Bisnis Asia

Why cultural understanding has GOT to be on a business' to-do list

04 November 2020 | By Hailey Pham

An Australian walks into an Indonesian meeting room – but lacks the skill to do the meeting well.

The experience is familiar: an Australian walks into an Indonesian meeting room. 

The meeting was supposed to start at 11am, however he arrived at 10:30 to make sure he was not late. He made small talk to a few others in the room while waiting, and it was not until 11:30am that several senior people walked into the room, said hello and sat down.

Once the introductions were over the Australian wasted no more of anyone’s time and made his pitch.

The 30 minute conversation went well with the senior Indonesians saying that the product offering was interesting and they would be in touch.

Months pass, there is no word from the Indonesians despite having sent three emails.  To the Australian this is a clear sign that there is no potential deal and he gives up on taking it any further.

What went wrong?

If your goal is to improve transnational growth, then learning the business culture of another country is vital to getting a return on investment.

Indonesians have a very different dynamic in their business relationships, and a smarter approach in that meeting room can lead to a more successful outcome. 

At our recent Beyond Batik webinar workshop we heard that being aware to cultural sensitivities is a core skill for a successful business.  

“The main thing is to keep that relationship going, even if you don’t hear back from them,” said Director at Key Options Tracey Monahan, who spoke at the event.

Ms Monahan said it took her 12 months to close a deal in Indonesia. She said it is easy to give up after spending a long time waiting for a transaction to happen.

But she knew she had to maintain a relationship over a long period of time.

At Bisnis Asia we are committed to helping you build the skills and knowledge needed to go into a culturally sensitive market.

We show you why cultural understanding has got to be on your do-list to optimise a return on investment. (It’s why we collaborated with Austrade to present for their online showcase on the new IA-CEPA trade agreement.) 

Learn how one of our affordable services can help you – online training modules, peer-to-peer workshops and business strategy alignment.

“The main thing is to keep that relationship going, even if you don’t hear back from them.” – Tracey Monahan, Director at Key Options

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