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How to Successfully Overcome Cross-Cultural Barriers?

עודכן: 11 באפר׳ 2021

Lately, I have been busy with four startups writing Go-To-Market Strategy, Business Plans, and market research, sorry for not being free to share some of my activities, thoughts and content with you.

To remind you, the picture below summarizes the areas of expertise in which I assist, share and contribute to you.

Areas that I initially and intentionally left out are the cross-cultural differences, intercultural business communication and intercultural negotiation. I worked and lived in Japan, Tokyo, specializing for over two decades in helping dozens of companies and startups who were considering entering the Japanese & Asian markets. (and continue to learn more about the culture every day...).

You must be asking why?

In the past, these "soft skills" were my "forte", although I have put them on the back burner until recently. There are two main reasons for that:

  1. The process of persuading company executives was long and exhausting.

  2. The executive subjective perception was that there is no need to understand intercultural gaps. "We know what needs to be done", "no one will teach us" and more ...

Post Covid-19..

Covid-19 challenged us all and created a new normal. Work from home (WFH) has become almost the norm; limited flights and closed airports have made business travel a long-lost dream; we transitioned from 3D to 2D meetings via zoom and similar platforms; we realized just how important it is to understand the Y&Z generation; and intercultural business communication, intercultural negotiation and cross cultural barriers have become far more significant than ever before.

In this dynamic, digital and multi-channel world, companies - either startups or well established ones - are starting to understand the importance of the intercultural gaps and are adding tools to their marketing & sales toolbox.

Why am I telling you all this?

Bear in mind that... Understanding intercultural gaps – is the difference between a successful deal and a failed one Signing an agreement – is the first step, now the work begins....

So, you decide to register for a seminar / lecture on the subject – Congratulation and good luck to you.

You should address the following topics

  • What would you like to get out of the workshop?

  • Background / profile of other participants, especially experience in the specific market

  • Is the lecturer experienced and instructive?

As lecturers go, some are good, some are better and some excel above the rest!

A TIP, it is very important that the lecturer has practical experience, i.e. "getting his hands dirty" in the field and not just flipping through professional books.


You have decided that the issue is important enough


You aren't lucky enough to have the resources

No problem....

Visit the following site:

It will assist you to understand the basic fundamentals for cross cultural barriers.

In a nutshell, Hofstede's 6-dimensional model is a tool that can be compared between different cultures regarding in terms of:

  1. The hierarchy

  2. Individualism versus collectivism

  3. Closed-faced society (masculinity / femininity)

  4. Dealing with situations of ambiguity and uncertainty

  5. Long-term versus short-term orientation

  6. Indulgence (satisfaction) versus Restraint

Example: Country Comparison Israel & UAE (United Arab Emirates)

PDI (Power Distance Index)

People in societies exhibiting a large degree of Power Distance (90, UAE) accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place and which needs no further justification. In societies with low Power Distance (13, Israel), people strive to equalise the distribution of power and demand justification for inequalities of power.


The high side of this dimension, called Individualism, can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of only themselves and their immediate families (54, Israel Vs. 25 UAE)

Hopefully these guidelines will help you make the right decision in the first steps of penetrating new markets. Please leave a like or a comment, so that this post reaches someone who needs to see this today.

Be safe

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