“The assumption that there are universal ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving around the world is misguided.”
Over the last four decades, Asia has been the primary engine of global economic growth. This year the economy in India is expected to grow more than 6 percent, according to the IMF and OECD. China, now the world’s largest economy in purchasing-power-parity terms, is sitting on
$15 trillion in bank deposits, growing at $2 trillion annually. And since opening its borders to global trade in 2012, Myanmar, formerly Burma, is creating an extraordinary entrepreneurial environment owing to its “greenfield” advantage: a rare opportunity to build a fit-for-purpose economy to suit the modern world.
What does this mean for global leaders? According to SHARON SCHWEITZER, an expert in intercultural communication and international etiquette, Asia’s economic force signifies a call to action: executives, entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders, whether they presently do business in Asia or not, would be well served to become culturally smart about their Asian counterparts. Only then, as opportunities knock, can they build successful, long-lasting business relationships.
Schweitzer recently made this task simpler and easier. In her new book Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Guide to Building Trust, Inspiring Respect, and Creating Long-Lasting Business Relationships (Wiley, 2015), she offers a one-stop guidebook to intercultural relationship building and international etiquette in 10 Asian countries: China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Additionally, she explores the U.S. business culture for any leader seeking a deeper understanding of the United
Country by country, Schweitzer leaves no stone unturned. In Access to Asia she addresses it all-from belief systems to business etiquette, customs to communication styles. She also share. advice and anecdotes from interviews with more than 100 business professionals and regional gurus. The result: a unique, user-friendly manual to help leaders gain cultural awareness and succeed in the relationship business in Asia.
A guiding theme in Access to Asia is Schweitzer’s fundamental eight-question framework. For each one of the 10 Asian countries featured, leaders can go on a functional fact-finding mission:
1. How do people prefer to act-individually or as a group?
2. How are power and authority viewed?
3. How do people compare rules and relationships?
4. How do people regard time?
5. How do people communicate-directly or indirectly?
6. How formal or informal do people tend to be?
7. How aligned are people’s social and business lives?
8. How is the concept of women in business handled?