|Korean Business with Don Southerton|
As shared in my book Korea Perspective there is an interconnectedness in the Korea workplace. In particular, complex relationships abound.
This is true whether operations are in South Korea, Germany, Brazil, India or the Americas. Directives and requests originating in Korea headquarters radiate to global operations. In turn, inputs from local working teams, Korean and western, make their way back to Korea impacting decisions by leadership. Relationships also play a strong part in this process.
What may appear one sided and perhaps top down may actually be the result of months of study, benchmarking and research, as well as internal discussions and Korean peer input. For reasons unclear to local overseas teams, projects can stall, while others re-boot.
Amid the disruptive business conditions, how overseas teams, Korean and Western, work together matters.
We all recognizing that within divergent cultures and mindsets it requires both sides to bend, compromise and adapt, as both are in actuality all are parts of a greater whole. That said, at times tensions culminate in relationships between Korean and western team souring.
The good news even in this era of disruptive business the most strained relationships can be repaired. In fact, a negative relationship turned positive can be a very strong one. Here are some key takeaways as noted in a Harvard Business Review article: “Fixing a Work Relationship Gone Sour.”
- Give up on who’s wrong or right
- Look forward, not back. Take a solution-focused approach.
- Understand from other person’s perspective. “How do they see things?” “What are their contextual factors that need to be considered?”
- Instead of debating what went wrong and who is at fault, try to create a space where you’re aligned. It can be helpful to focus on the bigger picture — the common, shared goal.
- Don’t assume that things will change immediately — repairing relationships can take time.
BTW, communications styles do vary.
Here are two “process” perspectives, Korean and American.
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