SWE Webinar On Cross-Cultural Confidence - Featuring Allyson Stewart-Allen
This post is Allyson Stewart-Allen's lecture to the Society of Women Engineers webinar on the subject of cross cultural confidence. Video and transcript of the presentation from 12 February 2015 are provided. Please contact the International Marketing Partners team for more information.
Moderator: Good afternoon and welcome to the SWE Online Forum, Cross-Cultural Confidence, Key Learnings on How to Work with and Appreciate Other Cultures in the Workplace.
Over the next two days, you will hear a variety of speakers discuss how to be a global citizen and worker in this day of global business space. Global Foundries is the world's first full-service semiconductor foundry with a full global footprint.
Launched in March, 2009, the company has quickly achieved scales as the second largest foundry in the world. With some 13,000 employees and more than 160 customers, Global Foundries has quickly differentiated itself by providing a unique combination of advanced technology and manufacturing to develop and produce the semiconductors that are changing the ways we live, work and play.
With operations in Singapore, Germany and the United States, Global Foundries is the only foundry that offers the flexibility and security of manufacturing centers spanning three continents. At Global Foundries, we not only know the importance of cultural diversity, we live it.
We work collaboratively within our global virtual team spanning all time zones where international assignments are the norm. We innovate every day in cross-cultural environments. We understand the challenges and benefits of leveraging diverse teams with different backgrounds, styles and behaviors. We see the global scale of our competition and receive customer's feedback that they want a supplier with a global footprint.
It is now our pleasure to introduce the keynote speaker for today, Allyson Stewart-Allen. She will present her talk, Cross-Cultural Confidence. Allyson Stewart-Allen is a world authority on international marketing, U.S. business and intercultural working, advising European and U.S. organizations growing their presence on either side of the Atlantic.
A Californian based in Europe for over 20 years, Allyson applies her fluency in French and German and several years' consulting experience to the company she founded, International Marketing Partners. She is also a co-author of bestselling book, "Working With Americans", the first ever business manual exclusively about the U.S. business culture, which helps professionals improve their relationships with and profit from American business partners, bosses and colleagues.
In addition to Allyson's recent four-year slot on Sky News Business Report program as the Muse of Marketing, she appears as a regular and frequent marketing expert on CNN's World Business and Business International programs, as well as being listed in "Who's Who in the World", "Who's Who in America", "Who's Who Among Women". Allyson has a regular column in Market Leader magazine and is an expert interviewed frequently in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal Europe. Allyson has been based in London since 1988 and is a British and U.S. citizen, originally from Los Angeles, California.
Allyson, thank you so much for joining us today and a great thank you to Global Foundries for sponsoring today's program. Allyson, when you're ready, the floor is all yours.
Allyson: Fantastic. Thank you very much and thanks to all of you for dialing in from various parts of the world. I notice we have a spread of people listening and joining from the U.S. and Dusseldorf and me in London. So it's fantastic to have this variety of people listening and joining.
So today's webinar, for my session anyway, is on Cross-Cultural Confidence. There's three key items on today's agenda. The first thing I'll talk a little bit about is describing business cultures. I'll follow that with the components of a global mindset. Because in order to be a cross-culturally confident, you really need to be open to different influences, and I'll talk through a model that suggests what those nine influences or capabilities might be, and what you might be able to do to build your global mindset further. And then finally, hopefully, questions from you on the back of some of the comments that you hear over the course of the next few minutes.
So you heard that introduction already, so I won't belabor the point, other than to say that I've had the good fortune to live in three countries now in the course of my life. Originally from Los Angeles, as you heard, I lived for four years in Munich, Germany when I was quite young as a child, and now I've been here in the U.K. for 27 years as of tomorrow. Oddly enough, I'm celebrating that anniversary. So it means I've been lucky to get some perspectives on how different cultures do business and their mindsets for how to negotiate and how to build relationships.
So I think I'll spend a couple of minutes just first teeing up this whole topic because we sort of take for granted that it's important to have cross-cultural capability and confidence, but there's some really good business reasons, both qualitative and quantitative to support why this is worth doing, and also why this webinar is in your program today and this year, mostly because there are some real tangible benefits you can derive by being even more capable in an international setting.
So my professor when I was doing my MBA was Peter Drucker. Many of you may know who he was. He passed away probably now about 10 years ago, but he was way ahead of his time. He has written several books on leadership, on management, and he's credited with saying these two things, one, that "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". And I have to say, being in the international business arena for 30 years now, I can say I see this happen all the time where a company has the best of intentions in doing business in another part of the world, and is undermined by that culture that just won't let that strategy get executed or happen well.
And then the other piece is about the assumptions that we make when we do business in different parts of the world, and his expression, "The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him", for me, is extremely apt. We make assumptions that what works here at home works everywhere, and I will show you some examples in a few minutes time where that assumption will undermine that cross-cultural confidence, and even more importantly and more costly, undermine the reputation that those companies have spent millions to build. So for me, Peter Drucker and his wisdom goes a long way towards supporting our point of view about why it's so important to have that capability.
So another reason that you may find this content worthy is there's some fantastic research that comes from a group called the Center for Creative Leadership, also known as CCL. They're based in Colorado, they're based in Brussels, and they also have offices in Asia and around the world.
And they are an interesting organization that not only does leadership development work, but it also publishes research. And its research published about two years ago now around boundary spanning suggests that the people that are going to win in the future in an international context are those people that can navigate in every direction.
So not only do you need to be capable in leading other people vertically, but also leading other people horizontally, leading and engaging stakeholders, being fluent in working across generations and demographic groups, and finally but not least, being capable in working across geographies.
That research summary is available interestingly online for free. It's a PDF, and you may enjoy having a look at that and looking at the views of the chief executives and other global leaders who were interviewed for that piece of research that supports these different capabilities. But certainly, for me, and for today in this particular webinar topic, geographic is the one that I focused in on because of its importance and its cost to those that get it wrong.
So there's some quantitative reasons as well. We want to be very capable and confident in working in an international context. These are but a few on the slide, as you can see, and I don't need to read them out, but you'll know from your own experience that there are some tangible costs for those companies that get it right and those that don't.
And the ones that get it right are the ones that get the loyalty, which ends up maximizing lifetime value, which sounds a bit cliché, but in actual fact, it does mean that because you understand those customers and their context and their cultural context, it means that you're much more capable in being able to serve their needs, give them service in the way that they want to be served, and being able to develop products and services that are specific to them in that market.
Similarly, there are some qualitative factors that help us and hopefully incentivize us to be capable in international setting. And again, you can see that a lot of these qualitative factors, while maybe not easily measurable, nonetheless are measurable.
I can tell you a brief story about the JV partnership success bullet point on this slide, where I happen to be with a client of mine, that was in the electric motor business in the state and they attended a trade show. They were very keen on building their business in Japan. They had a joint venture partner in Japan for that very purpose to help prepare the groundwork and help this American company understand how business is done in Japan.
And at one of the key strategic meetings between the American leadership team and the JV partner's team in Tokyo, which by the way, for those of you that know about business building in Japan, it takes a very long time to build business relationships because of the dents and the protocols that you need to follow in order to build that intimacy and get to know people.
So this took about a year and a half to get just to this point. When the chief executive of the American company put the business card of his Japanese colleagues between his teeth after the meal, and as he was speaking and cleaning his teeth with the edge of the business card, you can imagine that this was not exactly polite or flattering for his Japanese colleague, and to make a long story short, that joint venture unraveled very quickly thereafter as a direct result of the lack of respect perceived to be shown to that Japanese joint venture colleague.
So even the most minute, what might seem like good manners approach can have profound implications if you don't understand the importance and significance in that part of the world of the business card and how it represents the people who present those.
So one of the people who is held up is the poster child for what not to do in international business and corporate diplomacy is this gentleman, Tony Hayward. He is now the former CEO of British Petroleum, but trading as BP. And many of you listening may recall a couple of years ago on the back of the Macondo well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The company had to clean up a spill, which put several shrimpers and other related industries more or less out of business for a very long time because of that spill. The wildlife damage, the damage to coastal waters, to nature reserves is just vast and probably not even measurable at this point.
And unfortunately for Tony Hayward, he was interviewed on an American TV news program and said during that interview that while he had deep concern for the damage that BP caused in the region, he wanted his life back. Now, that may seem like a throwaway remark and not terribly significant, but it assumes, or he assumed anyway, that he had the empathy and sympathy of viewers, which he didn't have, but also it's one of those remarks that you really shouldn't be saying if you are the chief executive handling a crisis.
If anything, you would want to demonstrate that you understand Americans or you understand that local place, and that you're doing everything you can to restore that local place to what it was before you were ever on the scene as a company.
So his messaging demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the culture and of the place, and therefore on the back of that, he ended up being ousted mostly because of the share price fall that the company experienced because in part of the spill, but also in part because the chief executive who is the ambassador, more or less of the company, clearly doesn't understand international business. So that cost him his job. It cost the company billions of dollars, Euros, pounds, yen, whatever currency you're operating in on this call, and the company is still recovering from that fiasco.
So it's really important that leaders, whether they run global corporations like BP, or they are leaders like you who maybe running medium-sized or smaller businesses, nonetheless, understanding context is a critical skill.
So what do we really mean by business culture? So, this brief diagram gives you an idea and it's multilayered, which is why it's complicated, but nonetheless, you can unpack culture into these various elements. So not only is there your own personal culture which are your values, but also there's the values of the collective in the geography, in a region, in an ethnic group, in a generation, by gender.
So really what we're talking about when we talk about the word "culture" or "business culture" are the values in how we do business, and those as you can see, are multilayered. They're often driven, as you will know...you are accomplished women engineers. You can certainly see that in the engineering profession, probably across the world, there is a certain set of values that you will hold dear. And women who are in engineering probably also have their own micro-climate or subculture that you believe is the right way to do business, which unifies you.
So the thing that's very interesting about observing business cultures is the dynamic behind them, looking at all of these elements that actually make up the business culture of a particular place.
Now, while at one level you can look at it through this lens and see that there are cultures that are learned and behaviors, therefore, that are learned, there's also some that are common to everyone, like empathy. So the very bottom turquoise layer of this triangle, common to human kind, we all share. We all have values that think that it's a good thing to help someone in a bad situation. But then there are those business behaviors that are specific to a particular country that aren't necessarily common to all countries.
So what are some of those business behaviors that you can use to describe different parts of the world? So I'm just going to see if I can just enlarge this slide because I'm looking at it on the screen and it's quite small. Let me just actually open my version of the slide. Give me one moment.
Right. So the first three clustered behaviors, if you like, or values for describing a business culture are about how we relate to each other, how we interact. So the reason for describing these in the form of continua and these have, let's see, 5, possible... 10 positions that you can land on with this model. This is a model from a company called TMA, Transnational Management Associates. They're an international consulting firm, and they've developed this model to describe business cultures.
And the reason that they've represented these 9 dimensions in 3 clusters with 10 possible points along the continua is because we're a blend of all of them. No one is ever extremely highly task-oriented at the cost of zero relationship, but it's all relative and that's what this slide is meant to try to describe.
So let me just take a few minutes and briefly talk you through each of these three clusters - relating, regulating, and reasoning. So relating, as I said, is about how you interact with other people, and TMA has six descriptors. You have task on one end, relationship on the other and that's probably pretty clear. Some people are more task-oriented and others are more relationship-oriented, meaning that if you are relationship-oriented, you are keen to build rapport, more keen generally to understand the other person before you get down to achieving the goals or getting the task done, doing the deal.
On the other hand, all fair ahead is the task-oriented person who prefers to get the job done first in terms of preference, it doesn't mean they always operate that way, but how they prefer to work is to get the job done or do the deal or get through the agenda, and then spend the time getting to know the other people around the table or in this negotiating setting.
Explicit and Implicit is a description about how people like to communicate. So in some business cultures, their preference is to be very clear and say everything that is needed to be said and not leave it to the listener to infer the meaning. The message is pretty much what you say or hear is what you get. And then the Implicit cultures are those where they prefer to speak around the topic rather than directly add it. So they imply through their words or the written or otherwise, what the meaning is and leave it to you, the listener or reader, to figure out what is meant by that.
So Implicit, you can think about maybe cultures, business cultures where there are things that are unsaid, which have meaning in and of themselves, and I'll talk about that in just a couple of minutes when I focus on a couple of specific business cultures.
So then under relating, another dimension is individual versus group. And really what this is describing in TMA's model is those business cultures that focus on the individual's achievement. So if you're working on a team, you may have business cultures where each individual takes credit for their contribution, whereas those business cultures that are more group-oriented don't want to highlight any one team member's contribution. The goal really is to celebrate the group's achievement as a collective, rather than highlight or focus on any one particular member of the group's skills or achievements.
So the thing about this relating cluster, but actually all three and all nine dimensions, is that all of them are valid. All of them are realistic. All of them are alive and well in different parts of the world. And the thing that's interesting about talking about business cultures and thinking about it is that there's no clear right or wrong. All positions are right and wrong depending on the setting, depending on the context, depending on the country in which you're doing business.
So it's very important to know before you go to a particular part of the world what the preferred general profile is of that country, and that way, you can probably assume that the people that you'll be working with more or less match that general profile of preferences in that country.
Stereotyping, unlike generalization, means that you would say that everybody from that country is always this particular way. What I'm talking about is generally speaking, it's good to know how a country prefers to do business.
So let me briefly talk you through regulating, the next cluster. And what we mean by regulating is the how we manage, how we like to get things done. So the first dimension is about a comment on taking risks. And in some business cultures, taking risks is celebrated and encouraged, in other business cultures, avoiding risk is celebrated and encouraged.
And again, depending on your particular proposition or what it is you're negotiating or wanting to achieve with your colleagues in different parts of the world, the more you understand that dimension, the more you can position your idea as either a risky, new, fantastic idea for those people or cultures that like risk, and in others you can present it as an incremental, gentle step, and that would probably do you well in the risk-avoiding cultures.
The next one is about the use of time - tight versus loose. So again, in some parts of the world, time is tightly controlled. You might want to think of countries like Germany, Northern Europe, the United States, where we use time as a metric to gauge progress and success.
In other parts of the world like the Middle East, many parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, time is an ambient force that's in the background. It's nice, it's there, but it isn't really necessarily paid attention to. In those parts of the world, relationship building, interestingly, correlate highly with this tight-loose dimension. And so you can't really measure against time the degree to which we now have a relationship or intimacy or trust. So those are the business cultures interestingly that value getting to know you, and therefore you can't measure that against the clock.
And then finally in this cluster we've got shared and concentrated, in terms of decision-making. So in those business cultures that are highly shared decision-making cultures, those are the ones where they bring in as many people as possible to making the decision. It's probably a less hierarchical business culture. They include the people around the table, the people on the conference call, and you could see it maybe as a highly democratic approach to decision-making.
The business cultures on the right-hand side, more concentrated or those that are more hierarchical, where the decision making is, and the power, is concentrated in the hands of fewer people. So in shared, you might think about Denmark, perhaps the U.S. to some extent, and Scandinavia generally. Those that are more concentrated include Southern Europe, Latin America to some extent, and parts of the Middle East where you have family businesses and the power is concentrated in the family members as opposed to the wider organization.
And finally, reasoning. So this is really about how we think. This is a commentary on logic and the way of describing how those business cultures make decisions and come to conclusions. So the linear, circular dimension is describing how to present ideas. So those business cultures that prefer the linear approach are those that are sequential in the way that they build their evidence.
So we draw conclusions because we've seen points A thru E, and now we know that therefore we ought to go with this decision to spend X-thousand. Those that are circular are those that explore a topic in a less sequential way. They will talk around the topic. They will maybe go off-tangent, but eventually they get to the conclusion, but they don't necessarily get there in a straight line.
The next dimension is about facts and thinking. So facts is about evidence, and thinking is about concepts or theories, empirical ways of thinking. So those business cultures that prefer facts will draw conclusions based on pure evidence. Those that value the thinking or the theoretical maybe are those that will draw a conclusion because the theory makes sense.
And finally, the last dimension - simple-complex is a comment on context. So some business cultures prefer lower context. They don't want to necessarily know the entire background or the story or the interrelationships or the ecosystem and all of its members and how those members interact. They prefer to know the foreground, the main story that we see immediately in front of us.
Other business cultures prefer the more complex and the more contextual information to inform the foreground. So those are the business cultures that prefer to know the back story, the interrelationships and the ecosystem members and how that interplay works.
So let's now focus on a couple of specific business cultures just to highlight what you may find surprising. This is the profile from TMA's database of the United States. So as you may be able to see, it's more task-oriented, relatively speaking. On the scale of 1 to 10, it's a 2. Explicit communication, it's a 3. The U.S. is more individual-oriented at 2. And you can see for yourselves the blue dots that give you an idea of how Americans prefer to do business based on the thousands of business people at middle and senior levels who have responded to TMA's database in order to generate this profile.
Interestingly, compared to the U.K., which is another English-speaking market, obviously, here's the profile of the British in terms of how they prefer to do business. And as you can see, there is a huge discrepancy between the two business cultures, which partly explains some of the differences that arise when you're trying to negotiate certainly between those two countries.
And finally, the Netherlands, and the business culture profile of the Netherlands again based on TMA's database. And as you can see, in all three, the preferences are slightly different. So all are valid, all are fair, all are legitimate. And therefore from your point of view, understanding these differences when you are trying to build a relationship or negotiate or present an idea will be critical that you understand and knew these so that you are at your most effective and therefore at your most confident.
So shifting gears now to focus on global mindsets because part of understanding global mindsets is understanding specific business cultures. What you're looking at now is a very interesting model that was developed at Thunderbird in Arizona. And the Thunderbird School of Business, one of the academics there, decided to do a lot of research in conjunction with many other academics around the world, and they had a research project that lasted many years called The GLOBE Research. And GLOBE is an acronym for looking at different business cultures and the implications on success, and understanding those in advance.
What you're seeing here is the result of that research that basically is helping business leaders understand what they can do to be even more capable in an international context. So, you can see that there's three key headings. There is the branch called intellectual capital in yellow, the psychological capital in the middle in blue, the social capital in red on the right.
And the suggestion Thunderbird makes is that if you focus on the nine components under those three key branches, you should have a global mindset, which basically means you're agile, you're capable of performing well and confidently in a number of circumstances and situations. And I think this model is really interesting because if you look at the cognitive, the intellectual capital, which really comes from your appetite to know about the rest of the world, your interest may be in traveling to other parts of the world, that will fuel the intellectual side of your balance sheet, if you like.
The middle branch, the psychological capital, part of it is maybe born of personality, your experience in diverse circumstances, how adventurous you might be, how confident you might be, which again is a predictor of your resilience in stressful situations.
And finally, the red branch, social capital. This, in a way, is your ability to empathize with people that are unlike you. So it's about that empathy. It's about your ability to adjust how you come across to people in different parts of the world, and adjust your style, and how you build relationships and the rapport in those parts of the world.
And then the final one, diplomacy, is how you express yourself in ways that are sympathetic with that business culture. And the suggestion is by doing these nine things well or either having these capabilities or building these capabilities, you should have a global mindset that therefore means you'll perform very well in different parts of the world.
So let me give you now a few examples of where global mindsets in corporates have been exhibited or not. I won't have the time, unfortunately, to talk you through all of these examples, much as I would love to. We only have an hour for this webinar unfortunately. So I'll pick a few brief examples from this slide and then the next slide also.
So this slide, one of the things about global mindsets that's interesting is the assumptions that we make about how similar or not the rest of the world is to us, which is absolutely human nature. We are hardwired to very quickly assess whether the person or the country we're meeting is a friend or an enemy, so that we can decide that this is a hospitable environment and we will thrive and survive, or it's an inhospitable environment, which we quickly flee. And all of us have that wiring, and all of us therefore want to assume familiarity rather than difference.
But a couple of examples of companies here. The bottom right-hand logo is that of a fast food restaurant chain here in the U.K. called Pret A Manger. They are now in the United States in various big cities. And when they first launched in the U.S., they launched in New York City.
And one of the faux pas and assumptions they made culturally was that Americans like the same foods in the same way that their British counterparts do. And as a British company, Pret A Manger assumed that this would be a no-brainer, we all speak English in America just like in the U.K., and therefore we should just take our template and that will work in the States.
Well, what undermined them was putting butter on the bagels in their stores. Now, that might seem trivial to many of you listening, thinking what's wrong with butter on the bagels. In the U.K., there isn't anything wrong with that approach. However, Americans do not put butter on their bagels as well as cream cheese, as well as salmon. So you would have your bagel with these ingredients, but you wouldn't have butter if you had the cream cheese and the salmon.
Now, because that's how Pret A Manger did their bagels in Britain, their assumption, even though they had research that tell them otherwise, was that it's exactly the same in the States. And you may think that's a trivial example, but actually it's pretty indicative of the assumptions that the store managers and/or the leaders in that business made about the similarities of the rest of the world to their core business.
A good example, however, of a global mindset is Volkswagen, and you'll see that logo on the slide. What Volkswagen did for the U.S. market only, is on the back of their research, on the back of wanting to make a lot of money from the U.S. market and get it right, they actually spent millions of dollars in their plants, manufacturing plants in the U.S. to re-engineer and retool the assembly line in order to move the stick shifts or the manual gearshifts back by a few inches to accommodate the cup holder in the American model of their cars.
Now, you may not think that's significant, but for Americans and coffee cups, we have them in our cars as a regular feature. And the fact that the cup holder was a very small European cup holder originally in the Volkswagen cars sold in the U.S., Volkswagen decided it was worth their while to get it right for the U.S. market, and hence that kind of adjustment.
And finally on this slide, I will talk about Best Buy, who many of you from the U.S. will know is a big electrical retailer. They, for their Chinese stores, decided to use the same merchandizing strategy as was so successful for them in the past in America. And basically they had the microwaves in one part of the store, and the ovens in another, and the telephones in another, etc. And so they clustered the store layout by the type of product.
However, in China, shoppers expect to see the products clustered by brand, by manufacturer. So there should be the Siemens corner, or the Apple corner, or the Fujitsu, or Fuji, by make. So, when the customers went into the Chinese stores of Best Buy, they were profoundly confused because they didn't see all of the makers clustered in one part of the store, and this led to Best Buy having big problems in China, ultimately selling up their stores and getting out of the Chinese market.
So another couple of brief examples on this page. So, Marlboro cigarettes, you see both a soft pack and a hard pack picture here. The reason that they sell both, especially in Eastern Europe and Turkey and Azerbaijan and other parts of the world is because in those countries and in those cultures, what the hard pack communicates is status. What it tells other people is that you must be wealthy, you will have your own car, automotive transportation, maybe you'd come in to your office or work by bicycle or motorcycle or your own car because the box that you put out on the table to show to everyone is in pristine condition.
Those that use a soft pack clearly are those people that are on public transportation and don't own their own car, and therefore are less well off, and therefore need to use the soft pack because the box would get damaged in those situations. So if you understand that, then you will accommodate those cultures where status is derived through means such as those.
Another example on this slide is the IKEA in China, and that's the picture in the top right-hand corner. What IKEA learned, much to their amusement and surprise, but ultimate cost, in China was that the cafeteria in the IKEA stores in China became the honey pot for older shoppers, the older generation in China who like to socialize and meet up with their friends in a warm place.
So what ultimately started to happen was that the IKEA cafeterias or canteens ended up being totally populated by those in their '70s and '80s who brought their own meals and would just park themselves in the IKEA cafeteria for hours on end. They wouldn't go and shop in the IKEA store or spend money in the store. They would just show up and use the warm cafeteria as a meeting place.
And ultimately this ended up being a big problem for IKEA who didn't appreciate that this would be a big attraction for that demographic, and had to redesign the cafeteria so that it was less friendly for people that wanted to dwell for hours on end in it.
So before we take a few questions, I thought I would just show you this slide just to highlight the global mindsets example of we may think we're saying the same thing, but at least in British English and American English, we really, really do not understand each other. So this is one way of highlighting the fact that you may think you're being well understood, but actually you really aren't.
And as you can read in the left-hand column, there are some things that your British colleagues or associates or bosses or employees may say to you, if you're an American and you may assume that "I'll bear it in mind" means that you're going to do that and action that idea, whereas actually what it means to the British is it's being polite and telling you, "I don't like the idea, but I won't directly tell you I don't like the idea."
Similarly, some of the other phrases here like, "I almost agree," which means "I really don't agree," and Americans will assume that means that you almost agree because our version of English is what you hear or say is what you get.
So to wrap up, how can you sustain your cultural confidence? The best advice I was ever given was to spend as much time in another part of the world as you possibly can, and use the power of observation to inform your views. Spend as much time as you can doing local things, eating local food, going to local movies. If you can and if you understand the language, going to comedy clubs which, believe it or not, is really insightful because that tells you what that culture thinks is funny, and therefore gives you an insight into their values.
So the other thing to bear in mind is difference is difference. So there's no right or wrong to working across cultures and people doing things a different way to you. All positions on the map are correct. They're all relative. So keeping that mindset in front of you at all times is a good one. You cannot really pass judgment in terms of how other people do things.
The other piece of advice I'd give is to know your own starting point. Know your own biases because those color your assumptions and they color your conclusions. And at least if you're checking yourself and you know what those are, you're in a better position to be able to maybe see that business culture more objectively, and remind yourself of those biases that you're maybe consciously or subconsciously applying.
And then finally, really obviously, it's just to think about how you might adapt in that culture, how you might speak that language more indirectly or more directly, or be more relationship-oriented if that's the preference in that part of the world, or be more circular in the way that you present ideas, instead of maybe your real business culture that you come from being more linear.
So if you want to know more, there are a number of great books out there. The "Seven Cultures of Capitalism" written by Charles Hampden-Turner, I would highly recommend. "When Cultures Collide" is a fantastic book by Richard Lewis. There's "The Culture Code" that came out about a year and a half ago that unpacks how to think about the impact of business cultures.
There's also a number of very good online resources. Certainly we have a couple of challenges you can take on our website. So feel free to answer those true/false questions, and see how well you do in understanding not only the Americans, but a number of different parts of the world. And of course, you can always drop me an email on the back of today if you have any questions that we may not have time to address.
So at this point, there's about 10 minutes left or so. I'd be delighted to take questions. I know there's one that's been put to me. This question says, "You shared examples of the U.S.A., the U.K. and the Netherlands. Is there an example you can share that spans the right side of the spectrum, almost the opposite to the U.S.A.?"
So, yes, I can give examples of countries that operate more in the relationship space, for example. So Japan is an obvious one, or China where what matters first is building that intimacy, building the rapport, building the levels of trust before you ever get down to talking business.
Another country maybe that's more on the right-hand side in terms of how you present ideas or how logic works may be France, which is a more circular approach to exploring ideas. They will explore and discuss around a topic and a number of angles around the topic, rather than do an examination of the idea or the proposal in a specific linear sequence. So I hope that gives you a flavor of a couple of the things that distinguish certainly the U.S. from other countries. Any other questions you can put to me?
Moderator: Thank you, Allyson. I just want to give everyone a reminder. If you would like to ask a question, please click on the Q&A tab and then select "Ask me a question." Allyson, I do have a few more questions for you. Our first question today is, "Are there some nationalities that are more adept at international business than others?"
Allyson: That's a very good question. I guess there are some, in my mind, there are, and those are a function of the histories of those countries. So if I think about the Netherlands, for example, a very small place geographically, but at one point, had colonies around the world. And I think that history informs their thinking today, their values today. I think the Dutch understand the East Indies, they understand Malaysia, they understand Singapore, they understand Indonesia because of their colonial past.
And I think the countries that have had a colonial past, Spain is another good example, maybe or those that are a bit more accommodating, a bit more empathetic because they know from those histories, the U.K. is another one, they know from those histories that the world is unlike them. And also their mere survival depended on understanding those parts of the world because they are small nations, and if they were going to succeed and thrive, they had to trade with others.
And I think, I guess I would generalize by saying that the countries that had a colonial past where they had immigrants from those countries on a regular basis, and they had to manage those colonies, and had governors in those countries, maybe those that are more adept today than those maybe that don't have that colonial past.
Moderator: And would you say that it's possible to learn resilience or are you born with this kind of being able to connect?
Allyson: I think people develop the skills of resilience. I don't think it's a nature question. I think it's a nurture question. So I really think that the more you expose yourself to difference, the more you are provoked and disrupted, much as it's painful while it's happening, generally speaking, the more resilient you become because you've been exposed to situations that are different to your expectations, and you've been forced even under that stressful setting, you've been forced to accommodate and adapt. Unless of course, you have fled those situations, and some people flight rather than fight. But I do think resilience comes with experience in being in situations that are uncomfortable and disruptive.
Moderator: Thank you. Our next question is, "You've lived outside your home country for a very long time. Do you believe you could have written your book about the American business culture if you had stayed in the U.S.?"
Allyson: What a good question. I think I probably could not have written about Americans had I stayed and still been living in America. Distance is a wonderful thing, in some ways, and it allows you to see a place through a new lens, I guess. I've lived about half my life now outside of United States, so you then have something, a basis for comparison. Whereas I think if I were still in the U.S., I wouldn't have necessarily that basis for comparison. I need to have one generally, not just me, but generally one needs something very different in order to compare your original place to.
So, no, I'm very happy to have had my time outside the U.S., I'm still American in any case and will always be an American because I was raised there and because my wiring, communication wiring happened in the country, too. But I'm very glad also to have been exposed to others' ways of doing things. And it can only help when you're working in an international setting to just have the confidence, which is really what this webinar has been all about.
Moderator: Well, thank you so much, Allyson. That's all the time that we have for questions today. I'd like to thank Allyson for joining us and for sharing her notes for the keynote speaker today, and also to our sponsor, Global Foundries.
Please stay tuned for the rest of the programming today. We will be starting again promptly at 12:10 p.m. Central Time, 1:10 p.m. Eastern Time. Margaret Schaefer will be discussing the challenges and rewards of being a global employee.