Global Leadership Blog

Global Mindset: My Trip to India 2

This blog post is written by Annika Hoeltje, a senior consultant with Lamson Consulting:

The training room in Bangalore is full of Indian employees and managers who want to learn about cross-cultural teamwork and how they can more effectively cooperate with their colleagues around the world.

I ask them to discuss in groups and then share their experience on how it is to work with their colleagues from other countries. What does it mean to work virtually across cultures? The Indian participants have many interesting observations, examples, and also some concerns. We talk about the reasons behind their experiences and what can be done to better handle the different situations.

Then one guy asks me “Why do the French and the Germans never say ‘Thank You’, or something like ‘Great Job’ when someone finishes their work?”

“That is a good question.” I answer. “I’ll try to answer it with some facts, which are common among French and Germans. For example in their cultures, efficiency is more important than friendliness.”

The room looks perplexed and I go on to say, “Europeans focus more on what’s realistic to accomplish than being optimistic about what could be done.” “They are always looking at ways how to improve, so you can’t celebrate what you’ve already done so far – at least not too much.”

I also tell them what the French told us: “Please tell the world, that if we complain, we are not really unhappy, we are just trying to prove our existence.”

“Ahhhhh…” My Indian peers don’t seem to be totally convinced.

It’s so important for people in India to celebrate successes and to be rewarded for their hard work. Additionally, they believe optimism will make you more productive in business.

Being a German myself, but living in the US, I had to learn, similar to India, how important it is to smile more often, say thank you, praise, make compliments and small talk at work. For a western European most of these things are not as necessary and make us feel rather awkward.

“Hm…, so if I don’t criticize, isn’t that praise enough?” I asked when first working outside Germany.

“No” my American coworker answered and I soon realized, it’s not enough in many places in the world.

In almost every book on Indian business culture and communication style you can read about the “problem” Indians are having with the word “no” and with giving negative feedback, because it is considered rude and can cause loss-of-face.

Many Indians do learn Western-style communication and how to voice negative feedback directly, but they most likely will not get used to the lack of positive feedback or an absence of “thank yous” from their European colleagues after work is completed.

And why should they? Does it hurt to say something nice once in a while, especially if you mean it? No, it doesn’t, and it will for sure mean a lot to them! Work relationships can be improved immensely.

Many times the burden of adjusting is on the Indian team member (and they’re quite good at it) but it doesn’t mean that Europeans are off the cultural hook. Quite the contrary, when working with Indians, and Western Europeans such as French and Germans, have to adjust as well.

In a globalized world everyone has to adapt a little when working across cultures. If you take on this task, it can be a fascinating and exciting experience and it can bring you many pleasant surprises, even inside your own country.


A Short Film: Cross Cultural Communication in India

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication. More About Melissa Lamson


What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you place an order, subscribe to our newsletter, respond to a survey or fill out a form.
When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number or credit card information. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

Like most websites, we use cookies and/or web beacons to enhance your experience, gather general visitor information, and track visits to our website. Please refer to the ‘do we use cookies?’ section below for information about cookies and how we use them.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:


. To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)
. To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)
. To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs)
. To process transactions . Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.
. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature
. To send periodic emails


The email address you provide for order processing, may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order, in addition to receiving occasional company news, updates, related product or service information, etc.

Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or access your personal information.
We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential.

After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information.

We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.

If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders over the telephone.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us via moc.l1558710133iamg@1558710133CLLgn1558710133itlus1558710133noCno1558710133smaL1558710133.