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Be strong. Managers in Germany need to be assertive, hardworking, analytical and technical, with a capacity to lead.
Keep it formal. Even people who have worked together for years often use the polite Sie form of address. Using the familiar form, du, would be a serious gaffe.
Be direct. Germans appreciate clarity, honesty and respect. They are direct communicators and value a person who sticks to their word.
Appreciate process. Germans have a strong desire to do things the correct way, whether this means a technical task or a social function. Deviating from the norm is not appreciated.
Be punctual. Lateness is considered very rude; a sign that you do not value the other person’s time.
Respect their desire for Ordnung (order). Germany has a history of political volatility and a shared memory of social and economic instability. Order and rules have helped create stability and success for more then 70 years.
Understand the importance of Fußball. Germany is the defending World Cup Champion. The Mannschaft has won the title four times and much of Germany’s re-emerging patriotism is rooted in Germans’ pride in their national team.
Keep it brief. Presentations should be concise, technical and to the point. Be prepared to answer detailed questions. Do not use humor or long, elaborate metaphors.
Keep standards high. The features and performance of a product is more important than its look or image, although Germans do have a strong eye for aesthetic appeal as well.
Understand the social fabric. Society is highly structured and life is conducted according to a set of rules, right down to something as simple as the ritual of greeting a shopkeeper when you enter a shop.
Be patient. Decision-making takes a long time as many outside experts will be consulted.
Think long term. Focus is on the long term, and on achieving stability. Germans will wait for results if a project is sound enough.
See the modern Mexico. Mexico is a powerful economy, open to global trade, with a motivated, educated workforce, and presents itself as a land of opportunity.
Be sure to foster personal relationships. Put building a trusting relationship before making a fast profit.
Respect the hierarchy. Mexico is a patriarchal society. Decisions are made at the top and information might not filter down to lower ranking employees.
Save face. Saving face is important in Mexico and key to maintaining personal relationships. Do not criticize someone in public or expect 360 degree feedback from employees.
Switch to Mexican time. Mexicans have a different concept of time; flexibility and multitasking are key. Schedules are treated as guidelines and meetings may overrun.
Keep it formal. Reserve the use of first names for friends and close colleagues, and only when invited to do so. Use formal titles to recognize a person’s status. Show good manners; polite greetings are appreciated.
Show up in person. A visit is more important than a phone call or email. Make appointments in advance and confirm before and on arrival in Mexico.
Understand the collective nature of society. Mexicans are group-orientated, loyal to family and friends, with members of a group taking responsibility for one another.
Maintain a balance. Family is very important to Mexicans and creating a work-life balance is essential.
Don’t appear cold. Do not back away from physical contact, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Mexicans are more tactile than many other cultures and to back away could be considered an insult.
Swedes are motivated by the urge to agree on things. Heated discussions are rare, and the best way to convince of your idea is to present your proposal in a well-planned, logical way.
The Swedish can come across as reserved and formal; it takes time to get to know someone.
Swedes value punctuality. Arrive on time for meetings. Plan and rehearse your presentations well so you don’t overrun on time.
Swedes prefer to discuss the practical elements and outcomes of an idea rather than the concept itself. Make sure you are able to provide back-up data to satisfy this orientation for details.
Scandinavian countries are competitive with one another. You will win approval of your Swedish counterparts if you understand cultural differences between Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Silence is something Swedes are comfortable with in communication, so don’t be put off by long pauses in conversation.
Women and men are treated as equals in Sweden so expect everyone to be involved in the decision-making processes.
Good leaders are those who can bring out the best in a team; coaches rather than referees or controllers.
The Swedish may seem to take a long time to make decisions; this is because of their consensual approach.
Avoid open disagreement and conflict as much as possible.
🇰🇷 South Korea
Understand kibun. A person’s sense of well-being and dignity, or face, is a matter of maintaining harmony. Never damage someone’s kibun.
Develop a sense of nunchi. Nunchi is the emotional intelligence to assess a situation quickly and react in a manner that preserves everybody’s kibun.
Be patient. Koreans are happy to wait a long time to get what they want.
Learn about Confucianism. Even the non-religious adhere to principles such as filial piety, loyalty to ruler and spouse, respect of the aged and trust amongst friends.
Understand the hierarchy. Both society and the workplace have a strong hierarchy and age and status are important. Structures are patriarchal. The chaebols – vast, family-owned conglomerates – have their own structure, with dozens of subsidiaries and interests and leaders so famous they are celebrities.
Be formal. Even simple things like the exchange of business cards follow strict rituals.
Build relationships. Establishing relationships is essential. Get third party introductions; Koreans like to deal with someone they feel has the trust of a valued contact.
Understand the thought process. Many Koreans have studied in the west so have the advantage of understanding western business practice. In negotiations, they will use typical Korean tactics, though.
Use humor. Koreans have a great sense of humor and will use it regularly. Be careful, though, not to offend and wait until you know someone before you start cracking jokes.
Expect change. Contracts are regarded as a starting point to a deal rather than the final stage.
To learn more about the other 28 cultures represented at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, go back to the main article on this topic.