Home' HR Monthly : July 2015 Contents 30
DOS AND DON’TS IN ASIA
Appointments: Send agendas and proposals ahead, translated into the
local language. It shows respect for your foreign colleagues.
Time: In Japan and China, in particular, be punctual. Lateness can be
viewed as an insult.
Greetings: The way you begin a meeting sets the tone and can have a
profound effect on subsequent negotiations. In Japan and China, it’s better
to wait to be introduced rather than introducing yourself.
A handshake is the norm in international business, but the traditional
form of greeting in A sia is the bow.
Eye contact: Strong eye contact in western cultures is a sign of sincerity
and trustworthiness. But in Japan, prolonged eye contact is considered
rude. Japanese maintain an impassive expression while speaking and
interpret frowning, for example, as a sign that you disagree with them.
Gestures: A thumbs up signal in Thailand is to be avoided as it is
considered a childish gesture, equivalent to sticking out your tongue.
Curling your finger as a way of signalling someone to come nearer is a
derogatory gesture in many Asian countries. Crossing your fingers as a
sign of good luck is an obscene gesture in Vietnam
Crossed legs: In Thailand and Indonesia, it is of fensive for the foot of an
upper crossed leg to be pointing towards someone, as it is the lowest par t
of the body. In an Islamic culture, bouncing your foot while crossed-legged
and facing someone is perceived as threatening or accusatory. Crossing
your arms or leaning back in a chair is also viewed as adopting a defensive
position, or a sign of revulsion.
Shaking your head from side to side signifies agreement in A sia, but it
has the opposite meaning in the rest of the world.
Gift-giving: In Indonesia, Japan and China, exchanging gifts is an
integral par t of business negotiations and shouldn’t be seen as briber y.
Reciprocation is important, as is the quality of the gift.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world and, as
alcohol is forbidden in Islam, give it only if you know it will be appreciated.
Similarly, food products given to Muslims should be halal.
A gift should be offered with both hands in China and Japan, and with
only the right hand to a Muslim or Hindu. Gifts are generally not opened
Superstition: In China, white is the colour of mourning and should be
avoided, especially in gift packaging. Red, the colour of prosperity and
authority, is favoured.
Never give a clock as a gift, because it’s associated with funerals, but
a watch is fine. A green hat is also unwelcome as it means a man’s wife
is being unfaithful. Chinese believe the number four is bad luck, and 14
is even worse. Numerals three and eight are good. It’s no accident that
the telephone numbers of western hotels in Chinese cities contain the
numerals 8888. They want their customers to feel good.
Feature: Cultural CompetenCy
“showing that you have made the effort builds trust,” she says.
Verghese agrees and says he always encourages his Australian
clients to learn at least a few words in a foreign client’s language.
“people absolutely respond to this.”
even when doing business in english, there’s a need to be mindful
of cultural differences.
“in Australian culture, we ask questions and expect direct
answers,” says Verghese. “other cultu res, such as Japanese or
korean, tend to respond more indirectly.”
He cites the question: “can you do this by the end of the week?”
as an example. the answer might be: ‘We’ll try the best we can’.
“if we don’t hear the word ‘no’, we expect it’s a ‘yes’,” he says.
in the chinese context, says chan, “whatever you see, hear or
read, you need to wait and ask the same question again in order
to verify. this is because chinese people learn english formally,
and while they’re speaking or writing english, they are still
thinking in chinese.”
chan, who’s multilingual, doesn’t underestimate the challenges
of learning another language. “ideally, you need an emotional
connection to another culture, which might be a relationship with
a person, with music, with art or religion. it’s about the heart, not
the head. ultimately, though, you need to speak the language of the
people who hold the money.”
Babani says AnZ’s successes in the Asia-pacific are due in part to
the cultural competency of its existing executives, which stems from
a deliberate policy of selection and promotion, to reflect the bank’s
customer base and the countries they operate in.
“AnZ always looks to recruit locally and to develop local people
to run local operations,” she says. “this helps retain local talent
because they can see there’s a future for them at AnZ.”
Anyone wanting to reach senior levels at AnZ needs to gain
experience outside their home continent, she says. “ We’re quite
explicit about this with our top jobs. cultural capability won’t
happen by accident or just because you want it to. you have to
work at it, across the whole spectru m. We believe that cultural
competency is a core competitive, strategic advantage – if you can
get it right.”
chan agrees. “H r people should find ways to help ceos and
business owners learn that culture competency is a critical soft
skill,” he says. “it takes a decision-maker with savoir faire to
understand that culture is important.”
Dr tom Verghese will be presenting the session, ‘Developing leaders
with cultural intelligence’ at the AHri national convention in
August. registration closes thursday 13 August.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from local and global thought leaders on the latest developments from
the profession and the big ideas of business. You’ll discover new ideas and thinking for the strategic plans
of your HR department and organisation.
THE MUST ATTEND HR EVENT OF 2015
registration closes thursday 13 august 2015.
MAiN cONFERENcE pROgRAM
Group Executive HR
& Office of the CEO,
Manager, People &
Global business advisor and author
Gamification, big data and social
media for HR
Professor at the Ross School of
Business, University of Michigan,
and partner at RBL Group
pUBLic SEcTOR HR SYMpOSiUM
THE HON. JOHN LLOYD PSM
Australian Public Service
18/06/2015 2:36 pm
Links Archive June 2015 August 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page