Two major phenomena are currently occurring in the world. You are probably already aware of both of them. The first is rapid globalization where the world is becoming increasingly interconnected. The second is the movement toward entrepreneurship and sole proprietorship. More and more people are leaving their corporate jobs that they are unhappy with in order to find ways to monetize their passions and change the world. However, has anyone mentioned the fact that to become a successful entrepreneur in today’s globalized world, that you must be culturally literate?
Previously, this sort of knowledge was only required for the top executives in any company, as they were the ones who went out to travel broker major deals in other countries and with people of different backgrounds and nationalities. However, now, with so many people going out on their owns and with the internet increasing the availability of the pool of labor to perform certain jobs, such as freelancing, it is necessary for them to develop cultural literacy. It is a mantra within entrepreneurship that people must outsource their work, and they often find it cheaper to hire people in certain countries.
If you want to have a good business relationship with that person, you must understand their background and their way of doing business. Some cultures emphasize the importance of a personal relationship before, or in addition to, a business relationship, while others prefer to keep work and play separate, and are much more straightforward in negotiation. Neither is better than the other. However, if you are to hire someone from a different culture, you have to understand how they do business so that you keep a good relationship between you two so that the business can flourish and you both can prosper.
However, it should also be noted that this shouldn’t just be a one-way street. If you feel that the other person isn’t respecting the way you do business or doesn’t particularly care to learn, you have every right to be annoyed. Should this issue arise, you should also ask yourself if this person is really right to do business with. If they behave arrogantly, particularly if you’re hiring, do you really want them to work with you? You can use their cultural literacy as a test to see how well they’re willing to learn and adapt. Cultural apathy is often a sign of arrogance, especially if you’re interacting with someone from a different culture.
The global marketplace is a wonderful environment, and has the potential to change the world in more ways than you can imagine. To make the most of it, just as in any other business setting, you want to make sure that you are in it to help the other person. You want to enter any negotiation with this mindset, as it will be easier to close, and you want to leave with this goal having been achieved. You can signal this intent by being culturally literate about the person with whom you are going to do business.