As this goes to press [well, after we press the publish button] Mark Francis, Uspire’s very own Phileas Fog, is half way around his epic multi-national business tour, all in the name of advising on cross-cultural competence. As our world is more connected than ever before, communicating, and negotiating, with someone from a different culture is an increasingly critical business skill.
And the intrepid Mark is on a journey of discovery to share his thoughts and observations about what it takes to sell your products and services across borders and be a truly global business.
Mark kicks off his whistle stop world-tour with a visit to France, and a fascinating insight to the difference between the bullish negotiating tactics of the US, and maybe the British, and that of the more deliberate and doubting behaviour of the French. Mark points out that even though French doubt may be considered sceptical or dismissive, it is in fact merely a way of fully understanding the facts and gather as much information as they feel is needed to progress a debate.
Mark’s next stop sees him navigating the natural beauty of Switzerland, whilst pondering the complexities of doing business in a country with 3 different official languages and a process-driven culture that demands detailed parochial knowledge. Not least of which is understanding the differing laws that apply to each of the 26 Swiss cantons and the subsequent negotiating differences and protocols.
Beyond Switzerland Mark takes a quick autobahn drive through Germany, using his experience of the Grunne Welle, or “the green wave” to describe some defining features of German business culture – systematic, consistent and efficient.
Making his way over the lowlands, Mark’s next stop is Amsterdam. Formality is the name of the game in the Netherlands and Mark dons his shirt and tie for a new client meeting. Initial formality is the norm when doing business here but this, alongside a predeliction for direct language, helps foster close, trusting relationships on which Dutch business thrives.
Back across continental Europe and Mark finds himself reflecting on the “dance” of Italian business discussion; letting your buyer take the lead and then attempting to match their energy and passions when it’s your turn to lead. Understanding the importance of style, as well as substance, is vital for business success in Italy.
Heading north and Mark lands in Sweden. Structured. Consistent. Professional. These are just some words used by Mark to describe Swedish business culture. A more hierarchical system than Britain and a little emotionally surpressed, but opportunities abound if their underlying passion can be unlocked.
Marks final stop on his European tour finds him in Spain. As might be expected in Spain, the theatre of the deal can be just as important as the result. Body language plays a big role in business dealings and it is important to be aware of the signals you give and how they are being interpreted, so be sure to personalise each interaction to achieve business success in Spain.
Mark is continuing his travels over the next month and will be touring the Far East including Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
Mark’s tour is not only proving a great source of insight to his Linkedin viewers, it is also a working tour designed to support a new Cultural Programme developed with Kanthi Ford. Mark and Kanthi have co-created a series of workshops that will aid commercial leaders involved in international leadership roles; helping them develop their sales and negotiating skills across international cultures. The workshops will introduce the STEM approach to cross-border business [Stereotyping, Timing, Energy, Messaging], working through this to extract the essential competencies needed to work effectively across borders.
Mark and Kanthi have huge international business experience, having worked in more than 30 different countries worldwide. They are expert in understanding and interpreting local business culture and, if required, can despoke their Cultural Programme to individual company needs.
To enquire about the Uspire Cultural Programme please email firstname.lastname@example.org