Monday, 11 May 2009

What All Catalans Should Know About Swedes

Last week, the business school EADA and the Hispano-Swedish Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona arranged a panel discussion on negotiations between Catalonia and Sweden. Sadly enough, there were more Swedes than Catalans in the audience while – and I think that we can all agree on this - the presentations were more of introductions into the Swedish business culture for a Catalan audience, rather than two-way comparisons. So, while I can not claim to have deepened my understanding of Catalonia, I at least learnt what people from here think about my native country.

Ernesto Dominguez, the president of CCHS of Barcelona, summed up his experience of Swedish companies as democratic organizations with a great respect for the personnel’s values and private lives and where results always matter more than procedures. Both he and the moderator Sergio M Gil were especially amused with the typically Swedish meetings which can last forever, without any opinions being confronted openly. Outsiders might feel that nothing happens, but this is how consensus is being reached and such meetings tend to make the Swedish work team members very satisfied.

Being a native Swede, Victor Bokegård, from H&M España, could allow himself to add a more critical spin to the Swedish character. He gave funny examples of our deep insecurity – the fact that we can not buy things without saying 'thanks' several times, that we love to start business presentations by asking the audience to forgive us for all our shortcomings and that we can not give people presents without adding the comment “I am sure that you will not like it” or “Well, you can always change it for something else”. Why did I feel that he was talking about me?

My personal conclusion of this meeting is something which I have discovered many times before: that I am extremely fortunate to come from a country for which most people on earth have such a high regard.
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Llàstima que no es va parlar més de la cultura catalana en aquesta conferència. Una cosa que de veritat m’interessa molt quan estic fent negocis per aquí, és el rol que juguen els contactes. La recomanació dels meus amics catalans és unànima – que sempre és millor entrar en un client potencial mitjançant una persona que ja coneixes. No obstant això, tinc la sensació que aquesta manera de treballar pertany a la historia i que les empreses catalanes d’avui – com també les espanyoles, en general - estan obertes a rebre noves propostes de gent que ve a “porta freda”.

Tot i que tinc un número de bons socis de negocis gràcies precisament a contactes, també tinc molta experiència del contrari. Per exemple, hi ha empreses on el meu contacte està poc relacionat amb les decisions, però on – per respecte a aquesta persona - he de seguir comunicant segons vam començar, en comptes de dirigir-me directament al director de compres. També m’ha passat que he venut genere a clients nous que em semblen interessats i que després he entés que s’han vist obligats de comprar per la relació que tenim. Això teoricament no importa si tens un producte que es ven a un alt preu i poques vegades però l’ important amb el meu producte és el contrari: que el client torna a comprar. Desplaçar-se per fer una presentació a un farmaceutic que fa una sola comanda de preservatius i no més és de perdre el temps, no?

Espero que un dia l’entegui tot. Encara no és així.


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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Catalonia,

1 comment:

Yafaj said...

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http://blackspacemilan.blogspot.com/