When in business, or even in your daily life, if you want to be successful you need to consider those around you and make a decision about the possibility of molding yourself and your business to fit in with the local norm. You won’t have to adopt local standards for every business, but for most, you will need to do so.
Let’s face it, if you are in the business of becoming a clown at local kid’s birthday parties, you won’t want to change into the local norm. The kids probably won’t be too excited if you come to the party in a business suit. But, for other businesses, if you show up in a clown suit, you probably won’t get the job!
As you probably all know, I am an American, but I live in the Philippines. If I tried to do everything the American way, most local people probably wouldn’t hire me to do local jobs. If I try to blend a little of the Filipino way into my business, though, I am more likely to be successful. I don’t have to be totally Filipino in my ways, as a matter of fact, if I did I probably would lose some of my value.
For instance, if I was doing business consulting locally, the local businessman might be hiring me so that he can get a bit more of American style business-practice into his business. However, if I went totally American it might turn him off. For example, here in the Philippines, the day is broken up between work, and three different breaks. In the mid-morning, they have “merienda” which means snacks. Then, at noon there is lunch, followed by the afternoon merienda around mid-afternoon time. In America, if it is a busy day, the businessman might work straight through the day without even taking a lunch break. If I consulted a business here to do that, they would be aghast and probably fire me. If they accepted my advice and instituted such a schedule many employees would quit. But, if I choose to adopt these important Filipino customs into my American style business methods, it might be a hit, and help the Filipino businessman make a better living.
You have probably heard the old saying – “When in Rome, do as the Romans do…” well, you don’t have to go 100%, but it is just a good idea to incorporate some of the Roman ways into the way you do business. The results might surprise you!