Learning how to business with foreign clients always makes sense!
If you could do business with foreigners, would you learn how to understand and respect them? Of course.
When you start out, it seems as if they are from another planet. You know that any errors, will offend them and your chances will be gone.
So, you quickly invest in training courses in respect. You learn a few words in their language. You attend a course on body language. You learn about social norms, meeting rules and how to do business.
This is so awesome that you send your team on training.
Well prepared, you begin to do well, with your foreign client. All is well! Or is it?
Learning how to do business with your “foreign” team members first, makes even more sense!
And then you get back to work. Each morning your diverse staff arrive at your firm. They too, often behave in ways which seem foreign.
They arrive in varied transport from unusual places. Soweto, Inanda, Sandton, La Lucia, Phoenix, Giyani and the Cape Flats, spring to mind. Each of them lives life differently.
We ignore all that and expect them to know and follow our way. No adjusting to their cultures and traditions. We often get frustrated and ask, “Why do “they” do that?”
Because who they are is not important, many become isolated and angry. Staff turnover is high. Team work is poor and commitment low. This shows up in gossiping, back-stabbing, cultural clashes and absent staff.
We could force them to comply. Warn and discipline them. They will leave, or we could fire them.
Or you could invest in knowing each other, by building respect and understanding. Thus uniting the team and clearing conflict. This brings trust and ownership to the team. They will belong and you will release their full potential.
There are many opportunities through knowing and respecting the “foreign” people in your firm.
Grow your firm. Build yourself and your diverse team. It makes sound business sense!
Once you have that foundation in place, your team can learn more powerfully about the outside clients, and how to do business with them!
Brian V Moore
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