Here is the debrief from the October 4th DIN Game. Any comments or other observations are welcome.
|Julie’s Words and Actions
Was asked by company HQ to increase Indian subsidiary’s sales by 20% in one year
* Scheduled a meeting with Divyesh
* Arrived at the meeting at precisely the prearranged start time
* Participated (listened and spoke) in the meeting
* Asks Divyesh to “get down to business” and to present his unit’s sales strategy
* Tells Divyesh she appreciates his briefing
* Asks Divyesh for specific action steps and timelines to achieve sales targets
|Divyesh‘s Words and Actions
Prepared for the meeting
* Participated (listened and spoke) in the meeting
* Arrives to meeting 20 minutes after the prearranged start time, and tells Julie that he had to take his son to school
* Asks Julie questions about her stay in India
* Provides Julie with information about his unit’s
history and sales strategy
* Offers to put together a detailed action plan for
Julie within a few days
|From Julie’s Perspective
From Julie’s Perspective
* I’m very much looking forward to Divyesh’s ideas on how to achieve a 20% sales increase in his unit. The Bangalore office is key in India, and falling short there will almost certainly affect my career path.
* I have so much to do, and I don’t have that much time to meet with Divyesh. I’m frustrated that he’s so late, and he didn’t even apologize!
* He’s already late, and now he wants to engage in small talk? He seems like a nice enough guy, but let’s get on with the important and pressing issues first, then later if we have time, we can get to know each other. HQ only cares about results.
* Why is he giving me all of this irrelevant background? Sure, it’s interesting, but today’s meeting is about how to meet our sales targets. I hope he has a detailed plan, which will increase my confidence in him. A plan is also something tangible I can present to HQ.
* He doesn’t have any specifics! This meeting has essentially been a waste of time. I’m a little disappointed in Divyesh. Can I trust him and his team to deliver the results that HQ demands?
Cultural archetypes at play: task-orientation,
low context/direct communication, equality
and individualism (expectation of self-initiative),
|From Divyesh’s Perspective
*I am very well prepared for this meeting. I have all the information Julie will need to make an informed decision about my unit’s sales strategy.
* I’m glad I had time this morning to take my son to school. I know I’ll be a little late to the meeting, but Julie will understand the special situation I was in. We can also just stretch out the meeting a little longer if need be.
* I want to make sure Julie feels at home and comfortable with her new surroundings, because she is my boss AND because she is not from here – I want to be a good host. I hope she’s successfully adjusting to life in India. Let me ask her some questions.
* I wonder what kind of person Julie is, what she likes to do, where she chose to live in Bangalore. I should ask her some questions to see how I should act (and how I should expect her to act towards me) when we interact.
* Why was Julie so abrupt when asking if we could “get down to business”? She must want to hear more about our local office, so I’ll give her as much background and as much detail as possible. It’s the least I can do, since it’s her first time here.
* Why would I have specific action steps? She never asked me for this before, plus it’s her job as Sales Director to come up with the specifics. It would be presumptuous of me to think otherwise! Of course I can’t tell her this. Now I feel upset for having disappointed her and embarrassed for appearing as if I wasn’t doing my job.
Cultural archetypes at play: hierarchy, conscious, indirect/high context and face-saving, communication, synchronic, situational
Approaches that take both perspectives into consideration
*Cognizant of the Indian strong sense of hierarchy, Julie could have been more explicit when communicating her expectations for this meeting in advance. She could have done this by providing Divyesh with a detailed agenda and/or a list of data she’d like to see during the meeting, sending him a detailed email, or simply clearly telling him beforehand.
* Divyesh could have asked Julie to provide him with specific expectations for the meeting, i.e., what exactly she would like him to present and communicate.
* Knowing and respecting the Indian synchronic cultural archetype, Julie could have communicated to Divyesh (in advance) of the importance of being at the meeting at the prescribed time, and the consequences of not being there on time. She could have asked Divyesh to let her know in advance if he thought he would be late or had to cancel, and they could have come up with contingency plans (a different time or day or meeting arrangement, etc.).
* Knowing and respecting the American sequential cultural archetype, Divyesh could have called Julie as soon as he knew that he would not make the prescribed meeting time.
* Knowing the importance of relationships in India, Julie could have budgeted enough meeting time to allow for non-business related discussion, particularly since this was the first time she was meeting Divyesh. She could have also mitigated the situation entirely by scheduling a separate “get to know each other” time.
* Cognizant of the American task-focused and sequential cultural archetypes, Divyesh could have scheduled a separate event (lunch, coffee, invitation to his house for dinner, etc.) either before or after the meeting as a non-business related “get to know each other” event.
* Divyesh could also have asked Julie in advance if he could schedule an orientation meeting, to help her get to know the office, during which he could have provided her with company’s local background details, which he believes are so critical for her success.