Use your weaknesses to build relationships in Asia

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When trying to build a new business relationship, everyone of course focuses on their strengths. But might discussing your weakness be a source of strength?

Doing business in North America

  • American culture greatly values high self-esteem, both for yourself personally and for your company. If you don’t have an extremely positive view of yourself, you are not worth doing business with. Having high self-esteem means that you talk about your strengths and accomplishments while downplaying your weaknesses – don’t bring them up unless absolutely necessary.

Doing business in East Asia

  • Japanese culture, in contrast, values self-improvement. A mature person realizes both their strengths and their weaknesses. Instead of spending a lot of time boasting about their strengths, you need to acknowledge your weaknesses and discuss how you are working to improve them. Japanese culture emphasizes that nothing is perfect, and someone who thinks that they are perfect is simply fooling themselves.

  • Other East Asian cultures, like China and Korea, also value self-improvement but not to the extent as Japan. Acting as if you are perfect is probably not the best in these cultures either.

Doing business in South Asia

  • Indian culture values high self-confidence – you should be confident about your skills and about your ability to deliver on your promises. Have a strongly positive view of yourself in the specifics required to deliver on a project, but not in every imaginable domain. Confident, but not over-confident.

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