We’ll be approaching France and Eastern European business relationships based on the following areas of business: Trusting, Disagreeing, Scheduling and last, but not least, Persuading.
Time, energy and effort are consumed in the process of gaining trust. The notions of cognitive trust and affective trust generate a relative scale on which France is placed towards around the middle, are well balanced – but with a slight preference for the affective kind of trust. Cognitive trust is based on the confidence you have in a person’s accomplishments, skills and reliability, whereas affective trust arises from feelings of closeness and empathy.
The French will do their best to cultivate a relaxed business environment as they tend to prefer affective trust. Eastern Europeans also value a true partnership. As outsourcees, they will always do their best to maintain a good business relationship. But in order to stay motivated and productive, they will also need the flexibility and freedom of decision making, regardless of how the French bosses invest them with trust via business empathy.
Closing the gap:
Don’t mistake the Eastern European flexibility with lack of seriousness. If the basic criteria are met, invest your business partner with your trust, until you have proof of the opposite. Allow your outsourcees to be innovative and try to go the extra mile when it comes to team buildings or business dinners.
Regarding businesses, on a scale between confrontational and non-confrontational, the French fall on the confrontational extreme – you can earn their trust easier, but they will have high demands and that trust can be lost just as easily!
Confrontational cultures hold disagreement and debate as being positive for the team or organization. Open confrontation will not directly affect relationships in their vision. Eastern Europeans prefer to avoid confrontation, as it can be seen as negatively impacting performance. It can break group harmony and affect business relationships. This means they could need a conflict management procedure and clear guidelines to follow if a conflict arises.
Closing the gap:
When you express your disagreement towards Eastern Europeans, be constructive and only make objective comments, without diminishing anyone’s personal value. Make it clear that you are only interested in solving the problem, not in escalating a conflict. Use discernment to voice your concerns and ask about possibilities in conversation.
When it comes to business scheduling, the French-run in an M-time manner – pretty much on the same page as Eastern Europeans, which eases long-term business relationships considerably. M-time cultures (in opposition to polychronic time cultures, P-time) work with punctuality, project steps are approached in a sequential and transparent fashion. P-time cultures work with approximates, they are fluid, they adapt.
As stated, Eastern Europeans tend to prefer the M-time page, which sits absolutely well with the French. Tardiness reflects badly in a professional setting, so make sure to arrive on time or slightly early. If you’re chairing the meeting, it is more important to begin punctually.
Closing the gap:
If Eastern Europeans seem not to comply with your M-time culture, show willingness to review certain items, even if you already agreed on them. Politely ask for an explanation if schedules don’t seem to be followed. If Eastern Europeans sometimes seem not to follow the plan, it doesn’t mean they are disorganized – it is just a question of momentary perspective.
Persuasion is crucial when it comes to any kind of business, either for developing or maintaining one. There exists an „applications first” logic, in which you start with the conclusion, main idea or request and only afterward you present the arguments backing up your statement and there exists a principles first logic, which means quite the opposite. There is a focus on the how in the first type of persuading logic and a focus on the why, when using the second type.
Both the French and Eastern Europeans use the „principles first approach”, which stems out of inductive reasoning. General conclusions are reached based on a pattern of factual observations. This means that in any negotiation or presentation, they will first present the arguments, documents or data based on which they will further express their opinion/conclusion.
Closing the gap:
All written communications, video conferences and face to face meetings can be influenced by the „principles first approach”, but most good bosses should strive to get comfortable with both approaches. Eastern Europeans will all need to be left in the loop so that everyone is on the same page. When using the principles first approaches, the why behind the boss’s request must be understood – it is a top priority – and as the French like to keep things clear for both parties, collaborations will go along smoothly.
Next time we’ll be approaching the issues of Communication, Evaluation Process, Leadership and Decision Making in business conducted between Japan and Eastern Europe. Make sure to revisit our blog next week!