I received an email from a client several weeks ago who was getting ready to travel overseas to meet with his new business partners on a major international distribution deal.
Because the client had never been to this part of the world, he was concerned that he would inadvertently “commit some cultural faux paus” and do something that would potentially blow the deal.
I assured the client that this would not happen and that everything would turn out fine as long as he remembered the time-tested axiom:
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
It’s simple but it works.
Sure enough, the client returned with a signed distribution deal and several new business contacts.
One resource I recently discovered that picks-up on the simple but effective “when in Rome” principle is the book Global Dexterity.
The book does a great job of explaining why it’s important to match your behavior to a new cultural setting.
It’s an excellent resource to help anyone reach across cultures–and succeed in international business
The preview video below highlights the book’s author, Andrew Molinsky. The full video is available at http://s.hbr.org/106Yuui