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Why use International Business Education?

Anyone who followed Steve Easterbrook’s recent appointment as CEO of McDonald’s will know he has a mighty challenge ahead; re-building a brand across multiple cultures is no mean feat.  Many executives who are taking on a new global role will often require dedicated international business education to help prepare them for the challenges ahead.

The Benefits of International Executive Education

Fluency in foreign cultures requires confidence, the ability to build relationships and the capacity to negotiate effectively.  No matter how experienced and capable an executive is in their own culture, stepping into new territories requires careful preparation and support.  Specialist mentoring from international business consultants who have an intrinsic understanding and first-hand experience of the culture can often prove immensely valuable.

First-hand International Experience

CEO of International Marketing Partners, Allyson Stewart-Allen, has extensive experience of helping individuals and organisations of all sizes and sectors to prepare for their new global ventures.  As an American now living in the UK, Allyson has lived and worked in a variety of cultures and she coaches executives to successfully establish themselves as global players.  She always starts with a detailed analysis of the opportunity and works closely with the executive and his/her team to build capability and confidence across a wide range of influences, including local cultures, society norms, business etiquette and communication styles.

Mitigating Expansion Risk

This level of international business education afforded by Allyson and her team ensures that the executive is ready to ‘hit the ground running’ and can therefore mitigate the risk that comes from inexpertly grappling with new customs, attitudes and formalities. This is particularly important when the new international exposure is combined with the business expanding internationally into new markets.

Understanding how these new customs, attitudes and formalities synchronise within a culture is behind every successful global mindset.  For example, whilst Americans consider using first-name terms as a friendly and open gesture, the Japanese could  be offended by the casualness and inferred lack of respect that first-name terms imply.

Navigating International Negotiations

Moving beyond the relatively straightforward aspect of greetings and into business negotiations is also highly variable by culture.  Some consider extensive investment in the relationship as important, perhaps more so, than the final ‘deal’.  Japan is an example of this, where forced and speedy negotiations do not sit well with a culture used to establishing rapport and respect.  This can be frustrating for Western cultures, such as the USA, where the onus on getting the deal done can be viewed as too aggressive or rushed.

Success at the negotiating table is one thing, but what about those executives who find themselves in charge of whole teams, departments and companies which have unique cultural styles of management and leadership?  Here, everything from their communication style to expressions of emotions will be subject to interpretation. Some cultures view directness as overly aggressive, for example, while others would not expect to see overt expressions of emotion.

For many executives, it is the very diversity of the different cultures and languages that makes working cross-culturally so rewarding and exciting.  To find out more about the international business education for executives that International Marketing Partners provides, please contact us to discuss how we can help your leaders be even more effective internationally.

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