Thousands of centuries ago, Lord Krishna narrated the following verse to one of the greatest warriors from Indian Mythology “Arjuna” -“We were there, we are there and we will be there”.
This was the time when not just millions of humans were ready to ignite the biggest blood bath ever; all the Gods and Semi-Gods were also fighting with each other to establish the authority of Karma and Dharma.
Lord Krishna taught everything regarding the forms and types of energies that existed in the Universe. He told that since total energy has to remain constant, the energy can only be transformed from one form to another and the energy which was persistent; is still persistent and will remain persistent forever.
Eras later, the noble laureate Albert Einstein proved that energy can either exist in the form of energy, or can transform in the state of matter. And that while this transformation is a continuous process, the total energy always remaining constant.
The famous E = MC2 theory.
While Einstein’s theory can scientifically describe the conversions of almost all of the energies from one form to another and affirms the energy theories, he failed to talk about the two extraordinary forms of energies which are responsible for transformation of human beings today. And these two energies have two further states – Positive and Negative which cancel each other to maintain the decorum of constancy.
These two energies are –“Karma and Dharma”.
Karma – Action /Akarma – Inaction
Dharma – Right Conduct / Adharma – Wrong Conduct
When we talk about the likes and dislikes of someone, or there is a group of people who prefers to hang-out together while the same people can’t seem to coexist with another group of people, it is believed to be a mismatch of energies of Karma and Dharma between the two groups. While the people from the same group have similar beliefs and share a perfect match of these energies.
A simple example would be two people who can’t work together because one of them is energetic while the other one is lazy. It means that they have different form of Karma and Dharma.
Some of these problems are on a personal level, but majority of these issues arises while working in a multicultural environment.
We as business owners have to deal with people from different cultural backgrounds. These people from different cultures may have some different versions of Karma and Dharma, i.e. they have their own set of beliefs on what is right and wrong to do.
Let’s be honest, don’t we feel way more comfortable with people from same culture as ours then with someone from different cultural background. I know that we are not racist but that’s how we are. Also there are plenty of our competitors who face the same issue. Hence, in a way, we often neglect a big part of our target market. In order to gain the edge over them, we need to attain a competitive advantage in this very field.
Different habits, different understanding
People from different parts of the world have different habits, different understanding, different way of conducting things and most importantly different prioritizing methods.
To understand them, to learn from them, we need to learn how they behave.
Now some of you may get sceptical but “The Law of Attraction” plays a great role in a business, especially when it’s the beginning of a business relationship.
Although the solution may seem remotely related to “The Law of Attraction” but after understanding it completely, we can certainly link the following theory to the law of attraction with much greater affinity.
There is a professor named Geert Hofstede, specifically famous for his research on influence of culture on work/business environment. He delivers a fascinating practical application based on his theory of cultural dimensions.
How to Use:
First of all, do a little bit research on your prospect; know his name and his country of origin and other relative data. Then visit this link: http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html. Select the country of the prospect and then learn about the different dimensions of the culture. You may also compare your own culture with the prospect’s culture and can emphasize on the similarity to gain affinity.
There are 5 different dimensions on which a culture can be understood and a general guideline of Do’s and Don’ts can be established.
- Power Distance (PDI)
- Individualism versus collectivism (IDV)
- Masculinity versus femininity (MAS)
- Uncertainty avoidance (UAI)
- Long-term versus short-term orientation (LTO)
Power Distance: In this dimension, people are generally power conscious and they expect to be treated with respect and as the one with authority. The people with a high degree of Power Distance Index enjoys a hierarchical order in their business environment and do not expect to justify their position. People with low degree of PDI, tends to demands justification for unequal distribution of the power.
Lesson to Learn: If your client is from a culture having a high degree of PDI, then you should expect them to be a bit bossy and dominating on the mutual project. On the rarest occasion, this can also be interpreted as being disrespectful for other people’s time. On the other hand, if you are dealing with someone having a low PDI, treating them with more respect could prove to be a deal closer.
Individualism versus collectivism: Individualism can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate families only. Its opposite, Collectivism, represents a preference for a tightly-knit framework in society in which individuals can expect their relatives or members of a particular in-group to look after them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.
Lesson to Learn: If you know that your future prospect belongs to an Individualistic culture, then you can easily adapt yourself and your terms and conditions according to his criteria, of-course maintaining your personal values and interest. People with collectivism approach, prefers to spread out the responsibilities within their relatives and friends. Mostly, these are the business owners who ask their nephews to create a website for them and then cry later when they do not get the results they were expecting.
Masculinity versus femininity: “The masculinity side of this dimension represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material reward for success. Society at large is more competitive. Its opposite, femininity, stands for a preference for cooperation, modesty, caring for the weak and quality of life. Society at large is more consensus-oriented.”
Lesson to Learn: People following masculinity approach tends to behave same in their business culture. They expect you to be objective oriented and “performance fanatic” while doing business with them. If you think you can manage yourself to align with their approach, then express the characteristics discussed above in your presentations and meeting. On the contrary side, if your prospect ranks high in feminine Index, then express your cooperative and “social side” in your presentations and hit the home run.
Uncertainty avoidance: People have needs to be certain and uncertain in their life and business.
The uncertainty avoidance dimension expresses the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. The fundamental issue here is how a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? People with strong UAI maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour and are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles.
Lesson to Learn: If your prospect belongs to a culture which has a higher degree of UAI, then you must NOT express although an excellent but unproven ideas while approaching them because the chances are that they are not going to entertain those ideas. It’s not that these people are backwards but they prefer to follow the path of proven strategies and often do not have an open mind to try something new.
Pitching to people having a low UAI can be fun and can prove to be much more successful as these people are relaxed in their approach and often in search of new and extraordinary ideas.
Long-term versus short-term orientation: “The long-term orientation dimension can be interpreted as dealing with society’s search for virtue. Societies with a short-term orientation generally have a strong concern with establishing the absolute Truth. They are normative in their thinking. They exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future, and a focus on achieving quick results. In societies with a long-term orientation, people show an ability to adapt traditions to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results.”
Lesson to Learn: People with Short term orientation would often prefer deals and projects of shorter duration, so if you are planning to pitch a time consuming project to a person having a short term orientation it might turn them off. Often they wouldn’t believe in having a long term strategy but will lean towards quick money making tactics. People preferring long term orientation believes in having a long term strategy and are adaptive to the changes. Hence, you may get flexibility in your approach while working on your project.
I acknowledge that the topic of cultural differences could be uncomfortable for some people as it might kindle the unnecessary discussions and could result into stereotyping. But I believe that a sane mind would not encourage stereotyping but will try to learn and use it for their business objective. But, if you still use the above information for creating un-preferable circumstances, then May your Akarma & Adharma prove to be BITCH for you.
P.S. To keep your Karma & Dharma in your business….I say stay connected with me on Facebook (Add me!)