Full Summary of The Culture MapOverviewThe culture we're in has a huge influence on how we behave. We are conditioned to see some communication styles as more desirable than others. This can lead to conflict when you don't understand a person's cultural background and worldview. Erin Meyer's eight scales will help you do this. In these key points, you'll learn how to get along with people from different parts of the world. For example, in Paris, if you see two people shouting at each other, it might not mean what you think. You'll also learn about Swedish democracy and how that relates o the Vikings' democratic style. You'll also learn how to criticize someone without offending them too much or hurting their feelings. Big Idea #1: Being a good observer is sometimes more important thanbeing a good speaker.Why is it so hard to communicate with people from other countries sometimes? We have to deal withdifferent temperaments, values and senses of humor. To navigate these situations, we should try not to bekuuki yomenai, which means someone who “cannot read the air.”There are two types of cultures when it comes to communication. The first is lowcontext, and the secondis high-context.Western cultures, such as the USA or Australia, are known for their clear and precise communication.Contrastingly, Eastern cultures like Japan and Korea have more subtle and layered forms of communication that require reading between the lines to understand what is meant.No country is all high-context or all low-context, but some are more so than others. For example, Frenchmanagers tend to be more high-context than German managers, but they're less so compared to Chinesemanagers.Different countries have different contexts, and the reason is that they each have a unique history. Japanhas had a homogenous population for thousands of years, so people became skilled at reading subtle cuesin communication.American history is much shorter than other countries' histories. It's also been influenced by immigrants,so it's important for them to be clear in their communication.In order to work well with other cultures, you need to strike a balance between listening and speaking.You should pay attention to body language when working with high-context cultures because it will giveyou insight into what they mean even if they're not saying anything explicitly.When communicating with low-context cultures, you should be as specific as possible and take time toexplain yourself clearly.When people from different cultures work together, misunderstandings are more likely to occur.Therefore, it is best to use a low-context communication style in order to reduce the number ofmisunderstandings.Big Idea #2: Be careful with your feedback; it can be offensive.When people from different cultures work together, they may have trouble understanding each other. Forexample, one person may think that another is being rude when he or she is only trying to offer feedback.To better understand how this happens, let's look at the scale of evaluating behavior:It's important to be direct in giving feedback. Some cultures do it better than others, such as Russia orIsrael. In addition, they use absolute descriptions known as upgraders to emphasize their point andcriticize in front of a group.In some cultures, like Japan and Indonesia, people are indirect communicators. They use gentle feedbackand downgraders (words such as 'kind of' or 'maybe') to get their message across, which is very differentfrom the direct style found in other places. In these cultures, criticism is given privately instead ofpublicly.If we look at the communication scale and evaluate it, we can see four groups: Low-context and directfeedback e.g., Germany High-context and direct feedback e.g., Russia Low-context and indirect feedbacke.g., USA High-context and indirect feedback e.g., Japan It's important to adjust your message whenworking with people from high context cultures such as Japan so that you don't offend them by givingthem direct or negative criticism in front of others. 5 / 9 Sometimes you should mention the positive aspects of an idea or suggestion and not talk about itsnegative points. By doing so, it will be clear to the person that you would like them to focus on thosepoints instead.You can adapt your behavior to others' feedback styles so that you're perceived as polite and supportive.Big Idea #3: Paying attention to how others convey ideas will help you bemore convincing.How do cultural backgrounds affect the way people persuade others?Let's use the persuading scale, which is deductive reasoning and consists of principles first or applicationsfirst. For example, if you want to learn a new language, you need to learn the grammatical rules beforespeaking it.In the US, Canada, and other application-first cultures, people are more focused on how to do something.In France and Italy, for example, people focus more on why they should or shouldn't do it. It's not unusualfor a French employee to be frustrated by an American boss who instructs them on how to complete atask without explaining why they're doing it.The best way to deal with these differences is to explain the principles behind your point, and then showhow they can be applied.If you're giving a presentation about your product, it's important to know who you're talking to. If they'reprinciples-first people, then talk about the benefits of that product and how it satisfies them. However, ifthey're application-first people, give practical examples on how those products are used in real lifescenarios.Big Idea #4: To be a successful leader, you must learn to adapt your style.How can acknowledging cultural styles help your workflow and leadership? To find out, let’s examinetwo cultures: egalitarian countries like Denmark or the Netherlands and hierarchical countries like Egyptor Puerto Rico. Both kinds of countries have specific communication styles, where a person's rank in thecompany will affect how well he communicates to everyone else. Denmark has little difference betweenthe manager and his employees, while in another culture, that same manager is going to be much moreauthoritative because people are supposed to listen when he speaks as if he were a teacherBut in China and Nigeria, there are distinct hierarchies with gaps between bosses and employees. In thesecountries, bosses make decisions for their employees. Communication also follows a firm hierarchy: youneed to talk to your boss before reaching the person three positions above him or her.Note that the countries in different regions may not be as similar to each other on the leading scale. Forexample, France is hierarchical, but Sweden isn't.The difference in leadership stems from cultural differences. France was influenced by the Roman Empire, which had a hierarchical political system; Sweden's history was impacted by the Vikings, whowere one of the world's first democracies with equal opinions. Therefore, it is important to understandhow different cultures react to requests and how they handle hierarchy versus equality. Employees inegalitarian cultures must be included when making decisions without supervision or involvement as longas things are progressing well. In hierarchical cultures, employees need an invitation before offering theiropinion and you should make clear that you're higher up on the ladder so they look up to you.Big Idea #5: Understanding different decision-making processes is vital toimplementing ideas.Egalitarianism in the workplace doesn't mean that decisions are made through consensus. In fact, decision-making can be hierarchical as well.The most effective way to make decisions is through a consensus, where everyone involved has agreed onthe decision. It's slower than other methods but it's better because people are more invested in the finaloutcome. The alternative method is a top-down approach, which means that one person makes all of thedecisions and others have no say.In China and India, decisions are made by the boss. They're usually faster than in countries that makethem through consensus, but they can be changed later on. Because of this continuous revision process,changes take more time to implement.For example, the Japanese ringi system is a proposal document that goes through many levels ofmanagement. Each level can edit the document until it reaches the top.It's important not to judge how decisions are made if you only know the organizational structure. In somecases, it may appear that a decision is being forced upon people, but in reality, the organization has givenits employees the freedom to make their own choices.When working in a multicultural environment, it's best to stick with one decision-making method. It'simportant to decide how decisions will be made and what the expectations are for reaching consensus ormaking a final decision without it. Also, determine whether major decisions should be reviewedperiodically or if they're fixed for a certain amount of time.Big Idea #6: Trust is built differently in different cultures, but it'simportant to all of us.According to a Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify.” In business dealings, it's important to establish trustwith your counterparties in order for them to feel comfortable dealing with you. Trust can be split intocognitive and affective types. Cognitive trust is based on experience and reliability while affective trustrelies on emotions between people who are close friends or relatives. Cultures can also be classified ashigh task-based versus high relationship-based. Task-based cultures like the US rely on results forestablishing relationships while relationship-based cultures like Brazil take time to develop personalconnections before reaching an agreement (guanxi). Therefore, when negotiating with someone from a different culture than yours it's best to make sure that they have developed some level of affective trust sothat they'll work well together in the future.One way to build trust with people from different cultures is by talking about commonalities. Forexample, you can discuss topics such as family or music, which shows the other person that you careabout them personally and not just their business.In a relationship-based culture, it’s important to be authentic and not worry about making mistakes.Big Idea #7: There’s a proper way to disagree.In some cultures, people are more willing to confront others. In such cultures, you can openly disagreewith someone without that affecting your relationship. For example, in France or Israel, if two people arearguing with each other it doesn't necessarily mean they aren't friends. However, in other cultures likeIndonesia or Japan where confrontation is avoided at all costs, open disagreement is seen as an attack onthe person and not their idea.Cultures can be either emotionally expressive or inexpressive. For instance, Germany and France are bothconfrontational cultures, but their disagreement styles differ. Germans tend to disagree objectivelywithout involving personal emotions while the French are likely to have more open emotional disputesthan the Germans.France can be described as a culture that expresses emotion. It's difficult to tell if you're being criticizedor just your idea, so it's important for non-French people to understand how criticism is handled inFrance. In order to maintain relationships with different cultures, you will need to understand howdisagreement is handled within them. In cultures that avoid disagreement, holding pre-meetings withoutthe boss can help prepare employees for criticism by allowing them to discuss their thoughts and opinionstogether as a group before meeting with the boss. This way they offer constructive feedback and makesuggestions as a team instead of criticizing an individual employee or manager directly.When you work with people from cultures that are more confrontational, be cautious. However, if itdoesn't feel natural to you, don't try to change your style completely; instead you can participate in arelaxed debate.Big Idea #8: Schedules should be made according to a culture’s perceptionof time.Time perception varies between countries. In Germany, for example, people are punctual because theyfinish one task before moving on to the next. They also value schedules and deadlines more thanflexibility or adaptability in business matters. It's rude to be distracted during a meeting with your cellphone or chatting with colleagues; you should focus on the task at hand.In some cultures, like Saudi Arabia or Kenya, tasks are dealt with as they arise. This is because of theirflexible time culture. For instance, subgroups may form during a meeting and discussions may stray fromthe original topic. Even though there's a schedule for meetings, it's common for discussions to turn into 8 / 9 How can you work with people who have different scheduling cultures? You should learn how they dealwith tasks and then emulate their method. For example, if the culture is linear (adheres to schedules), plan your meetings in detail and emphasize punctuality. If the culture is flexible, schedule your meetings without predetermined limits. When working as a manager, adapt to needs as they come up. It is also important to have a culture where people are punctual. It's good to try an exercise where everyone imagines they're from Switzerland, which has a strong punctuality culture. If someone arrives late, they should contribute five Euros towards the end-of-year party.