June 13, 2006
Later today I leave for Chicago, then to Manchester, England for a couple of days, and finally for points further north and more rural. Manchester is the UK's second city--like Chicago, but with a bit less glitz. Hardworking, industrial, and "northern" in both geography and character, Manchester, with its Roman origins, is a place to get things done. With a population of over 2 million, it is home to the newspaper The Guardian, two major football clubs, Granada Television Studios, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Hollies (that's Graham Nash's first band if you're under 40) and even Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. Manchester folks are indeed British--but they’re not the tweed-clad, class-conscious proper chaps and ladies of southern England in our unfortunate American stereotype of what is English. Northerners, even in the cities, are in fact a little friendlier and more down-to-earth than southerners. Mixing travel with business is an education and great fun--but you've got to know where you are, and who you are with. Chicago is not New York. Manchester is not London. England isn't the U.S. Even though the Brits' style of doing business is closer to the Americans' than that of any other nationality, we are still very different. So what happens when Americans do business with the English? And which English? English trading with Germans? Or Germans with Japanese? For more on doing business abroad, see Richard Lewis's book When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures.
Posted by JD Hull at June 13, 2006 07:51 PM