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Personal contact with your counterpart is crucial – business is built on trusting relationships.
Success initially in Poland almost always requires a local representative or third party Polish advisor.
Polish workers have been described as enthusiastic, curious, proud and individualistic. They can, however, start a task with intensity, but then have difficulty sustaining performance. Monitoring performance is a key element of managing Polish workers.
Traditionally, a Polish business leader is strong-minded and expects to be listened to. For foreign bosses, establish your professional credibility and move quickly into building rapport with team members and direct reports.
As one of the leading central European ‘tiger economies’, Poland has developed an energetic work ethic. It is important, therefore, to acknowledge this progress.
Evaluating your boss’s performance is not a tradition in Poland so he/she may have difficulty in dealing with personal feedback.
Admiring things that are Polish are very good ice-breakers in conversation, as well as efforts to speak Polish.
Proper dress is a must when working in Poland which means suit and tie for men and appropriate business attire for women (this might be business sector specific).
Build in extra time to your planning to allow for delays in working through levels of bureaucracy.
Communication can appear very emotional at times. Poles are comfortable in expressing their feelings in a direct manner. However, self-control when under pressure in business is also respected.
Respect community values such as Jom (dignity or self-respect) and Ham-sa-bop (self-knowledge) and you will be respected by colleagues and subordinates.
Never underestimate the importance of greetings; not just shaking hands, but lengthy discourse about the wellbeing of an individual and their family.
Understand that decisions are made by consensus but ultimately come from the top. Make sure you are negotiating with the right people.
Offer ideas and suggestions but do not force them on Senegalese colleagues. Take a more consultative approach so that people do not lose face.
Avoid conflict and do what the locals do; use communication or ‘dialogue’ if hostility needs to be diffused.
Understand that the Senegalese concept of time may be different to your own. Time is non-linear, and people will multitask. It is flexible, too, with many outside influences affecting each day.
Senegalese like other sub-Saharan Africans, are fatalistic. They are more inclined to adapt to their environment than to try to change it.
The Senegalese have a love of storytelling and meetings and presentations will involve long, detailed anecdotes, metaphors and flowery descriptions of events. Do not try to rush meetings; it will be seen as rude.
Work with your employees. People take time off for all kinds of reasons, not least funerals or looking after sick elders. It is expected that family takes priority, so be flexible if you can.
Dress smartly at all times and behave with dignity. Senegalese have a strong sense of face.
Allow plenty of time to get to know your business counterparts in Colombia. Building a relationship is essential before any business can take place. Emotions come into business decisions.
If you intend to have long-term relationships with Colombians, fluent Spanish is essential. When starting out in the country, it is important to have all literature translated into Spanish.
Business entertaining as an important part of corporate life so do accept invitations and do return hospitality as socializing is an important part of getting to know your counterparts. Business is not usually done over a meal but your counterpart will be observing you constantly.
Colombians have a very relaxed attitude to time and business dealings must be paced appropriately.
Age and seniority are respected so show deference to the most senior person in a meeting, as they will to you.
Colombians love words and literature and will make presentations flowery and romantic. But do not be fooled; they also have a sharp eye for business and will take into account facts and figures as well as emotion.
Do not press your counterparts to make quick decisions and do not try to rush through a meeting; Colombians place great value on politeness and feel pushiness is rude.
Negotiations are often long and drawn out and cannot be rushed. Colombians are not natural hagglers so keep offers realistic to avoid offending.
Saving face is important so do not do or say anything that will cause another to lose face. This comes into speech, too; Colombians are indirect communicators and will avoid a direct answer if it is likely to cause upset.
Great emphasis is placed on appearance so always looked well groomed and pay attention to manners. Even table manners are important and will reflect badly on you if you do not observe them.
Always save face. Taking care not to criticize somebody in front of other people is absolutely fundamental to doing business in Japan.
Offer reassurance. The Japanese appreciate continuity, predictability and stability.
Manage conflict carefully. Adopt a conciliatory and accommodating manner if you need to resolve a dispute.
Understand the strict hierarchy. In Japan, everybody has a place in the hierarchy regardless of whether this is in the workplace or in the family.
Value status. Status is important and your business card should show your job title clearly – have it translated into Japanese, as well.
Learn about body language. Japanese people find it difficult to say ‘no’ so learn to read indirect signals that your counterpart may be trying to give you a negative answer.
Build trust. The Japanese like to do business with people they know so work on business relationships, which includes extensive entertaining.
Work through a third party. A mutual contact is the best way to make an introduction as the Japanese like to place newcomers in perspective.
Be punctual. Time is very valuable to the Japanese and being late is a sign of rudeness.
Strive for harmony. Decisions are made by consensus and can take a long time; achieving harmony within the group is a key value.
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.