Erin MeyerArmchair Expert with Dax Shepard
- 1,714 views
- 18 Feb 2021
Erin Meyer (The Culture Map, No Rules Rules) is an author and professor at the INSEAD Business School, based in Paris. Erin joins the Armchair Expert to discuss how feedback is interpreted differently in various cultures, who the most direct and confrontational culture is, and how to move beyond stereotypes to understand the more complex issues we are unaware are affecting us. Erin teaches us how we need to build empathy and develop strategies when interacting with people from other cultures, the direct to indirect negative feedback scale, and why Americans are seen as superficial and hypocritical in most European cultures. Erin explains how we express disagreement differently in many parts of the world, how every culture is deferring to authority less than their parents did, and that you need to understand the differences in cultures in order to make the right adjustments.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to armchair expert experts on expert. I'm Dan Shepard and I'm joined by Monastir Mouse. Hello, hello.
Hello, hello. Hello, hello. I loved this episode.
I was really, really fun because we talk about all these different cultural differences in conducting business around the globe. Yeah.
And it's really fun to learn the little idiosyncratic characteristics of all of us. Yeah.
Aaron Meyer is an author and a professor at INSEAD Business School based in Paris, and she has a fascinating book called The Culture Map that we are going to talk about in depth.
She also has a great book called No Rules Rules.
So please enjoy Miss Aaron Meyer Long.
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The girls were so disappointed when I would lose. They were really funny. Yeah.
They were like, Dad, why didn't you finish first. You're not even in second.
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He's in charge. Hello. Well, hello, you're in Gabe Perry right now, I am. I live here. Yeah, 20 years.
What part of what do you call those Rumbaut wounded, what they're called arrondissements.
But I actually do not live right in Paris. I live in a suburb. I live in a western suburb called No New York Sen.. Oh, I'm on like to say, there's the San.
What are the Parisian suburbs like? I've only been to Paris proper. Oh, well, this one that I'm in now, it's on the metro line of Paris. It's just like right there. It's just greener than being right in the city.
Right. It's just like there's like parks and trees.
It's still that small neighborhood. You feel that even Paris has as opposed to the American suburbs that are strip malls.
Yeah, we don't have suburbs like that. We do have suburbs that used to be villages. Right.
And now they're suburbs.
I guess suburb is just like I mean, if you're interested, OK, you are historically the air blows from the west to the east.
Oh, because of the sewage you wanna leave west.
Because of the east.
It smells bad for variably down river or downwind.
Yeah, exactly. So everywhere like starting the sixteenth which is the most western suburb. And then I'm just west of the western suburb. Those are all the desirable places to live. Wow. Congrats.
So thank you Vusi. Is vesi like Northwest Paris. No w w w w w w that makes sense.
Very good. Er that's why the royalty are there.
I will say though that the people that live probably on the Far East banks, their immune system was probably much stronger. Yeah, I'm not.
I tell Aaron why I'm excited. Oh yeah.
Because my friend Cal works at Netflix and she is the one that introduced me to your work and she just said, oh, everyone at Netflix was reading this book and it's really good.
And you kind of have to read it to work there. I mean, not like officially, but sort of. And I thought, oh, if that's happening in the work culture of Netflix, it's probably important to circulate to our audience.
Well, thank you, Kelly. We're pretty fascinated with the Netflix corporate culture.
So do you know, I just have a new book out with Reed Hastings about their corporate culture. Right. And that's not what we're talking about today. I know we're talking about culture.
My we can talk about all of it. No. Well, we're going to talk about everything under the sun today. I like to talk. No problem. And I'm thankful to Carly.
I'm curious how growing up in Minnesota, you get such a wanderlust or desire to immerse yourself in other cultures, like what's the road that leads up to you being interested in this stuff?
So I was born and raised in Minnesota. I, in a very monocultural place, is as an adult that I started moving to other countries.
So first I was in the Peace Corps as a young woman in Botswana, and it was during that process that I became really interested in studying national cultures.
I saw how my students were motivated in such different ways than children were in the U.S. And when I came back from that, I had two things I wanted to do.
I wanted to teach. I wanted to continue to teach, and I wanted to study cultural differences so that I ended up being a professor at a business school study. And I am writing about cultural differences.
OK, so for me personally, I'll tell you. So I majored in anthropology, a very specific reason, which is I too was from a pretty monolithic type, white, lower, middle class, kind of huge northern Kentucky diaspora, very unified kind of culture way of doing things, what was right and wrong. And I felt stifled by that. I was always interested in challenging that. I just kept thinking I'm inheriting all these things and I don't know that I agree with tons of them.
So I think that's why I ended up doing answer, because I was like, oh, look at the myriad of ways humans have lived on planet Earth. There's no way you could say one was better or worse or superior inferior.
And I guess I was drawn to that because I felt maybe confined by where I grew up in Minnesota. I would imagine maybe that is similar.
It's more that I became very interested in understanding how the psychology of the group that you are raised in then impacts the way that you give feedback or the way that you build trust or the way that you make decisions. And what fascinated me as I started to study cultural differences in the work environment was that I saw that actually there was so much confusion because in one country they learn how to give feedback one way and another country they learn in another way. So now you have a boss from one country who's managing someone from another country and the message is totally get missed, right?
Yeah, that became. Our goal was to develop a framework which I have this culture map framework, which helps people to decode how cultural differences are impacting their effectiveness.
OK, so just right out of the gates, I'll say that this is now in twenty, twenty one, a harder conversation than it would have been for us to have, I'd say in two thousand. I think there's four such good reason and apprehension about summarizing a culture or a group of people or for lack of a better word, stereotyping. And so a lot of Monaca nice fights, as I'll say, like, well, most blank do blank.
And she, of course, has a different perspective, I think, because we're from a different generation and I'm always frustrated going like, sure, yes, the exception exists. But I'm talking about in general, I think because it's been so militarized or so weaponized, that type of thinking that it has prevented us from being able to do some of the productive side of that kind of generalization. And I just wonder how you navigate this. Topic in a world where you're not allowed to say most people do anything, yeah, but in some ways I've actually seen the opposite, which is I think there's greater awareness of at least subcultures than there used to be.
So there used to be this kind of idea. Oh, well, like, we may look different, but we're all the same. And now there's more of an awareness of, oh, well, look, I was raised in this kind of background and because I was raised in this kind of background, I have a different value system or different beliefs. And it would be helpful to me if you would try to understand those value systems and beliefs so that we could collaborate more effectively.
So I would say that if something that I do makes people uncomfortable, it's that I look at a very macro scale at the world. Right. So I look at, you know, the differences between conducting business in France and Germany and Japan and Brazil and the US. And of course, now, you know, Americans are saying a lot, OK, we can't just love us all together. Right. Yeah, but they also are say I mean, we're also saying in the U.S. way, please understand that I am culturally different than you are.
The way I define culture is the culture is the personality of a group. So we can look at generational cultures, how different different generations have different personalities. We can look at gender cultures, how different genders have different personalities. I look at national cultures and I do it on a macro level. But my framework can be applied also to micro environments.
Well, and that's kind of what I was going to say is like, as much as you can have an idealistic view of the world, if you are actually practicing business within that world and you have actual measurable metric, you are forced to get realistic about that. You have to say, OK, when you go to Japan now and you even give this as an example, which is like it's too broad to just say, oh, they do it this way.
And the French are subtle in the way they talk and that's too broad. But also it'd be very naive to not know what tools are required to achieve a goal somewhere. Yeah.
And I mean, I'll just give you a very personal example. So you learned already that I was raised in Minnesota. I've lived in France for the last 20 years. My husband is French. My children have told me that they are French. I have learned that from that French of them.
But I mean, the way we give feedback is very different in the US versus France, the way we are trained. And of course, there's a range in every culture about what's appropriate. But the range of what's appropriate in the U.S. is very different than the range in France. In the U.S., we are trained to give a lot of very strong positive feedback and we preach things like, you know, catch people doing things right and three positives with every negative lie.
And this is not the case in France. So in France, positive feedback is given a lot more implicitly between the lines and negative feedback, more strongly or bluntly. So, you know, I'm working with this French woman a while ago. She has a new American boss. Her boss is telling her that her performance is not acceptable. But he starts by doing that, by telling her what he appreciates about her work, right.
Yeah. How confusing for her. She thinks, wow, that's the best performance review I've ever received. Right. And by the time he gets to the real message, she isn't even listening anymore. She's celebrating.
And then afterwards he thinks, well, she didn't follow my instructions. And she thinks later on when she doesn't get a raise, she thinks, well, he's a hypocrite because he told me my work was great and then he didn't reward me with the salary.
So these things happen to us all the time when we're working internationally and often we don't even recognize that it's cultural. We just think, you know, this person was inappropriate. I was robbed.
Man, there's so many great examples to outline how this can work in so many ways. I assume you read Malcolm Gladwell, his book, Tipping Point with the Korean Airline chapter, and they talk about the different fear, basically fear of authority, which they give these different countries ratings and how the pilots how much that impacts how a pilot and the co-pilot operate in the cockpit. And that's just a total cultural difference, right?
It is a cultural difference. But I also loved your wording. You said fear of authority. And I would not I mean, they wouldn't say, oh, gosh. And in Korea, we are afraid of what they would say is that we respect the person in charge. Right. So what that looks at what we call power distance and academia. But it's my my leading scale on my culture map framework. So we look at egalitarian versus hierarchical cultures and it looks specifically at how much respect do I showed the person in charge or how much do I defer to authority?
Right. And of course, this is something that we learn as children. Right. We learn it in our schools. Am I encouraged to call my teacher by her first name and I'm encouraged to debate with her openly, or am I encouraged to? My teacher by an honorific title and to show a lot of respect to that person in charge. There are a lot of benefits to cultures where we have this kind of strong respect of authority. I mean, like we have a campus in Singapore, very high power, distance culture.
And I can tell you, you know, it can be super efficient to work in politics and culture because, you know, I was actually working with this guy from the Netherlands a while ago, the Netherlands, a super egalitarian culture, way more egalitarian than the US. They think we are like Koreans. This Dutch guy, he was saying, oh, you know, I just love working here because when I'm leading a team in the Netherlands, you know, every time I try to get people moving in the same direction, they're contradicting me or challenging me.
I take my ideas off in other directions here. You know, if I have an idea and I want to get people to start, I just outline it and they just move in one, like streamline direction. So I do think that, of course, there are disadvantages to both systems.
And that Korean airline is clearly an example of the disadvantage of a high powered distance culture isn't Israel is like the highest on OK, so Israel is the most direct culture when it comes to giving negative feedback in the world.
And they are the most confrontational culture in the world. Uh huh. They love a good debate.
Yeah, they're actually surprisingly perhaps they are the fifth most egalitarian country in the world and more egalitarian than the U.S. is.
Very interesting pattern. Right? What that means is that and I guess if you were working for an Israeli boss, you may experience him as being very hierarchical because the way he gave you such direct feedback, you would think, oh, he's a dictator. But what you wouldn't recognize is that it's very appropriate for you to give your boss feedback in exactly the same way.
You know, I relate to this approach to the Israel approach. Yeah. I think I'm like very direct, probably too much sometimes.
And I also think I'm egalitarian. Yeah.
Like, I also want everyone to give me shit back and then I want to stop fucking batted around a bit and then we'll you know, I don't get to say but let's get at it. Let's go right at it.
Well so this is the beauty of my culture mapping system. You can go to my website where I have my culture mapping tools and you can take your personal profile. You can you respond to twenty four questions and then you find out where you fall on the scale and then you can compare that to the various countries. We have sixty two countries and then you'll find out if you're living in the right country or not.
I want to do a few more tasty fun differences. I thought of a couple of personal experiences. I had my wife and I shot a movie in Italy and it was the most bizarre experience relative to how it is shooting a movie in the United States. So in the United States, the ad your assistant director is under, the director is the dictator. Right. So it tells every department when they got to show up, when they can leave, blah, blah, blah.
Well, we started shooting in Italy and we'd be outdoors nighttime shoot this beautiful square that we only have for five hours. We'd rehearse and all of a sudden we'd go they'd we'd go like, OK, let's light this thing up. And then over the walkie talkie, you'd hear, oh, electric wrap themselves. The electric department, which is in charge of lighting. When they decided they were done working, they just split in sometimes the Transportation Department.
They'd start at an hour. They wanted to start not at the they could see you'd be waiting for your pickup for like an hour. It was. So I found it charming. I think it was really frustrating to the ad, but I just was shocked that different departments just wrap themselves when they felt like they were done.
Yeah. So this is this is my eighth culture dimensions on my framework. It's what I call the scheduling scale. Oh, it's what I call a first degree cultural dimension, which means that it's one of the dimensions you feel first. Right. I mean, some of the other ones, you might live in another country for a couple of years before you start recognizing. But this one, yeah, you might just be on vacation. Right. And that looks at structured time versus flexible time cultures.
And of course, the U.S. is a rather structured time culture. But let me give you an example back to get you thinking about this.
So as you learned, I live in France. I was working a while ago with a team that was made up of half French and half Americans. And I asked the Americans, you know, how's it going working on this French team? And they responded a little bit like you just did about Italy. Right. They said, oh, well, you know, they're chaotic. They're last minute. They're always changing things in the middle of a meeting.
Very challenging. A little bit later, a group from India joined the same team and I asked the Indians, how's it going on this team?
And they said, well, Erin, you know what it's like. To work with French people, right, they are very rigid, they're very in adaptable, they're so focused on the punctuality and the structure of things that they're not able to be flexible as things change around them.
Right. This is what I call cultural relativity.
And what we can see on the scheduling scale is that, of course, France falls between the US and India, which then leads to these opposite perceptions. And interestingly, the Germans describe the Americans the same way as the Americans describe the French. Right.
Great. I'm glad you brought them up because it was another one. I put on my list of things that I wanted to talk about because I am so fascinated with German culture in so many ways. Just first and foremost, that you go there, you walk into a building that's 300 years old and it is cleaner than the house that we just got done building. You know, the cleanliness, the scheduling, the untidiness, the talk about like a Swiss watch culture.
And my wife, again, similar. She was doing press in Hamburg. We were in Hamburg for about a week and a half. And I was really loving it. I was like, oh, my God, this place works it. If they say that bus is coming at thirteen point seven, it's fucking there at 13 07. So I'm like enamored with it, anamur with it. And then later we go to Paris as our next stop. And I'm like, well, this place is a mess, but my soul's on fire here.
Like I see this weird yin and yang to the whole thing. It's like so much structure and you lose a little bit of zest for life and I'm just fascinated by it.
So can you just tell us a little bit about the scheduling scale is I mean, Italians, when they work in the U.S., they say, oh, my gosh, there's no soul here.
I mean, everything is focused on the clock.
So they take that is they don't know how to prioritize. They're so focused on the schedule that they don't know how to prioritize what's important. At every moment we in Italy, we understand priorities and we're flexible. And those Americans are totally lacking flexibility. Yeah. And the same way you may feel going from Germany to France. But I do want to point out, because, again, I think that what you're talking about are some of the cultural differences that people are often aware of.
And those ones are interesting. But because we're aware of them, they're not like that serious, right?
Yeah, but if we look at Germany, I mean, here's something that you might not be aware of that most German American collaboration's aren't, which is that although Germans are more hierarchical than Americans are and Americans know that the Germans complain that Americans are so much more hierarchical than they are. And that's because Germans are more hierarchical, meaning that they're more focused on using titles and focused on the structure in the organization. But they are also more consensual. So they believe in making decisions in a slower way over time and getting a lot more people involved in the decisions.
So in the U.S., where we have a system that is both rather egalitarian, we like to use first names right away. We don't like to have to ask the boss to meet with the boss's boss, but we also want a strong decision maker. We want someone to say at the end of the meeting, OK, we made a decision and then we're all going to follow along. And often the Germans say, oh, those Americans, they act like they're so egalitarian.
But then when the boss says go right, they just click their heels and go right. At the same time that the Americans are complaining those Germans are so slow to make a decision. Is anything ever going to happen around here?
Here's another anecdotal experience I had that speaks to that, which is I worked for General Motors for years. We would have these international car shows where the German division of General Motors would come to the states Opel and the way they treated their technicians versus the way we treated our technicians. So the engineers would go stay at the very nice hotel in the town and then the technicians, the guys doing the actual mechanical labor, they would be at a lower rung hotel.
But the Germans, their technicians stayed at the nice hotel with them. They ate at the same table with them. And there wasn't that kind of status, hierarchical thing. And you could see it. I loved it.
It's so interesting, right. Because they at least when they're speaking German, they almost always call each other by their last names. Right. So that kind of formality gives you the impression that they're really top down in their management style. There are actually you see this total dichotomy, at least when it comes to decision making.
So that's what I try to do, right, to get people to, like, move beyond the stereotype to understand these more complex issues that are often impacting us without us being aware of it.
And I imagine you approach it like an anthropologist, I would guess, where you're not there to say, oh, the French people are right or the Americans are wrong. It's more about understanding this is how they are. And now how do we cohesively coexist? I never have a right and wrong, and there's no point there's always benefits to each side. And I mean, the goal is to build empathy and to help people develop strategies. One of my favorite examples, my book, The Culture Map, came out in 2014.
And I remember when I finished writing it, I felt really proud of myself, like I thought I had accomplished something. And soon after I had, you know, the lesson that you never know everything. Yeah. So I took this trip to Japan. And while I was in Tokyo, I gave a 20 minute presentation to a group of 30 Japanese. And at the end of the presentation, I asked if there were any questions and no one raised their hand.
So I went to sit down. My Japanese colleague who was traveling with me from INSEAD, the business school I teach at, he said to me, Erin, I think there were some questions, can I try?
So he stood up and he said to the group, you know, Professor Meyer has just spoken with you. Do you have any questions? No one raised their hand. But this time he stopped and he silently observed the group for several long seconds. And then he stopped and he gestured to this gentleman who is sitting there, from my perspective, motionless. And he said, oh, yes, do you have a question? And this guy asked this fascinating question how he did it three more times.
So afterwards I said to him, how did you know that those people had questions? And he said, well, it had to do with how bright their eyes were. Oh, my gosh.
Now, you would not do well in this culture. Why? You can't see anything. Oh, yeah.
I thought that is very challenging for me coming from Minnesota like I do.
Yeah. But then he clarified, he said, you know, Erin, in Japan we don't make as much direct eye contact as you do in the West. So when you asked the group if there were any questions, most people are not looking right at you. They're looking somewhere else. But I noticed when you asked if there were questions that there were a couple of people in the room who were looking right at you and their eyes were bright, which signifies they would like to have you call on them if you would like to.
So the next day I gave another presentation again. I asked if there were any questions and again, no one raised their hand.
So this time I thought, OK, Erin, you got to try. Right. So I did what he suggested, what he'd done, what I seen him do. And I stopped and I silently observed the group.
And as I looked around the room, I saw immediately that he was right, OK, most people were not looking right at me. That was obvious now that I thought about it. But as I looked around, I saw that there was one woman in the room who was looking right at me.
And when I looked at her, she held my gaze. Oh, wow. Now, were her eyes bright?
I don't know, but I wanted to try.
So I made a little bit of a little bit of a gesture to her and she nodded her head. And I said, Do you have a question? And she said, thank you.
And she asked this fascinating question. Wow. I want to tell you, I mean, that was such a critical and unsettling learning experience for me, because at INSEAD, where I teach, I have these incredibly multicultural classrooms every day. And I just written a book on cultural differences. And when I came back to my school, I started seeing all of these bright eyes in my classes that I had just been entirely missing and not just from the Japanese.
And I have to tell you, that's impacted how I facilitate my classes every day since. Wow.
So these are the really important cultural differences that we don't even know it's happening, but they're totally impacting our effectiveness. So those are the ones I really try to focus on the tough stuff. But we have something else going on is that I think quite challenging for American organizations working with other countries, which is that we are one of the only countries in the world where we have a participation grade in our classes. And, you know, I don't know what you think, but I do believe that in the U.S., I mean, there's a tendency that that participation grade is more focused on that you contributed than that.
What you said was actually like a super high quality.
Oh, this is the beginning of the Dunning Kruger effect, which is like we're training people to have an opinion whether they have one or not.
It's like we're going to reward you for saying anything. We don't give a shit if it's good or bad. That's right.
So, of course, what happens then is that in meetings around the world, Americans tend to talk a lot more than other cultures do.
And, you know, you were mentioning your friend at Netflix, right, who brought up my culture, my book. And I can tell you, I mean, that's a big thing at Netflix is that often the American bosses are saying to their Brazil. Million Singaporean Japanese employees, you know, if you want to get promoted, if you want to be noticed, that you have to start contributing in meetings, you know, whatever you say, it doesn't matter.
Just speak up, speak up a lot.
And that's a very strange message even to people in Europe, like the idea that I should talk, even if I don't have anything specific to say.
And I would say it's incentivising charisma more than results. Like to me, if you want to get ahead in this company, do something productive and profound. But what we're really saying is you've got to be charismatic.
And it means, of course, that if you are leading a multicultural team meeting, don't assume that because people don't talk, they don't have anything to say.
Stay tuned for more armchair experts, if you dare.
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Often what happens is that Americans are jumping in so quickly, trying to make the contribution to have their voice heard. I mean, let me give you an example here. I'll give you I shouldn't do this, but I'll give you a French person mocking Americans. Yes. Yes. This is from my class. The other day, she said, oh, here's the Americans in meetings. Oh, I just want to reiterate what Stephanie said. And I just want to say I really think that that was interesting.
Stephanie pointed out XIFAXAN. I agree with you, Stephanie. Yes. She said the French woman is like, I don't understand. Why did she say that?
Oh, my God, what a waste of time. And but we learn that in school, right? We learn that we need to speak up, even if it's just to kind of like reiterate a point or make our voice heard. Let me just say, if you are leading a multicultural team, please call on the non Americans frequently, because just because they don't speak doesn't mean they don't have anything to say. Often they haven't found a moment to speak.
Well, you know what I immediately think of when you give that example is, are we the worst in the world as far as reply alls on emails? Because I also find any time you've got, like 12 people on email, everyone's got to say, yeah, I totally agree. It's like just unless you disagree, just leave. No, but.
Well, yes, I agree with you. I agree with you on that because emails suck. But there is an element if you're on like a team email for work that if you don't reply all and you don't say, yeah, I agree, your boss will think you didn't read it or you're not as in tune as the other people on the team. Like part of it is just showing, like I'm paying attention and I'm involved.
Which is also from the top down, though, because if you have the person who's sending a long email is going to get promoted, you have to do that. Hmm. What are your thoughts on that?
Well, I will tell you that, no, the U.S. is not the culture where they used reply all the most.
Oh, OK. Let's let's go to Sweden. Oh, yeah.
I was going to move there until now. Oh, no, I love the Swedish culture, but it's the second most consensual culture in the world after Japan. Japan is the first most consensual culture. And what that means is that a lot of people are involved in the decision making process. And the boss is not the decision maker. Right. The boss is the facilitator of the decision. I used to work for a Danish company and I remember oh, so I switch from Sweden to Denmark.
Same thing. Sweden is more consensual than Denmark, but same same dynamic. I used to work for a Danish company and I remember that my boss, this Danish guy, he told me, oh, you know, please, Aaron, no, we're really egalitarian in Denmark and we're really consensual. And I thought that sounded great. And I thought I definitely want to work for a company like that.
And then it started, for example, he was getting ready for a team meeting. There were maybe ten of us on the team. And he said, we'll send out an email like, what do you think the team meeting should be about? And one person responded, Well, I think it should be about this reply. All right. I think it should be about this detail and then someone else. I think it should be about this. And, you know, from my American perspective, you know, as we were saying earlier, Americans like fast decisions.
So I was just like, could someone just please make a decision so we can move on?
Well, I would have e-mailed we could have had a meeting by now, but we didn't because no one will decide.
And then after about oh, I guess everybody had responded but me. Right. All of the other nine people. So then he e-mailed me because I seemed uncooperative, right and wrong.
And he was like a hire. And we haven't heard from you, you know. What's your perspective? Oh. Oh, my God. But I realized, you know, in that environment, decisions are made more slowly. But by the time the decision is made, there is deep commitment from everybody. And all of the details have been worked out. Right. So I just had to participate. And, you know, in the end, everything worked out fine as long as I was adaptable.
You know, these systems work very well in their own cultures. Right? I'm in Sweden. People are super consensual decisions. Take a while, everyone spot and it works. On the contrary, in India, the boss makes the decision for everybody. Everyone's happy to follow the decision. It works. The problem is when you have a team where you're made up of half Indians and half Swedish people and they don't realize there's a difference in the way the decisions are made.
So they both. Try to follow their own format, and that ends up with a lot of inefficiency, right? That's the worst thing we can do.
So we resist the urge because there would be metrics, right, to figure out what country is most productive or what country has the longest window of bringing an idea into production. There would be ways to measure the efficiency of these different cultural approaches. But do we resist that or do we acknowledge it?
I think different cultures are best at different things. So like even that decision making method, like both the Japanese and the Germans are rather consensual. The Japanese very and the Germans rather consentual in their decisions, which means they take longer to make the decisions. But then when the decisions are made, they are fixed. They are not changed frequently in comparison. In the U.S., we tend to make decisions very quickly, but then we change them frequently. Right?
Isn't that the truth?
Yeah. So what happens? Of course, just if it's not obvious if you have an American Japanese collaboration is that the Japanese are really frustrated because the Americans said we had a decision and then they're changing that direction the next day. And the Americans are very frustrated. The Japanese are so slow to make the decision, but which is better, OK?
It depends on what you're trying to accomplish and what are both the Germans and Japanese are really good at cars right now.
And if you are going for a perfect product and you want to make sure that you've thought through every little possible risk and it's the, you know, whatever the fastest car on earth, then that method of slow, consensual decision making can work great. But if you are in, let's say, the high tech industry, and you need to make sure that your product gets out there quickly, then that fast and flexible is much more important. So I think that's true with all of the different cultural scales that we look at.
There's a reason that those cultures have those ways of operating, but some of them are better for some things and some for others.
I just have this deep curiosity about the Russian culture. Let's introduce the culture map and that there's eight scales and maybe we could talk about Russia as an example of these eight scales. We can. Let's do it. OK, so tell us the eight scales.
OK, I'm going to go through them quickly and some of them really do need explanation. OK, so the first one is what I call the communicating scale. It looks at how much we pass messages between the lines versus how much we spell everything out and recap in writing. So a great example of that is that, OK, the U.S. is the most let's say I use the term explicit, the most explicit culture in the world on the framework. It's called low context, but the most explicit culture in the world.
And that comes because we are a culture originally of immigrants. We don't have, you know, thousands of years of shared history and knowledge. We came from different countries. We we learn that messages couldn't easily be passed between the lines.
The confusion was probably really common. Right?
So we were always simplifying things to the lowest common denominator and then repeating them and putting them in writing Japan. OK, we've been speaking a lot about Japan. Japan is the highest context or the most implicit culture in the world. There's an expression in Japanese which is Kookie Jomini. They started to Kaixi. It means someone who is unable to read the air.
Oh, wow. Well, I guess that makes sense with the eyes. Yeah, sure. I mean, I was clearly Kookie Jomini. Yeah.
Situation France is also I'm in a much more implicit culture than the USA is. So much more high context passing messages between the lines. And there's an expression in French which is a suzane tone. You and a Suzlon tone do it means under the herd. So it means don't listen to what you heard. Right. Listen to the message that I passed under what you are. There's another word in French, which is to say something at the DSM Dougray, which literally means to say something at the second degree.
So in French, the first degree, that means take what I said literally. But then if I say steam in the second degree, it means don't listen to what I said, listen to what I meant. Right. Or even don't listen to what I meant. Listen to what I really meant.
So, for example, the French writer Laffont, then he wrote at the second degree so you could read his writing at the first degree at the literal level, and you would see, oh, this is a child story with a moral, but you could think about the context within which the story was written and you would see actually this is a commentary about how Louis the 14th misused his money. Yeah.
So there is what I meant and what I really meant.
And I assume that you are sophisticated enough to pick up my real message. What we see in business is that like in France. If you are good at passing messages between the lines and reading the air, you're likely to get promoted in comparison to the U.S. whereas if you are good at simplifying things a lot and putting them really clearly and writing, you are likely to get promoted. Yes.
So then the second dimension looks at how we give negative feedback in different parts of the world, whether we give feedback more directly or more indirectly, whether we say it like it is, or whether we wrap positives around negatives like we do in the U.S. or whether we really soften the message. So, for example, like in Thailand, we might give negative feedback by saying the good and leaving out the bad right.
So that would be like I'll give you an example. I was giving a presentation in Thailand and the coordinator asked me to send her two photos and a video so that she could promote the conference. And I did. And then I called her to see if she had what she needed. And she said the photos were excellent. Thank you.
Oh, OK. Because you read the air. So then I said, oh, would you like me to send you more video options? And she said, Oh yes, thank you.
If you have them, that would be wonderful. Right. So you see that she said the good and left out the bad. And then only because I was familiar with the technique did I then pick up the ball and ask her what she needed. Now, if I hadn't been aware of that technique, of course, I would have gotten off of the phone and she would have thought, oh, it's too bad she doesn't have any other video options.
Yeah. Oh, man.
OK, so those are more indirect cultures. The U.S. is in the middle of that scale of the direct to indirect negative feedback scale where we tend to be quite explicit. But as I said, we wrap positive feedback around negative feedback and then we have cultures like Germany or even more so the Netherlands or even more so Russia or even more so Israel, where we tend to just say it like it is.
And, you know, I'll give you a funny example that I have from my students. If for anyone who's worked or lived with Dutch people, you know, their culture is very, let's say, honest. So they just say it like it is. I had these Dutch guys that were in my class a while ago and we were doing this kind of like group sharing session where we were in groups of about seven and everyone kind of gave their scenario at work and then they got help from the group.
And I remember one of the guys, this guy Vem, this this Dutch guy, he talked about all of these problems he was having working with British people.
And then this other Dutch guy in the group, Peter, he says in front of the group. Right. He said, vem, you know, this has happened because you are a poor communicator and you have no self-esteem.
Oh. And you have difficulty relating to people.
RESKIN Does it look that nice this morning?
What was interesting was that I saw them. I saw his face turning red.
So I thought, OK, this is not a good situation. Yeah. And I also saw the other people at the table. They were looking at their feet. Right. Like I mean, they were all from other countries, but they were all staring at their feet like, OK, this is not gone well. So that evening I went to the dinner and I thought, I'm going to have to clean up that thing that happened with those Dutch companies.
Yeah, but I went into the restaurant and these two Dutch guys, the same guys right there having a beer together, they're having a great time. So I came up to them and I was like, oh, I'm surprised to see you together. And I remember them, right? The guy who turned red, he looked at me totally surprised and he said, Oh, well, maybe I looked uncomfortable when Pete gave me that feedback, but I so much appreciate that he would be willing to tell me that about myself.
I mean, that that is clearly a gift and it makes me feel much more close to him now that he's given me that feedback.
Wow. I thought, wow, that culture is really different than my own.
That reminds me so much of being on a Eurorail trip when I was 19 and there were three Dutch girls in our about our age, my girlfriend, an ice age. And one of them had been on a foreign exchange student in Georgia. And I said, oh, how did you like it? And she goes, Oh, my God, I hated it down there. Everyone, hello. How are you doing? Good to see you. She's like, I couldn't stand all the fake talk like this flowery baloney, you know, acting like you're familiar with somebody she just saw.
It is so disingenuous. And I was like, oh, wow.
Yeah, we kind of find that charming. Oh, that was a Dutch person talking about. Yes, yes. Yeah, right. So I actually I have a fruit model to explain this.
So you actually you asked about Russia, so maybe I can go there now. Yeah. So we have what we call coconut versus peach cultures. So coconut culture like the Netherlands, but even more so Russia. So coconut cultures are cultures where we don't smile a lot of strangers, we don't ask personal questions of people that we don't know, we don't talk about our families with people we are not close to. Right. So like the outside of a coconut or Howard on the outside.
Right. Yeah. But then as we develop a relationship, as we get to know one another, we become more and more friendly and warm and open. We talk more about our families, we ask more about the other family, and we start smiling a lot. I mean, the U.S. is peach culture. And of course, if we want to talk about regional differences, as you know, the southern U.S. versus boss, for example.
That's right. So, I mean, a two examples of cultures are the U.S. and Brazil.
So in these cultures, we smile a lot of strangers. We ask people personal questions that we bumped into.
Oh, yeah, grocery store. And we talk about our children with people that we don't even know. But like a peach. Right. If you think about a peach is like soft on the outside, but then the pit is on the inside and we do protect ourselves. Of course, in a peach culture, it's not that we make our hearts available to everybody. So then we get to a part, the hard part, where we protect ourselves.
And we really have to get to know each other well right before we go, like inside the pet.
Oh, my God. Yeah. Can I add to that? I think what we really do is the immediate familiarity is the story. It's the bullshit story that is the lubricant of the social interaction. So it's like I have a version of my kids, I'll tell you at the grocery store. Oh, she's so bright. This one rides a motorcycle. And then I'll tell Monica, these little bitches, they are so fucking entitled. You know, if I really trust her, I'll let her know how my kids really are.
So I think, like, yeah, it's interesting. That's right.
You don't tell people that at the grocery store. So it's almost like there's this illusion of openness. Positivity. Yeah, but it's really the story we're telling the world. That's right. That's right.
And that's how we behave to strangers. So what happens then? I mean, so OK, Russia, typical coconut culture. Like, we don't smile at strangers. We keep strangers at a distance. This Russian guy, Igor, tells me about his first time taking an airplane to the U.S. and during this seven hour flight, he's sitting next to this American. And the American, of course, tells him all about himself. I had a colonoscopy a week ago.
He tells him about his job interview. The next day, he shows him pictures of his family. And Igor thinks, wow, you know, I'm connecting with this guy in a way I have never connected with anybody. So, so quickly. He thinks, how could a deep friendship arise, you know, in this in the short space of time? So he does something really unusual for him or in Russian culture. He starts talking about his children and his family and sharing about his life.
And then the airplane lands. Course, Igor. Right. So no phone?
No, no. He's going to call the guy the next day. So best to find out how his job interview ran. And, you know, the American, he stands up and he says it was a pleasure to meet you. Have a great trip. Oh, an Igor feels he feels tricked.
Yeah, but trade betrayed. Yeah. He was tricked into thinking that this guy wanted to be his friend. Yeah.
And then the guy turned his age, which is why I'm sorry to announce that so frequently in European cultures, Americans are seen as being superficial and hypocritical because we offer friendship and then we don't follow through.
So embarrassing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The guy the American on the plane should have been like, oh, I couldn't grab your remember because I'm going to go get someone else's approval in five minutes.
Yeah. Also your ego or it could be like I was tricked and then also fuck I opened up, I told my whole thing and he was like, that's a pass for this friendship.
Right. Right. But then on the other hand, I mean, how does the American feel? Not maybe not in this situation, but the guy who's going to Russia to do business or even coming to France, I mean, also in France, where so much more culturally than in the U.S., what do we say about French people? They're arrogant, right? Why are they arrogant? Well, they don't smile at me on the street. I ask them a question.
They act like they don't care about their children and they walk away from me, right? Yeah. So we feel I mean, we feel that they're hostile, that they're unfriendly, that they're unwelcoming. And these are just I mean, once we're aware of the differences, we can just start laughing about it and try to be more adaptable, not take it personally, right?
Yeah. Oh, wow. I keep getting so embarrassed about Americans. I know also it makes me want to fly.
I wish I could take a Russian airline everywhere I went to the council and not have to give someone approval and not have to try to get it. That's great. I love it.
OK, how about leading. Yes. The leading scale. So the leading scale. We talked a little bit about it already. It's about egalitarian versus hierarchical cultures. It looks at how much we defer to the person in charge.
And I'll just give you a fun example. So on that scale, the American culture is rather egalitarian, but not as egalitarian, for example, as Scandinavia or the Netherlands. Then on the other side of the scale, we have Latin cultures. And then even further, for example, usually Asian cultures are African cultures. So I was working with with Heineken a while ago. So a Dutch company. And in the Netherlands, you really learn that, you know, the secretary can easily email the CEO and give her opinion about something.
People are very comfortable working across levels. And when I was working with Heineken, after they purchased this big this big operation in Monterrey, Mexico and in Mexico, I mean, they tend to defer more to authority, more than in the US and certainly more than the Netherlands. And I had this Mexican guy I was working with. He said to me, oh, my gosh, managing Dutch people is absolutely incredible because I come in in these meetings and I want to, like, roll out my strategy.
And they're challenging me. They're contradicting me. They're taking my ideas off in other directions. Sometimes you just want to get down on my knees and plead with them, you know, please don't forget that I'm the boss.
So I think that's a really important dimension because it shows that in today's global world, it's no longer enough to be able to manage the Dutch way, our Mexican way or American way or Chinese way. But we really have to start being flexible enough to adapt our leadership style to the countries that we're working with in order to get the results that we need.
And is there a trend if you charted the long arc of all this, do you find that through globalization this is getting more homogenized? Like are the differences diminishing?
We do see changing, but I don't generally see cultures coming together. So, for example, on that scale of egalitarian versus hierarchical or how much we defer to authority, every country in the world is generationally becoming more egalitarian. So in every country, whether you are from China, from Spain or from the U.S., we defer to authority less than our parents did. You know, children defer to authority less than we did?
Oh, I like that trend. And that's happened, I believe, because of the Internet. Yeah.
And if you think about it, just in a couple of decades ago, like when I was a child several decades ago when I was a child and certainly when my parents were children, it really was the older person who had the information. If you needed information, you had to go to someone who had the experience or who had the knowledge from being on Earth.
Yeah, that's an amazing point. Yeah. Yeah. But today our children can just jump on the Internet, you know, like we don't trust the doctor anymore because we looked up. On the Internet, something that's different than what the doctor told us, so therefore we defer to the doctor less than we used to.
Yeah, well, when our kids say to their teachers, no, no, you know, this John said, it's not true. I looked it up on the Internet. Oh, boy.
I always think about how frustrating it must be to be a doctor these days. I mean, it just it would be maddening, like, oh, you're 12 minute search you think trumps my 12 years of education on this.
That's right. So that we see around the world, in every country, I don't see that the countries are kind of coming together in a meeting spot. I just see that the whole world is shifting to be more and more egalitarian with the difference between the countries still there, but a clear movement then on the direct and indirect negative feedback scale.
I don't see a consistent movement, you know, in the U.S. I believe that millennials, of course, are less direct with negative feedback and expect more positive Rafina than their parents did.
Oh, yeah, but that's very different than in China or India, where the younger generations tend to be much more direct with negative interest. And then we have countries like the Netherlands or Denmark where I haven't seen much movement generationally. So we are shifting, but we're not becoming one culture. And then deciding then is another one. Back to our task, right? So, yes, deciding we already talked about earlier. So that looks at the difference between consensual decision making and top down decision making.
We make decisions quickly and we change them frequently. That's top down or consensual. We make decisions slowly over a long period of time as a group, and then the decision is fixed after we've made it.
And then trusting. Sounds like the fruit metaphor. Mm hmm.
It's not. Thank you for bringing that up. Yeah. Yeah. So that's actually the trusting scale I actually think is the most important of all of the scales.
Oh, OK. Although it's the most simple. So it looks at how we come to trust a business partner, for example, or a colleague in different parts of the world. So if you think about it, there's two kinds of trust. So there is cognitive trust. That's trust from your brain. That's like I see your ontime, you do good work, you're reliable. I trust you. And then we have what we call affective trust. That's like trust from your heart.
That's like I feel this emotional bond with you or I feel I feel a personal connection. I feel like I've seen who you are beyond or below your professional persona. And because I've seen who you are inside, I trust you.
Now, if I ask you why you trust your mother, it doesn't matter where you come from. You'll talk to me about effective trust.
But if I ask you why you trust a business partner, we'll see a lot more difference from one culture to another. Countries like the US, where we tend to use cognitive trust for work and effective trust for home. And in fact, in the US, I mean, we've been taught right. I'm changing a little bit, but we've been taught that it's not safe or smart to get too close to people that we work with. Right. So if we're going to negotiate a deal or we're going to manage a team, we don't want to, like, open up too much because then it compromises our object ability.
But then in every emerging market country in the world, from Brazil to Indonesia to Nigeria to China, there's much more of a cognitive and effective trust being all woven together in the workplace.
OK, so what happens then? What happens is that the American team is bidding for business in China. They take the airplane to Shanghai, they rehearse their presentation. They get every word just perfect. They have the best presentation possible. They come in and they give that great presentation and then they come home and then they don't get the work. And then they think it's an issue of price. Right. They find out later that the work went to a group in Malaysia and then they think it was a price issue.
But what actually happened is that the Malaysians, the Malaysian group, spent a good deal of time outside of work getting to know their Chinese counterparts, having meals together, maybe drinking together.
Yeah, sharing and opening up. So now they have that trust between them. And now that makes it much easier for the Chinese to feel like, well, we'll work with them even if they're more expensive because we know we can trust them.
Wow. Yeah. So that's a very important dimension because if we're aware of it, we can, I think, easily adapt our style to build the trust that we need. And if we're not aware of it, we might end up accidentally even losing the business entirely.
Yeah, so a high schmooze factor.
I'm going to euphemize that as stay tuned for more, I'm sure, if you dare.
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And then how about disagreeing? Yeah, so that dimension looks at how we express disagreement in different parts of the world so we have more confrontational cultures. Those are cultures where we we really like a strong debate. So we really like to get to come into a room together and say, you know, I totally disagree with you. And the more we we have strong open debates, the more we feel that's good for the team and that's good for the business.
So the strong ones, right.
Are Israel, as we talked about earlier, France.
So France and Israel, the two most most confrontational cultures in the world, but also Germany, they love to have a good debate and Germany in a more factual way, but a good debate. Then on the other side of the scale, we feel that open debate or strong disagreement is really it really a way to ruin the relationship? So we don't say I disagree with you and those cultures like in the U.K. So British people towards the avoid confrontation side of the scale and in the British person, instead of saying I disagree, will almost always say I totally agree with everything you've said.
And I do a bit of that. Well, we're like taught that in therapy to do that. Yeah. Like I hear you say knowledge. Yeah, that's right.
That whole active listening thing. Yeah. So maybe I'll give you a personal example. OK, so France's second most confrontational culture in the world after Israel, the US falls to the middle of this scale. OK, so when I moved to France, I told you already my husband is French.
We went to this party, the dinner party, with a group of his French friends, and things started out fine. Partway through the meal, the group got into what I thought was a big fight.
So the hostess, this woman named Ellen, she started talking about this golf tournament that happens in their village and whether it should continue or not. So she said, my district, I'm against it. And then she said all of the reasons that she was against it. And then her best friend, Danielle, said, and then she there egoist.
You say that because you are selfish and have everybody at the table started taking aside. Some people were for it and some people were against it. And they're waving their arms and their voices are crazy. And, you know, in my culture, remember, I'm from Minnesota. Oh yeah. But in the U.S. in general, if this happened at the dinner table with guests over, you know, I would have thought this was a very bad sign.
I would have expected someone to stand up, walk out of the room, slam the door and never come back. Yeah. So I was wishing I was anywhere but there. And someone looked at me and said, well, Aaron, what do you think? And I was gonna have absolutely no opinion about this golf course.
I mean, the interesting part was that about ten minutes later, the topic changed. There were no hard feelings at the table. And then Danielle went into the the other room, arms around each other, best friends, as always. And when I got into the car with my husband that evening, you know, my French husband, I said, oh, what a horrible evening.
And I remember he looked at me and he was like, What are you talking about?
We had a really fun time tonight.
Yeah. And so have you grown towards that. So now when you're in that same situation, you've been there for twenty years, can you get to the place where you enjoy it personally?
Are you still OK?
Tell of what I can tell you is that I have a different reaction to this in business versus in my home life. In business. I mean, as a professional. Yes. Let's say I have totally adapted. So what that means is in my classrooms, when my French participants raise their hands and say, no, I totally disagree with what you've just said, and then they explain why they disagree. If that happened in the U.S., I would think, oh, this person is not happy with this class.
Yes. Or it has no respect for me.
Right. I would think. Right. That they they felt that I wasn't credible or something like that. But I know when a French person does that, that is of the utmost positive side. That means this person is totally engaged and they would like to now have a debate with the class about this fascinating topic. So I no longer have an emotional reaction to that.
But I am afraid to tell you that my husband says that luckily I eventually get over things so I would not speak to any of his cousins anymore.
But at different dinners, that type of thing has happened that well, Monica and I have had this problem in real life, which is my family will argue and scream at each other at the dinner table and it's totally fine. And I'm now realizing, you know, the patriarch of my family was was 100 percent French and a very French guy. And maybe that's where that all comes from, like just the yeah, I mean, I feel that I also grew up in a small fire because of the Indian background, but it didn't it ever result?
There were lingering feelings after. So it does make me feel good when we enter that type of comedy. Yeah, yeah.
Because I'm like, oh, no, we're just going to be upset with each other for a couple of days. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And I think that's interesting, Monica, because you might know there's this book called The Argumentative Indian, which is like written in India for Indians. Right. My Indian students have told me about it. I actually haven't read it, but my Indian students are always telling me about it. And that being said, India is rather to the avoid confrontation side of my disagreeing scale. And what I've seen is that Indians may be very like argumentative. Right. And certainly emotionally expressive.
In a family environment or when they're around people who are close to them. But then when it comes to a work environment, especially if they're working with people from other countries, they tend to really not even say no. Right. They say yes. And then pass the no between the lines by saying like like if your boss asks you to do something, that's a very common situation.
And this German guy managing a group in India and he says to his Indian staff member, you know, here's what needs to happen. Can we do this? And the Indian guy kind of said it will be difficult.
Yeah. And he explains why it will be difficult. But then he says we will do our best. Yeah. And the German guy thinks the Indians can get to work on it.
Sure. And the Indian guy thinks he has clearly just explained there is no way in hell that he has any time to do that. Yeah, it can't be done.
Well, there is a high level of respecting authority there. Right, right. So that's right. That comes into play. That totally makes sense. That's I would say for my parents in the work environment is much different than. Yeah. At the dinner table. That's right.
Very, very interesting. I'd like to come to one of your family dinners. It's all right.
Yeah. Monica and her father, they should ring a bell. Ding, ding, ding. Here we go.
It's also interesting because I'm American and my dad is from India, but my mom is also American but grew up first generation like she moved when she was six. She moved into the United States when she was six. So there is kind of a bizarre clashing of things happening as well. Probably. Yeah, for sure.
And I know this is what people always want to talk about after I give a presentation. So my book and my speeches are always about business, but afterwards people always come up to me to talk about my wife, who's from this culture, and my mother who's from that culture, because of course, this is about interpersonal relationships. And if we have multicultural families, then like me here I am American, but my children born and raised in France. Right.
And it's so strange to see your children, like, coming from a different culture than you do.
Oh, it's going to be so bizarre. Yeah, right. So this is I mean, this is the global world that we're living in. But the more global we become, the more important it is to think about these things.
Yeah, OK. We only have two left. We did really good. We have I love this. I do too. We have, we got that task. We have Julie and persuaded.
OK, scheduling we already talked about. So just quickly scheduled time. Right. Versus flexible time.
Yeah. Italian electricians versus the L.A. electrician. OK, we got it right. That dimension looks specifically at let's say in every culture we value structure in business and we value flexibility in business. But that specific dimension tells us how much a culture of values one in comparison to the other right over the other.
OK, then the last scale. Well, that one is very difficult for me to to talk about in a couple of minutes. I think it's one of the most important dimensions, but also most of them are the most complicated. So it looks at the difference between what what I call application first versus principle first cultures. It's based on the idea of induction, which is application first versus deduction, which is principle first. And like in a country like Italy or Spain or Brazil or France or Germany, they really learn in their school system this system of first looking at all of the theory and the philosophy before coming to any kind of conclusion or action, like a holistic view of the whole thing.
Well, like we can't do a math problem about PI until we've proven pi. So, like, if you're studying math in application, first culture, like the U.S., the U.S. is a strong application for a culture. So that means we open up our math book to page one, chapter one, and we start by getting a sample problem. We get a clear formula and then we take the. Formula, and we apply it to real life situations, so in the American school system, we spend a lot of time looking at real life situations, at case studies, at practical application.
So we're really focused on, like, application first. Yeah. And we don't like to spend too much time and we learn that in school, but definitely in business, we don't like to spend too much time like talking about the theory. Right. We want to get to action. Yeah. Yeah. In comparison to especially many other Latin cultures, but like Latin America and also Latin European cultures or countries like Germany where we really feel we can't get to application.
So you open up your math book, page one, chapter one. Can we wrestle with the theory behind the math and the philosophy behind the math? And it's only after we've kind of proven those principles that we then can come to application.
So I kind of like that because I can see the value in it, which is in a weird way, it's getting you to buy in like, OK, I think this is a noble pursuit. Now, how do we do it? I see some value in that, like deciding almost that you would want to pursue this. Why would you?
Sure. And of course, so in the French schooling system, they teach introduction thesis, antithesis synthesis. So that's very deep into the French mind versus in the U.S. where we teach.
Get to the point and stick to the point. Yeah. So how that plays out would be that, like if I an American, I'm giving a presentation in Germany. So Germany more principle first, the U.S. more application first, then I'm going to start on my first slide by getting right to the point.
Yeah. We waste three billion a year on rivets. This is what we waste and this is my recommendation for how to move forward. You try this in Germany. Wait, wait. But you know, how many people did you poll? What questions did you ask? What methodology did you use for analyzing the data? And then the American thinks they're challenging my credibility.
Yeah. Yeah. Or they're wasting my time, right? Yeah.
Oh, and also the German thinks this American woman thinks I'm stupid, that I'll just swallow anything can just give me this, like, conclusion and I'm not even going to think about it.
Oh, can I really identify with this? I'm so annoying. I'm so disagreeable. My wife can't stand it like we got to do X, Y and Z. I go, OK, but back up. Why are we doing X, Y and Z? I got to believe in this before I get involved in the planning of it. I can really relate.
And then also, of course, what happens on the other side would be if you have someone from, oh, Brazil or Mexico or Italy or France or Germany who is giving a presentation in the U.S., I mean, they often spend quite a bit of time quote. I get a quote from the Spanish guy last week in class. He said, My American boss said to me last week, AVR, when you give a presentation, it is not a strip show.
Oh, wow. Oh, no. Take off one piece of clothing before you eventually get to the point. You go full Monty right away. Right.
And I just thought that was a great description because in these more principle first cultures, we've really been taught. I mean, my French children have really been taught this system of how to build up till you get to the conclusion like a strip show, I guess. Yeah.
Oh, that's interesting, because that also ties back into, like time. Like, we want to just get to the point. We want it to be done. Same within the scheduling, like there's no time for flexibility. We just got to like get it done in this order.
So it all kind of it all adds up.
And I would imagine the French enjoy process more than we do. Like, my big goal in life is to enjoy process, but I'm so, you know, results oriented that I often miss process, which is where your life exists.
But the French are very, very flexible. Remember that, right? OK, so they are not I mean, nothing like the Germans. Right. So Germans that love structure and process the French are more have a tendency to want to, you know, think freely and have like free associations, which I think is one of the reasons that the French culture is so creative. Right. I mean, the French like all this fashion and beauty, and that's because they're not, like, tied down with structure.
Yeah. They believe in this kind of creative cultural structure, which then leads to innovation.
But I do want to kind of wrap up that last dimension by saying that, you know, my goal is not just to, like, tell people what the differences are and say good luck, because actually, I mean, I think there are a lot of strategies that you can use, like I have learned. And, you know, it's not so difficult to just when I'm giving a presentation in Germany to always start by first. Explaining, you know, here is the methodology, here's the research I did before I get to the point and give practical examples in the same way that caviare can learn to have a slide at the beginning that says, these are my conclusions of doing this show.
Right. Yeah, we have to understand the difference in order to make the adjustment.
This is also fast. It is. Yeah. I love it. Is it just Netflix? You wrote a book with read or just involving Reed Hastings? Yeah.
So Reed and I, Reed Hastings and I co-authored a book which just came out a few months ago, which is called No Rules. Rules. I love it.
No rules. Rules. No rules. Rules, no rules.
Rules. Maybe you should have put a Z at the end of the second bill. That would have made it really clear.
I've had to explain that because they're around the world. They haven't understood it because they think it means rules for no rules.
That's what I thought when I read it. And it's been translated wrong. The title has been translated wrong, but too late.
You could have solved it with a Z. I could. You should have called me. I never thought of losing anything. Right. So so that book, we will it's a whole nother story. We'll have to do that another day. But the book is about the crazy corporate culture at Netflix and how this counterintuitive culture has led to this extreme flexibility and innovation. And what other companies or entrepreneurs are team leaders who want to have more innovation and flexibility, what they can do to achieve that.
But yeah, the reason that I became interested in Netflix and this is only actually the last chapter of the book, was because they had this crazy culture that had one attribute, which was all about candor. So Reid contacted me because they were getting ready to internationalize the company. Right. It was the end of 2015 and they were getting ready to roll out into other parts of the world. So I started working with them as they got ready for their international expansion.
And I was very concerned. I was very concerned about how this kind of edgy, provocative culture that was working fabulously in the U.S., that how that was going to play out in Japan and Singapore and Brazil. So I'll leave it to your readers. They can learn about that on their own. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The no rules rules. Exactly.
Well, Aaron, you're so interesting in this stuff is so, so fascinating. Yeah. I is joining us in the evening over there and in France.
My pleasure. Nice to talk with both of you. Is a lot of fun.
Take care. Bye bye.