This week's read looks at Korean Business and, similar but different norms.
For starters, I was asked last week re: my availability for Bookings & Requests. Best to email me, or call.
That said,.. Following a recent C-level meeting, I had the opportunity to chat with the local subsidiary's Korean CEO. He hoped I'd shared with his team how the company in Korea and the US differed from the Group's many sister firms—many westerners wrongly assuming a high level of conformity across the Group.
I assured him that "yes," I shared in mentoring how even within the Group I, too, had experienced that each company had its own unique culture. And, not only did sister companies differ but in some cases how the Koreans recruited and working at companies within the Group were different.
On parting the CEO pointed out another key point to be shared was that Koreans dispatched to support the division's overseas operation over time came to see things differently than domestic Korea-based teams. He, for example, had come to “see things differently, too.”
Building on this...
Prior to a global workshop on the ever-changing Korean workplace, a senior Korean executive asked that I also explain to the group of predominately North Americans and Europeans that despite perceived outward appearances and their homogenous society that no two Koreans are alike....In other words, he asked that I help dispel common stereotypes, etc.
I agreed and did my best to pass on the message that like Westerners--behaviors, mindset, and experience varied among Koreans...this despite strong corporate culture and indoctrination.
In particular, factors contributing to how Koreans might differ can include: generational issues, global travel, work, and educational experiences, and significantly how they were mentored in a management style.
As for the later, during a team-building workshop held several years ago, a senior Korean manager openly shared some insights on Korean management styles.
He noted that within his Korean division teams were mentored by seniors in one of several styles.... Some senior managers fostered a "soft" management style of collaboration, while others used a "hard" autocratic style.
Elaborating more about how he was mentored, he learned to first present the challenge to his team, then ask his juniors to prepare their recommendations. And in the case of working in the overseas' subsidiary, he learned to ask the American colleagues for their ideas vs. directing the team on what to do--a style he'd been taught by his longtime boss.
What similar but different norms and styles have you experienced with Korea based companies?