Before we started to work in Asia, we had several assumptions about “the Asians”:
- There is something like “the Asians”
- “Asians” don’t speak up, never say no and are always worried about losing face
- “Asians” don’t say anything critical, never, especially when their boss is in the room.
- You need a long intercultural training in order to be well behaved
OK, these are not exactly the best prerequisites for our way of working, being highly interactive, inviting/requiring people to speak up, encouraging people to come up with initiatives, ideas and creativity, taking self responsibility and a strong stand for their own opinion.
So, we decided to relate to our Asian clients not to our picture of “Asians” but to being employees of a global company, no matter what.
During our work over the last years, we have worked with Indians, Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian clients and what we experienced was the following:
- Wonderfully open-minded people
- An extremely high level of curiosity and eagerness to learn and try out new things
- A sense of humor and level of fun we would love to see in Europe
- People full of ideas and creativity at the moment you open the room for it and who listen with respect.
We had beautiful moments when people showed up, sometimes for the first time presenting in front of a group, being so proud of themselves, leaving their comfort zone and expanding their possibilities.
In our work, we have included some of our “Personal Mastery” sessions, encouraging people to take full responsibility and overcome their own limitations and they took the invitation.
So, people react to how you relate to them and the difference of cultures is just one relevant layer… more important than the differences are the similarities of being human, with the same desires, challenges and hopes.