(Photo kindly borrowed from www.erinmeyer.com)
Thinkers50 has gathered the best pieces of advice for chief executives from 50 business thinkers in what they call “Letter to the CEO”. We have been given exclusive permission to share Erin Meyer’s letter with you.
INSEAD professor Erin Meyer on ‘The Culture Map’
We need to spend a lot of time in a new country before we understand how big a difference there can be between the ways we do things. This lesson was learned the hard way by a company which Erin Meyer, in her Letter to the CEO, calls Catchall.
After having acquired a company in Stockholm they experienced that Catchall’s way of handling conflicts didn’t work well with the Swedish way. The two cultures were simply too different and the company had to shut down the Swedish department after a short while.
Had Catchall been aware of their own and of Swedish culture they could either have taken the differences into account or chosen not to start up in Sweden at all.
If you want to know more about how to work with different cultures you can watch Annette Dahl’s videos about the cultural detective. She uses an approach that resembles Meyer’s to, among other things, identify different cultures across countries.
Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD and has written The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business.