Part 1


About a year ago I asked around my networks on LinkedIn and Instagram to come up with some dimensions of their home cultures that they truly loved and valued. The scope of the sample was people who had worked across cultures or abroad and a lot of them said it wasn’t easy to answer because they always wanted to add a “but” and list all the things they didn’t like!


There are enough things I don’t like about my own country but what I do value is the British and their pragmatic approach, the goal is there but the plan is not static. Not so good in terms of a pandemic, but in business I like it!

On LinkedIn I said I’d collate my answers in my PhD or blog. This proved once again that humour doesn’t translate across cultures as a few people wished me luck with my PhD! Oh, the British and their sarcasm. As someone who trains people to communicate effectively across cultures, I should have realised this may have been the cause of a misunderstanding on a global scale! Using humour across cultures is a dangerous thing. It’s time to practice what I preach more!


So, in my BLOG, I have decided to collate my answers in two parts. Here in Part 1,  I have listed the answers in their raw state. In Part 2, I will show you how you can create synergy from these positive cultural attributes. Instead of always focusing on cultural differences as being negative, we will cherry-pick the best values and create new alternatives.  Of course, cultural values are neutral and only get interpreted positively or negatively depending on where you stand on the dimensional scale.


Anyway, I’ve grouped the answers according to country. See if you relate to them or see them differently (this will probably depend on your own cultural and individual values).

Here is a cross section of what people said they appreciated about their own cultures (in alphabetical order):


  • Austrians are often not too career-obsessed and pretty egalitarian.
  • Communication is more direct & you know what you can expect from people
  • People are goal driven and efficient.


  • The culture is laid-back. Where there is a will there is a way especially in terms of career pathways…there is not one direct route regulated by my qualification but many.
  • Typically, there is a lot of barracking for the underdog.

Czech Republic

  • You always know where you stand in business. There is no two-faced stuff going on.


  • The straight-talking attitude.
  • The ability to debate and confront ideas during meetings before reaching consensus. If done with a positive spirit and a bit of structure, this can lead to great empowerment.


  • The attitude towards education: universities cost very little and hundreds pf specialist trades and crafts are taught in a 3-year dual system of working and studying called “Ausbildungsberuf”.
  • German friendships as they go deep and last forever through good times and bad times.
  • The relatively high level of accountability, responsibility and reliability.
  • “Do what I say, say what I do” attitude.
  • The way everything is consistent.
  • Modest and fact-oriented bosses, not showing off their hierarchical position.
  • Sobriety in leadership (e.g. Angela Merkel).
  • Sticking to rules that have been established for the most part.
  • Highways without speed limits.
  • German bakeries.
  • Reliability – being pretty sure that you’re going to get what you think you will, by the time it was promised.


  • More informal approach.
  • You are allowed to swear in a business setting!


  • It’s really easy to get to know people on a personal level.
  • Most people don’t define themselves through their jobs.


  • The collectivist approach – working as a family, even at the workplace.
  • Valuing connections.
  • Always receiving a chai latte when you visit a workplace – this is how people make friends.


  • Taking work seriously.
  • Polish working style: creative, hands-on mentality, searching for solutions, not giving up when problems occur.
  • Straightforward in giving feedback.
  • No pressure to make small talk in the lifts or by the coffee machines.


  • Drive, determination, and the ability to make anything with almost nothing. Creativity with limited resources.
  • Perseverance and the tendency to dig deeper.


  • Work is generally good humoured, and colleagues bring themselves and their outside interests to work.
  • Relative informality at work (which has changed over the last 20 years) and the fact that most companies are less hierarchical. If you are respectful, you can usually share suggestions and ideas.
  • Wherever you visit, you’ll be offered a hot drink!
  • Political correctness and the stiff upper lip.
  • You are viewed much more through the lens of your skill set and experience than through, say, your education or topics you’ve worked on in the past.


  • The “just do it” attitude. Less fear of failure than in other cultures, less red tape to get started.
  • The sophisticated way people take about immigration and difference as it is a land full of immigrants and always has been. Everyone has an immigrant background.
  • Optimism: even if something is difficult, we don’t give up.
  • Brainstorming /turning off your inner critic from silly questions – this makes room for innovation and interesting, unexpected results.
  • People express gratitude in work contexts. A “thank you” or appreciation for assistance, collaborations and contributions is quite common.
  • Independence is valued, so if you have an idea, you feel pretty free to move forward with it.


Do some of these thoughts ring true for you? What are your thoughts about your culture? Or do you view these countries differently?

How do you create synergy from diversity?


In Part 2 I will dive deeper into the world of global teams and how to maximise team performance without suppressing these different cultural perspectives.  To do this requires good facilitation skills and the ability to work with apparently contradictory ideas. Recognising diversity is one thing, creating synergy from the diversity is the queen of intercultural competences and should be the goal of every global team. Stay tuned for some synergy solutions from the Paisley Communication toolbox!