Couple of months ago, we held an Indiapreneurs meeting here in Stockholm.
The idea is to share entrepreneurship experiences of Swedes in India, and of Indians in Sweden.
Most of the panel discussion was around one topic; how different it is to convince people in Sweden and India (and, as the panel’s only French, I added a bit of my country prospectives. After all, France is the center of the World as everyone knows…).
The question of negotiating covers not only pure business talks, but also management – employees relationship, family life, and most of the social interactions.
The above diagrams have been circulating on the web for a long time, and seem to be only partially reflecting the experiences shared yesterday.
You can see that India has a very long initial approach, which is probably linked to the fact that people are not scared to share their thoughts. And because people don’t say “no”, it can lead to long discussions, and very intense ones.
I witnessed countless meetings were people were literally shouting at each others.
But post this phase, little modification is needed.
“It’ll take some time, but it will happen”.
France is not that different; but the initial discussion is shorter.
It has to do with rational elements. We absolutely love to convince each other, but it can’t be personal…. until the leader states his/her decision, from which the team will find logic, to reach a final agreement.
Sweden is a tricky one. When a foreigner arrives here, he’s told that consensus has to be reached in every discussion. Swedes even have a word for that, “Lagom” which means that if something is shared, there will be enough for everyone.
But what you feel when you first come here is that no one really says anything.
A quiet country.
In fact people are whispering, they are stating their mind, but in a very quiet and subtile way. Often the length of a silence is a sign. Sometimes it is just body language.
I don’t think that the diagram regarding Sweden is accurate. It suggests that, at one point, the negotiation goes backwards. I believe that it’s just the outsider missing a whisper.
During the five years I spent in India, I met a lot of Swedes there, perfectly adapted to the country (most of them way better than the French expats).
Maybe that’s a clue to demonstrate that the difference is just intensity, not mindset?