Unfortunately, we are confident people. There are only a few who can show off to be humble (and show it!), to have little prejudices. Overall, what humans do perfect, and often, is to say that knows somebody or something really well.

You have come across this kind of situation in your personal life in which somebody has told you “I know the people like you are” but they hardly remember your name! Indeed, you may have said that too, or at least, you have thought it.

Back in the professional life, you may live the same situation, and even more in the international fields. It is a classic mistake. You have visited a country two or three times in the last year. You have met customers, providers and local partners. Moreover, due to this meetings you “know the country“. It is easy to make this mistake. However, it is really different to live in the country for a long time (at least one year) to just make some sporadic visits to it. It doesn’t matter how many times you have visited it, is living in it how you truly know the country.

Brushstrokes of an incomplete picture

When you are building your work team in another country, be humble. You know a little of a country in which you are starting a new life. What you have seen or you have heard are just brushstrokes of an incomplete picture. You do not have the complete view of that country, of its culture. Be humble. Open your mind to learn, to absorb the new professional life, their customs.

Just an example, when I arrived to Chile, one of the Product Managers whom I worked with played the music very loud… without headphones! From my point of view this was incomprehensible, intolerable. Until I went to a meeting with a provider and I heard the music loud in their offices coming from one of their employees. Later, I found the same situation in third different company. I realized that I was in another country, and, somehow, people like to work like that (yes, may not all of them, but mostly). Along time, I was discovering new different things: each morning a customized greeting to every single employee, their pleasure to congratulate in the “professional day of Z”…

The challenge to join two cultures

Know, learn. Their cultures, what they like. As I said, two or three visits are not enough. Day by day will allow you to know the people. At last, but the most difficult part, is that you must learn how to join the culture and professional habits of your company matrix to the current country. Creating this mix is, by fat, one of the most difficult things that you need to face when you make your company international.

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