Are you puzzled why a presentation which went really well in Berlin, flopped in New York? Or are you unsure what the new international project group expects from you as the leader?

When you have questions like these it’s good to know what is expected in different countries and how things are done. Being able to make direct comparisons between countries is an added bonus.

This is the great strength of Erin Meyer’s book The Culture Map. On the cover it says: How people think, lead and get things done. And that’s exactly what I like about it: the starting point for the eight characteristics which Erin Meyer defines is what people actually do in international business e.g. give feedback, make decisions, etc. This means that the characteristics are all extremely practical:

erinmeyer_cover_splash-220x300Communicating – from high to low context

Evaluating – from direct negative feedback to indirect negative feedback

Persuading – from principles first to applications first

Leading – from egalitarian to hierarchical

Deciding – from consensual to top-down

Trusting – from task based to relationship based

Disagreeing – from confrontational to avoids confrontation

Scheduling – from linear time to flexible time

Individual countries are positioned on each scale. So you can see at a glance where there are likely to be differences between the members of your team and how big these differences may be – a powerful tool in a kick-off meeting for an international project, for example.

I found the book really enjoyable to read – there are plenty of interesting cases, stories and examples and the language is very accessible. So I recommend first reading it from start to finish. And then later, if you are confused by your business partner’s reaction or wonder about the most effective approach to a task, you can refer to individual chapters for information and ideas.

Porträt Nicola Bartlett
Nicola Bartlett
I’ve been an English trainer for over 25 years, helping adults to get their message across in English – clearly and appropriately. Successful communication in English requires more than just a good knowledge of the language. An understanding of different mentalities and a feeling for the best approach are vital, too.