Showing posts with the label stereotypes

Much to know about the Dutch!

It's been almost a year since I left New York for the Netherlands. In fact, almost 15 years since I left India for the "West" (San Francisco, New York and addicted to paying high taxes but apparently not high enough as I decided after all to come to the Netherlands ;-) So, what do I know about the Dutch by now? In danger of reinforcing stereotypes n all, I plunge in... 1) They surely love to smoke. Smoking and cycling seem to be the national commuting style, with no helmets on of course. And this picture comes in family size too- often, a couple of babies are packed in at the front and the back to celebrate the economics of cycling ! 2) They do love their flowers although admittedly not the flower festival as much...I think they surrendered Keukenhof , their annual flower fest to the tourists, willingly might I add. Why on earth they wonder would they PAY to see flowers? Only the dumb tourists and expats like myself would do something so silly. Of cours

Bow when I bow: Business etiquette all the way?

Can't blame corporations for packaging culture. Anything to make a deal. It's that slight edge that you get in knowing that you cannot discuss business over dinner in Argentina or that it's not done to address your Korean client by her first name. Nuances infuse relationships. Missed nuances apparently can cost you your contract or sour your business partnership. In fact, management gurus and experts have done a great job in infusing paranoia about cultural misunderstandings in the business circuit... "... the single greatest barrier to business success is the one erected by culture. " Edward T. Hall and Mildred Reed Hall Metaphors lace this paranoia: "Culture is like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg is easy to see. This includes the visible aspects and do's and taboos of working in other cultures. The remaining huge chunk of the iceberg hidden below the surface includes the invisible aspects of a culture such as the values, traditions, experience

Culture for Dummies?

This is no joke. Believe it or not, there are "Culturally sensitive Quizzes" out there to train you to perform better in business across different cultures and nations. It's so stereotypical that it should crack you up (although obviously not intending to do so); Try it out. Check out Kwintessential ================================================= QUESTIONS SAMPLE: Cross-Cultural Quiz on Islam 1. On which day would you expect to get least business done in Muslim countries? Friday Saturday Sunday 2. Which of these would make the best gift for a Muslim client? Silk tie Perfume Watch 3. The teachings of Islam emanated from which modern day country? Palestine Saudi Arabia Egypt 4. During negotiations your counterpart keeps saying 'inshaAllah' (God willing) to each of your requests. What should you do? Accept the 'inshaAllah' mentality Demand some firm commitments Repeat the phrase but try and establish some concrete agreements 5. What is the n

Stereotypes make the world go flat!

I love stereotypes! Granted, it ruffles quite a few feathers and often for good reason. The Italians want you to know that they're more than just a bowl of pasta; the Dutch insist that they don't walk around in clogs holding tulips to their face; and the Canadians well, would appreciate it if you stopped calling them American. We expend much time and energy on how stereotypes offend. However, it's time for a new kind of PR for stereotypes. So I proclaim the following: STEREOTYPES BOND US TOGETHER Really. So listen up... One day, Paddy Irishman, Paddy Englishman, and Paddy Scotsman walked into a pub together. They proceeded to each buy a pint of Guinness. Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage, three flies landed in each of their pints and got stuck in the thick head. Paddy Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust. Paddy Scotsman fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing had happened. The Irishman,