Tag Archives: France

American Culture: The Non Vacation Nation


OECD Countries Blue

Who get the most paid vacation ? Check this list Minimum Employment Leave By Country

France is one extreme with minimum 5 weeks vacation up to 8 weeks when combined with various holidays and compensation time when you work more than 35 hours /week.

United States is the other extreme, being the only developed economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation or holidays. As a result, 1 in 4 U.S. workers do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays.

How does this translate in term of productivity ? You can see in this table compiled by the OECD on Labour productivity levels in the total economy  that France is very close to the US with GDP per hour worked as % of USA (USA=100) = 97.9

But does GDP a good indicator of well-being, quality of life and  happiness ?

What You Measure Affects What You Do-Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize in Economics

The OECD has developed a tool called the Better Life Index using various parameters such as housing, jobs or health. They have designed an interesting interactive map that you can use to select the parameters that are important to you and compare how various countries perform: http://oecdbetterlifeindex.org/

So if you just take one parameter such as “life satisfaction” , the results are better for the U.S. than for France:

For the United States, the self-reported life satisfaction has been rising over the last decade. In recent polling, 70% were satisfied with their life and 80% believe that their life will be satisfying five years later. 76% of people in the United States reported having more positive experiences in an average day(feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%.

For France, in recent polling, 51% were satisfied with their life and 64% believe that their life will be satisfying five years later. This is however a very low ranking when compared to other high-performing economies in the OECD. 73% of people in France reported having more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is close to the OECD average of 72%.

The self-evaluation has some biases however as French are more critical and less prone to give positive feedback than the Americans.

You can also see the ranking of countries for work-life balance :  People in France people work 1554 hours a year, lower than the OECD average of 1739 hours. People in the United States work 1768 hours a year, higher than the OECD average of 1739 hours. In theory the less hours you work the better you can balance your life but this is not counting the fact that working more and getting paid more can help you buy some time and the United States has a great culture of services to individuals.

In Conclusion: Don’t rely on simple numbers to decide your next international assignment. There are so many cultural factors to include on top of economical data, that you better talk to people who have lived or are working in the country you are interested in to get some information. If your company does not provide pre-departure cultural training, you may need to hire an expat coach to help you make your decision. Here the link to the Expat Coaching Directory.

Personally I think the quality of life in the U.S. is better than France but lower than Japan

Real experience is what matters, can you tell your story about living abroad ?

Related Articles:

How To Understand Cross-Cultural Communication ?


This blog has been inspired by an article published  by Rana Sinha How to understand cross-cultural analysis?. I have summarized Rana’s key ideas and added my own sources of information

Origins and Evolution of Cross-cultural Communication.

 Typically anthropologists and social scientists tend to study people and human behavior among exotic tribes and cultures living in far off places rather than do field work among white-collared literate adults in modern cities. Advances in communication and technology and socio-political changes started transforming the modern workplace yet there were no guidelines based on research to help people interact with other people from other cultures. To address this gap arose the discipline of cross-cultural analysis or cross-cultural communication. The main theories of cross-cultural communication draw from the fields of anthropology, sociology, communication and psychology and are based on value differences among cultures. Edward T. Hall, Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars, Shalom Schwartz and Clifford Geertz are some of the major contributors in this field.

[The popular ‘Iceberg model’ of culture developed by Selfridge and Sokolik, 1975 and W.L. French and C.H. Bell in 1979, identifies a visible area consisting of behaviour or clothing or symbols and artifacts of some form and a level of values or an invisible level.]

What is culture ?

 A simpler definition is ‘the unwritten rules of the social game’.

Generally culture can be seen as consisting of three elements:

  • Values – Values are ideas that tell what in life is considered important.
  • Norms – Norms consists of expectations of how people should behave in different situations.
  • Artefacts – Things or material culture – reflects the culture’s values and norms but are tangible and manufactured by man.

Most of people working with cross-cultural communication and intercultural training and coaching  have heard about the Five  Hofstede’s Intercultural Dimensions (http://www.geert-hofstede.com/).

Geert Hofstede defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another”. The “category” can refer to nations, regions within or across nations, ethnicities, religions, occupations, organizations, or the genders.

What Are The Five Hofstede’s Intercultural Dimensions ?

  1. Power Distance : Measures inequality
  2. Individualism: is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups
  3. Uncertainty Avoidance : indicates to what extent people  feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations.
  4. Masculinity/Feminity: Masculinity versus femininity, refers to the distribution of emotional roles between the genders
  5. Long-Term Orientation: Long term oriented societies foster pragmatic virtues oriented towards future rewards, in particular saving, persistence, and adapting to changing circumstances. Short-term oriented societies foster virtues related to the past and present such as national pride, respect for tradition, preservation of “face”,  and fulfilling social obligations.

What about the 5 Cultural Dimensions For the USA? 

If we explore the US culture through the lens of the 5-D Model, we can get a good overview of the deep drivers of American culture relative to other world cultures.

Power distance: The United States score low on this dimension (40)  this translates the focus on equal rights in all aspects of American society and government. Within American organizations superiors are always accessible and managers rely on individual employees and teams for their expertise.  Both managers and employees expect to be consulted and information is shared frequently.  At the same time, communication is informal, direct and participative.

Individualism: The United States, with a score of 91 on this dimension, is a highly individualistic culture.Individual freedom  is the most basic value that all Americans share. Individuals have control over their own destiny and they want to have free choices on every topics. Personal success is priority number one. Americans are expected to take initiative regarding education, employment, personal development or well-being. As a consequence, Americans are assertive and straightforward while interacting with others and sometimes labelled as arrogant by other cultures who value group interests over individual success. In the business world, employees are expected to be self-reliant and display initiative.  Also, within the exchange-based world of work, hiring and promotion decisions are based on merit or evidence of what one has done or can do.

Masculinity/Feminity: The United States score 62 on this dimension and is considered a “masculine” society driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the “winner” or “best-in-the-field.” This value system starts in school and continues throughout one’s life – both in work and leisure pursuits.
There are strong shared values that people should “strive to be the best they can be” and that “the winner takes all”. As a result, Americans will tend to display and talk freely about their “successes” and achievements in life, here again, another basis for hiring and promotion decisions in the workplace. Typically, Americans “live to work” so that they can earn monetary rewards and obtain higher status based on how good one can be.  Conflicts are resolved at the individual level and the goal is to win.

Uncertainty avoidance: The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? The US scores 46 on this dimension and therefore, American society is what one would describe as “uncertainty accepting.” Consequently, there is a larger degree of acceptance for new ideas, innovative products and a willingness to try something new or different, whether it pertains to technology, business practices, or foodstuffs.  Americans tend to be more tolerant of ideas or opinions from anyone and allow the freedom of expression.  At the same time, Americans do not require a lot of rules and are less emotionally expressive than higher-scoring cultures.

Long-term orientation: The United States scores 29 on this dimension and is a short-term oriented culture.  American businesses measure their performance on a short-term basis, with profit and loss statements being issued on a quarterly basis.  This also drives individuals to strive for quick results within the work place.  There is also a need to have the “absolute truth” in all matters.

How France Compares with the US ?

Power distance: In France, hierarchy is needed the superiors may have privileges and are often inaccessible. The power is highly centralized in France. In management, the attitude towards managers is more formal, the information flow is hierarchical. The way information is controlled is even associated with power, therefore unequally distributed.  

Individualism: France scores high on the individualistic index but lower than the U.S.  This means that the French favor individual and private opinions, taking care of themselves and immediate family rather than belonging to a group. In the work environment, the relationship with work is contract based, the focus is on the task and autonomy is favored. The communication is direct  but much less than in the U.S.

Masculinity/Feminity With 43, France is a relatively Feminine country and so very different from the U.S.With its famous welfare system (securité sociale), their 35 working hours/week and 5 weeks holidays per year, France cares for its quality of life and focuses more on work in order to live than the reverse. Competition amongst work colleagues is usually not favored. Material signs of success, especially flashy ones, should not be too visible.

Uncertainty Avoidance: France has one the highest scores on the Uncertainty Avoidance Index. Certainty is reached through academic work and concepts. Teachings and trainings are more inductive. In management structure, rules and security are welcome and if lacking, it creates stress. Therefore planning is favored, some level of expertise welcome, when change policies on the other hand are considered stressful.

Long-term orientation: At 39 France is a short-term oriented society. This means a great respect for tradition as well as a need for norms and absolute truth as guidelines. In terms of business this short-term orientation focuses on quick results. Consumption is driven by immediate gratification, sensitivity to social trends and rituals.

Managing and organizational culture

Managing international business means handling both national and organization culture differences at the same time. Common organization cultures across borders are what holds multinationals together.The cultural differences between nations are especially found on the deepest level; i.e. on the level of values. In comparison, cultural differences among organisations are especially identified on the level of practices. Practices are more tangible than values. Organisational Culture can be defined as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one organisation from others”

Read more about building third culture teams: https://zestnzen.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/how-to-lead-highly-effective-third-culture-teams/

Aims of cross-cultural analysis

Cross-cultural communication or inter cultural communication looks at how people from different cultural backgrounds try to communicate. It also tries to produce some guidelines, which help people from different cultures to better communicate with each other. Culture has an interpretative function for the members of a group, which share that particular culture. Although all members of a group or society might share their culture, expressions of culture-resultant behavior are modified by the individuals’ personality, upbringing and life-experience to a considerable degree. Cross-cultural analysis aims at harnessing this utilitarian function of culture as a tool for increasing human adaptation and improving communication.

Cross-cultural management is seen as a discipline of international management focusing on cultural encounters, which aims to discover tools to handle cultural differences seen as sources of conflict or miss-communication.

Beside Geert’s model, Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner (1997) model expands the core level of the very basic two-layered model, rather than the outer level. In their view, culture is made up of basic assumptions at the core level. These ‘basic assumptions’ are somewhat similar to ‘values’ in the Hofstede model. Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner use seven dimensions for their model of culture:

    • Universalism vs Particularism (what is more important – rules or relationships?)
    • Individualism vs Communitarianism (do we function in a group or as an individual?)
    • Neutral vs Emotional (do we display our emotions or keep them in check?)
    • Specific vs Diffuse (how far do we get involved?)
    • Achievement vs Ascription (do we have to prove ourselves to gain status or is it given to us just because we are a part of a structure?)
    • Attitude to Time
      • Past- / present- / future-orientatedness
      • Sequential time vs Synchronic time(do we do things one at a time or several things at once?)
    • Internal vs External Orientation (do we aim to control our environment or cooperate with it?)

Criticism of current models

One of the weaknesses of cross-cultural analysis has been the inability to transcend the tendency to equalize culture with the concept of the nation state. A nation state is a political unit consisting of an autonomous state inhabited predominantly by a people sharing a common culture, history, and language or languages. In real life, cultures do not have strict physical boundaries and borders like nation states. Its expression and even core beliefs can assume many permutations and combinations as we move across distances.

There is some criticism in the field that this approach is out of phase with global business today, with transnational companies facing the challenges of the management of global knowledge networks and multicultural project teams, interacting and collaborating across boundaries using new communication technologies.

Some writers like Nigel Holden (2001) suggest an alternative approach, which acknowledges the growing complexity of inter- and intra-organizational connections and identities, and offers theoretical concepts to think about org

Do You Work Too Hard ? Some Cultural Perspectives


Icon for recentism

Image via Wikipedia

Do you think that the number of hours you spend at work is related to well-being , happiness and better health ?

I came across an article from us.cnn.com comparing the number of hours spent on work and well-being, putting in parallel the American and European working habits as well as regulations. The conclusion of the article is that Americans are intrinsically workaholics and  have much more problems to get a healthy work-life balance than Europeans. Source: America can learn from Europe on work-life balance.

I think the article is a bit idealistic about work conditions in Europe, especially for global executives. In France for example despite the official 35 working hours per week regulation, 10 weeks paid maternity leave and 5 to 8 weeks vacation, managers and executives often work more than 40-45 hours per week,  get high peer pressure to stay late at work until 8:00 or 8:30pm and are available 24/7 to work through mobile technologies like Blackberries including on vacation. So corporate culture is often more important than cross-cultural perception on work-life balance.

 

This is the result of globalization and international executives do not benefit much from local working regulations regardless where they officially live.

 

How much you earn has also an impact on your job satisfaction. If you work less and get less paid you might not be able to pay for child care for example or as two working parents you may pay too much taxes, forcing one parent to quit job. This is often the case in Germany or Sweden for example. So you may end up becoming a miserable stay-at home parent because you did not really choose to be one.

Although I agree that not taking enough rest is killing productivity and may increase health problems, I think you have to make a distinction between quantity and quality.

If you really love what you do and are in a state of mind called “flow” then the number of hours you work is not related to stress. If you are in a working place where your boss is micromanaging or bullying you and you get upset or resentful then you have high level of stress and higher probability to become sick and each additional hour is increasing your pain.

The concept of “flow” or “optimal experience” has been introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a psychologist making connections between satisfaction and daily activities in his book: ” Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience“. Do you know how to recognize the state of “flow” ? Usually you are so engaged by what you do that you ignore the time you spend on a particular activity, you are intrinsically rewarded by what you do and truly happy. Seems simple isn’t it ?  So why do you think you work too hard then ?

Maybe you think you work too hard because you are in the wrong job ?

I suggest you spend some time to figure out what is good for YOU, what makes you truly happy ? Maybe you need to change your work environment and align what you do with  who you really are and your life purpose rather than focusing on the number of hours you work.

Do you think you have no choice ?

Well think again, in each situation you have choices ! Yes you do !   I am absolutely convinced that thinking that you have no choice is  giving you much more stress than working long hours on something you chose to do.

So do you think you work too hard because you have no choice or because you are in the wrong job ?

Please share your  opinion and experience :

  • When did you feel the most miserable at work, why ? 
  • How did you change your situation.? 
  • Do you think  money too is related to happiness at work ?
  • Your general thoughts about job happiness and cultures ?

 

Related articles

Five Mistakes People Make Reading Your Body Language


Those are typical  mistakes people make all the time especially in a multicultural context.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

For example while I was working in Japan,  looking straight in the eyes of a Japanese business person would be considered as very impolite and aggressive.

It was also common to interpret  Japanese closing eyes during meetings as sleeping which might be true, but in most cases the person was concentrating on the English words.

It is  only by working and living  in a country long enough that you can get clues of culture-driven body language. On top there are also regional and individual specific body gestures.

Salutations are really cultural. For example  Americans will hug you even in business setting which can be embarrassing  for  Japanese who don’t touch and bow. The level of bowing is based on seniority the younger you are the lower you have to bow! In Europe kisses on the cheeks are common even at work and between same gender, two kisses in the south of France but 4  kisses for Parisians!

P.S. On Linkedin group: Linked:HR (#1 Human Resources Group) there is a discussion on body language  in interviews started by Shrradha Parekh and this video was submitted by Allison Dolan .

 

The Secret Powers of Time and Cultural Differences


Clock

In the video below you will see interesting perspectives of time perception through the eyes of different cultures, countries, generations, religions.

According to Professor Philip Zimbardo, people look differently at time based on cultural and individual values:

  • Focused on the past  (negative or positive): people remember all the good old times, successes, happy birthdays while other people focus
    only on regrets, failure and all the
    things that went wrong.
  • Focused on the present ( hedonists and fatalists) the hedonists live for pleasure and avoid pain. The fatalists are present oriented because they say, “It doesn’t pay to plan”  My life is fated by my religion – fated by my poverty – fated by the conditions that I’m living under.”
  • Focused on the future depending on your religion life begins after
    the death of the mortal body. To be future oriented you have to trust that when you make a decision about the future it’s going to be carried out. For example : If you have great inflation you
    don’t put money in the bank because you can’t trust the future.
  • Sense of duration : how much time has expired while you’re sitting in a dentist’s office before they start drilling? How much time has expired when you’ve been waiting in line? how much time has expired when you’re having fun? Time duration is totally a function of whether you’re bored, in pain, excited or not.
  • Pace of life: for some people time is money and think it must be spent wisely and are multi-tasking oriented,  while for others, time is not limited and they focus more on people and building relationships than being on time for an appointment.

With these perspectives in mind, I found interesting to compare time perception between North Americans and Europeans as there are huge differences.

Most Europeans enjoyed more than 4 weeks of vacation per year:  almost 8 weeks in France or  6 weeks in Germany in addition to bank holidays. In America, the majority of small business owners work seven days a week and more than 12 hours per day and many American employees have only 2 week or even less vacation.  In the United States,most  people can be reached by their company even when they are on holiday. Thanks to the smart phones and other tablets, Europeans employees too can be reached during non business hours but it is tolerated that they don’t answer during their private time.

In many European countries paid maternity leave is 4 weeks before delivery and about 6 weeks after. In the US I have seen many women working until one day before delivery and going back to work few days after the baby was born.

It is not uncommon to see French spending 2 hours for a business lunch and even more for a dinner and Germans have a break and get breakfast  at work around 10 am.

I lived and worked in Manhattan and the contrast is big, people walk faster than in Paris. Most people  go to a salad bar or get  a sandwich and eat in front of their computer. Almost everywhere in America,  you have business lunch meetings where employees have pizzas and coffee available while listening and talking.

In the United States, most shops and restaurants are open on Saturdays and Sundays and you can shop 24/7  if you want. This is same in Japan but in many European countries, almost everything is closed Sundays and in Belgium most restaurants are closed for lunch on Saturdays.

You can watch the whole lecture by Professor Philip Zimbardo here:

:

http://www.thersa.org/events/video/archive/philip-zimbardo-the-secret-powers-of-time

 

How To Select A School Before Moving Abroad ?


In my previous article “How To Meet People You Don’t Know” I was talking how to overcome your  fears about networking with strangers and strategies to meet new friends in general.

In this article, I would like to be more specific and give some tips on meeting people before you move abroad focusing on getting information about schools . In many cases expats don’t have time to visit the schools physically, so my message to new expats is:  educate yourself as much as possible before putting your destiny in the hands of relocation companies or real estate agents who do not necessarily understand what is best for you as a foreigner.

If you Google : Living in or  moving to your “destination” you will get tons of general information from history, population, climate, visas, school systems, real estate, studying  and so on which is great but easily overwhelming and sometimes very subjective.

I know the feeling : you have everything you need right in front of you on the internet but you don’t know what fits YOUR NEEDS !  So you want to talk to real people and make personal contacts living in the places of your choice.

How To Choose A Place To Live  With Children? Searching criteria about schools and neighborhoods that match your needs  is the first thing you will need.

Here  some questions you may ask yourself:

  • Do you want a public or a private school ?
  • Looking for International Baccalaureate programs PYP, MYP or IB  ?Those programs are recognized around the world and ensure adaptability and mobility for IB students.
  • Are you looking for a competitive or caring environment?
  • Do you have kids with learning disability or ADHD ?
  • Is the ratio student teacher important for you? for example in France 30 kids for 1 teacher is the norm
  • What about the languages ?
  • Do you want a religious school ?
  • Do you need extended day care if you work ?
  • Can you find your  children’s favorite sports and  after-school activities nearby ?
  • Do you need school bus?
  • What is the maximum time you want to spend on commute ?
  • Do you need public transportation?
  • How close is the nearest International airport?
  • How long do you plan to stay ?
  • Do you want to buy or rent a house or apartment?
  • What is the  average home sale prices ? Even if you don’t buy you will pay local taxes and living in a $1 million  average sale district will cost you more than a 400,00 but may have better schools.
  • How much are the local taxes ?

Before contacting anybody I suggest you put everything that you want and  that you don’t want  as well as an “I don’t know” in specific  lists.

Even if you want your children in private international schools, learn about the public school systems as in most cases your address will determine which schools you can go . This is the case in France and US for example. It is wise to live in a sector that has best rating public schools in case you need to become locals and cannot afford the high fee of an international school. On top of that, you want your kids to play with local kids and make sure you have a nice environment that suits your lifestyle

Once you have located the school districts look at homes that you can afford and are available for rent or to buy so you have your list ready to contact people living in the towns you think are a good fit for you.

You can get information directly from people living in your destination by posting questions on expat forums. I suggest you visit “expat expert” , Robin Pascoe’s website and look at her list of Links : http://www.expatexpert.com/ . Do not hesitate to engage  in personal conversations from people living in your target area who write a blog, post on Twitter, Facebook ,  Linkedin, Viadeo or Internations.org.

Here some information about school systems I have experimented with my son now in 3rd grade (CE2):

Schools In France: http://www.french-school-expat-guide.com

Schools In  Japan: Since most people who are first moving with family do not speak the local language, putting your child in a local Japanese school might not be possible. For young children however, if you cannot afford international schools and if you are working, I know a lot of  foreigners who put their children in local Japanese public daycare/preschools called  Hoikuen.  If you are students with kids, some universities have on campus nursery schools. You also need to check the enrollment procedures in your district(Ward). For older kids starting elementary schools and above,  you might check with your embassy resources about education.

Schools and neighborhoods in the USA: It is amazing how much information is available as free public statistics: you can compare schools and towns based on People, Cost of Living, Economy, Ethnicity, Housing, Health, Crime, Climate,
Education, Transportation, Religion, Voting etc.

Compare places to live:

What To Learn From A Brand That Is Trusted Globally?


Starbucks logo

Image via Wikipedia

Why Paying a coffee at Starbucks 3$ while you could get a good coffee at your local Deli or coffee shop for 99 cts?

This is not only the taste, price does not matter because you don’t drink coffee,  it is the “Starbucks Experience: Everywhere in the world Starbucks use the same design with subtle adjustments to local cultures but the offer is basically the same everywhere:  lounge-music, sandwiches and cakes, mugs with the city name and other accessories. The beverage pricing is “fixed” in local currency, 3$ for a “Tall” coffee in Atlanta or New York and 3 Euros in Paris. This means in Paris it is about 30% overvalued against the dollar.

Starbucks has a global blog with access to many countries’ pages translated in local languages.

For sure Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir and all the ” Parisian Rive-Gauche”  intellectual  elite would be horrified to know that the “Quartier Latin”,  where the French cultural revolution took place in 1968,  has already three lounges from the American coffee company around “Place Saint-Michel” . There are 50 Starbucks in Paris:  http://www.starbucks.com/blog/ah-paris! . Read more about Starbucks in France from an American Expat in France.

The customers look more or less the same in big cities: You will see in New-York or Paris, moms with babies in strollers who socialize for the whole afternoon, students writing their essays on their laptops or workers indulging in high Kcal cakes with a “Non-fat Grande Latte” or a double-shot espresso posting some pictures on Facebook or tweeting while checking their emails at lunch break. All Starbucks have a WIFI connection.

Starbucks Coffee Company has 15,000 coffee lounges in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Rim all of them offering the same concept. For some travelers, finding a Starbucks in Qatar or Tokyo is a way to be in a known territory, feel connected with both the other clients and  the “partners” (staff) even if they are 3,000 kilometers away from their home.

Starbucks’ mission statements is almost the same everywhere slightly localized to local customers’ values but not much as you can see from he missions statements I translated from Starbucks’ blog’s country pages:

In France : We are committed to providing the best coffee in the world and the best tasting experience to our customers while managing our business in order to contribute to changing social, economic and ecological communities where we operate.

In the US: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Starbucks is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business.

In Brazil: The mission of Starbucks is more than words on a piece of paper. It is the philosophy that guides the way we do business in our day-to-day. To establish Starbucks as the premier provider of the finest coffees in the world, without ever compromising their principles throughout our growth process.

Here the six main principles and values that drive Starbucks’ business globally:

#1 Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

#2 Embrace diversity as an essential component of the way we do business.

#3 Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting, preparation and delivery of our coffee.

#4 Generate enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time.

#5 Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.

#6 Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

What can we learn from Starbucks to set up a personal global brand ?

1-Same principles apply for  Starbucks and your global personal brand: be yourself everywhere with the minimum of cultural adjustments in your communication strategy:  use your target audience’s  language and key words but your value offer  remains the same globally.

2-Define your global target audience your target customers’ profile  might slightly differ from one country to another but you should feel “connected”  through their values and principles otherwise your concept or unique selling point cannot work globally.

3-Values shape actions: yours and those of your stakeholders: clients, partners, employees, employers, subordinates, etc. Craft your value proposition based on who you are and what your are best at doing ?  Be aware of your perceived image in different countries: choose your target carefully. Write your personal mission statement that identify what you do that is unique for a company or a client to hire you: Combine your unique attributes+ benefits for your target audience:  Here is mine (not perfect but the key elements are there) :

“I am a professional coach with 20 years of international business management in Fortune 500 global companies in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, inspiring global executives to reach their full potential by leveraging difference for excellence while inventing their futures”

4-Communicate with cultural sensitivity your global offer :  Be aware of local customs and your competitors’ offer locally but if your concept has a true global value, then competition does not matter, at least if you are the first on the market. In France be formal, always use Mrs. or Mrs for first contact, in US you can use first name even if you don’t know the person. If you apply for a local job in Japan, use Japanese only if you are fluent,  in most cases International Japanese or foreign-owned companies are looking for a specific expertise and English fluency. If you have the time to learn and become fluent do, but if you can only learn “survival Japanese” to break the ice that is fine as in business settings a translator will probably be used even if your partner is fluent in English.

%d bloggers like this: