We Delivered On-Time to the Americans: They Did Not Seem Happy- Why?

"When the American client asks me why I did something out of order, I feel they don't trust our expertise!??!"  

This has been mentioned in exasperated tones by many Indians in offshore teams that Authentic Journeys has worked with. While many cross-cultural business experts ascertain Americans would care more about getting the job done than the process, Indians working with Americans have experienced something different, in reality. 

In many cases where the Indians were relieved the project was getting done on time, when going to communicate this to the Americans, they were confronted with any one of the below questions that made them feel defensive and like the Americans did not trust them: 

  • A step was missing in the process - what happened? 
  • Why is this done out of order? 
  • Help us to understand your process. Why was it done this way? 

Looking at this from the Indian point of view, I can totally understand why the Indian team members would feel dejected, demotivated and like the Americans did not trust them. After, all, the Indian team was able to deliver on time. Isn't that what Americans like the most- on time delivery? 


While many cross cultural experts ascertain that Americans would break the process to save time, there is a missing element in this chain! Americans may still want to know how or why it got done so fast! While I can understand why this causes cross-cultural confusion- I help the Indian team members to understand that while Americans definitively love to save time (as time equals money), Americans are also interested in process efficiency, and understanding how it got done; the way it got done. 

America is made up of people from many different cultures and backgrounds. People, therefore, think differently. Sometimes bringing together people with different mindsets helps us to see new perspectives we never thought of. This, in fact, was one of the original motivators for outsourcing and global teams - to get together people from different backgrounds to utilize the strengths of people from different cultures. 

So, while the Indians may feel defensive when handling these questions; like they are in a viva voce in college, I help them to think of it more like a conversation where the Americans want to understand their point of view and also how to possibly improve the work flow for future projects. The Americans can learn from them, I propose. They want to learn how you improved the process or did something better. Something new. Something innovative. Rather than get scared about this, get excited. After all, this is exactly why Americans outsource and want to hire you- to help them improve their business, their processes, their lives! 

But, as people are not used to handling these kinds of questions, I help them prepare their answers through a conversational approach with role plays and demos. This helps them to prepare to handle these situations confidently when they arise. Get in touch with us for more information on corporate coaching programs. 

Related Posts: 
On the Rocks - Idioms about Relationships 
Tips on Pushing Back 
Convincing & Negotiating with Americans 

No comments:

Post a Comment