The centre of business gravity has shifted from America to Asia … Erin Meyer at the Thinkers50 European Business Forum 2019

September 25, 2019

Erin Meyer, INSEAD professor of organisation behaviour, created her “Culture Map” as a way to make sense of those many situations we find ourselves in today, when we work in international, multi-geographical, multi-cultural teams … and for some reason we don’t understand, things come undone, as cultures get crossed.

Today Erin joined me in Odense, Denmark, for the Thinkers50 European Business Forum 2019.

Given the forum’s theme of “Learning from Asia” she focused on the many cultural collusions which emerge as companies increasingly work across the world – most significantly between east and west.

Here are some quotes from her workshop:

The way children address their teachers is a good indicator of a country’s cultural position on power distance.

Korea and China are among the most hierarchical countries. Koreans will say: “I’ll try not to ask my boss a question unless I know for sure that he knows what the answer is”.

In Europe: Vikings managed their tribes by consensus, and that’s why Viking countries have become the most egalitarian in Europe, whereas countries influenced by the Roman empire are more hierarchical.

If you’re leading a global team, you need to think about how people perceive you. We must be flexible enough to adapt our leadership styles to the people we are working with, even if it changes from day to day.

 The center of business gravity has shifted from America to China and India, and every single emerging market in the world is now more relationship-based than task-based. Building trust and emotional bonds is more important than ever.

 “Small gaps matter, often more than big ones. “

 “When you are working internationally, it is most important to be both authentic/comfortable and adapting in your leadership style. Use both legs! Global leadership is to develop both legs, so than you can choose ‘leg’ according to the where you are.”