get better at being more mindful of our own behaviours and more tolerant of others’.  As a successful basketball player, you wouldn’t start playing soccer without first learning the rules and yet in business we frequently do just that, expecting to apply the same rules to an altogether different game.

The Nutshells Series is designed to provide a brief insight into the way other business cultures play the game, so that you can play by the same rules and have a better chance of winning.   The briefings help you to understand your clients' way of doing business and their expectations of you.

Equally importantly, the presentation also looks at what assumptions they have made about you because you are Australian, and what assumptions you have made about them and their country, based on hearsay or previous experiences.

Each foreign business culture briefing lasts approximately ninety minutes and will address different approaches to mainstream issues such as communication style, attitudes to time and planning, leadership style, business etiquette, negotiation techniques and so on.

What we say is not always what is heard and behaviours can suffer from inaccurate translation as much as words can.  Most Australians, for example, are strongly individualistic and see their ability to ‘self-manage’ as a strength. Failure is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, so long as you are prepared to pick yourself up and try again.  In France however, it is unacceptable to fail and the French will go to great lengths to plan for every eventuality so that – hopefully – nothing can go wrong.  Their tendency to micro-manage can cause resentment, frustration and a lack of productivity in a workforce that focuses more on the result than the process.

Australians preference for informality and lack of hierarchy can also cause confusion.  In The Phillipines, for example, even quite senior employees still call their boss Sir or Ma’am, and asking people to call you by your Christian name at the first meeting can seem to be a childish practice and one lacking in respect for hierarchy.

The briefings can help you to be more successful in pitching for overseas business, as preparation for working overseas or for working with clients from overseas.  Initial briefings can of course be added to with more detail and it can also be helpful to combine a business culture briefing with some expatriate coaching.


  Contact Patti McCarthy on +44 7944 636 091 or email:  patti@culturalchemistry.com.au