Polish-Anglo networking & culture (THREE)

Kasia Lanucha
by Kasia Lanucha on February 28, 2019
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This rainmaking Blog is a 10 minute read. The content is focusing on culture and rainmaking within a Polish-to-Anglo basis. You will read about relationship cues to improve your success in creating connections. Our attention is to Polish-to-Anglo ‘networking’ behaviour and how culture differences may influence professional success. Our co-Authors are Cambridge lecturer Katarzyna Lanucha who is a linguist and cultural specialist consulting as Speak Culture. Kasia is writing with Bob Spence a business development specialist working in the UK legal sector with Wilkinson Read & Partners and as a sales trainer with EVOLET & PARTNERS Bratislava in Central Europe.

Please forward to anyone you feel that would benefit from this insight. Thank you.

Culture & rainmaking

This is the third of 8 articles exploring the ultimate goal of becoming a successful rainmaker within the British business community. Although this article is from the Polish perspective the inverse of this writing supports British business interpret the Polish viewpoint – as far reaching in terms of Anglo-to-Polish rainmaking.

If you are a Polish professional or a Polish entrepreneur looking to make initial or further progress within the UK economy then the emphasis in this article will give you a road map to support you recognise what may be happening in a Polish-Anglo networking or referral marketing situation. We are attempting to equip you with what Bob Spence refers to as the ’post-handshake’ action plan!

Culture & rainmaking

In this Blog we look for what is referred to as the initial connection ‘cues’. Cues are a signal to take an action.

  • It could be to take the lead in an opening conversation
  • It could be to take a secondary role in an opening conversation
  • It could be to make an expected response in an opening conversation

Cues can be in two forms.

  • They can be verbal
  • They can be nonverbal

This concept has variation within one culture let alone across two. Cultural perspective can play a considerable part and whether you are Polish or Anglo awareness of the idea is a start as it plays into ‘timing’.

We are looking at the point at which it is appropriate, within the context of an initial conversation to say the ‘right thing’.

The context is when it is appropriate to talk about the value that you may offer to another party. We refer to the RELEVANT ©. rainmaking process of being introduced as referred to in the second article. This writing is about the ‘E’ which is EMPHASISE.

  • Emphasise the value you can deliver to any introductions that are made to you

A ‘cue’ can be defined as; “a hint; intimation; guiding suggestion”. We would suggest that it is hard enough to find the ‘cue’ through language alone. In this rainmaking model we have to do find the ‘cue’ across language and culture. So we are looking for the intimation for the timing of the above emphasis as well as the content of the emphasis itself.

  • So there are two potential challenges in terms of the ‘E’ in relevant.

Culture & rainmaking

Our starting point was to analyse existing recognised professional 1-2-1 sales models and then approach the rainmaking differences they may expose the user to via the interpretation of the Geert Hofstede cross cultural model.

‘Even when you are marketing to your target audience you are still engaging with a single person at any given moment’

J. R. Spence

There is rarely a one size fits all approach to marketing your offer. When you are developing introductions and links across your contacts creating an introduction that is valid and valuable is almost an art form. Much has been written about the ’60 second pitch’ and being memorable.

However delivering this in a room of people also attempting to be memorable may not be so easy. On more than one occasion it has been witnessed that there has been a race to the bottom in terms of trying to stand out.

‘In a crowded marketplace fitting in is failure and not ‘standing out’ is the same as being invisible’

So we now discuss the ‘British’ commercial values we are attempting to connect to within the context of the ’60’ second pitch and ‘standing out’.

Culture & rainmaking

According to the cultural insights comparison ‘Uncertainly Avoidance’ might be an area that confuses. To start with the interviews and research followed through by Rainmaker PRO software are very clear. The top performing rainmakers are not looking at being instantly memorable. There was no evidence that this was a key feature of business development. This was mostly in-part that networking strategically creates no reason to be memorable by large numbers of people.

So we share that Poland scores 93 on the Hofstede dimension which means a very high preference for avoiding uncertainty compared to 35 for the British. Some considerations for you:

  • What might this mean in terms of rainmaking?
  • What does it mean in terms of a ’60 second pitch’?
  • What does this mean in terms of the Rainmaker PRO rainmaking insights?

One interpretation could be:

Polish: focus on achieving quick results

Anglo: being comfortable with ambiguous situations

The model below is produced via the Hofstede Insights website.

Countries exhibiting high ‘Uncertainty Avoidance’ maintain rigid codes of belief and behaviour. Potentially they are intolerant of unorthodox behaviour and ideas. This is a very broad stereotype but it might mean that there could be a Polish-to-Anglo preponderance to make it very, very clear as to what value is on offer very early on and communicating this regardless of any cues or the consequence of poor timing?

Culture & rainmaking

The motivation behind this behaviour would be to avoid uncertainty by creating clarity very early in the conversation. This is not necessarily a bad thing to do because we are talking about business relationships not social relationships. There is the consideration that there is no major benefit case for vagueness. 

A Polish business development professional might try to make clear who they are and what they need and are quite happy to share this information. It is time efficient and provides clarity about the relationship you are after. You know ‘where you stand’ and if there is revenue potential.

The ‘tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll tell you what I need’ attitude might seem very transactional, but it’s about finding synergy that might result in a sale or a relationship leading to a sale. However, not saying what you need might come across as ‘evasive.’

‘If you don’t give people information, they make up something to fill the void’

Carla S. O’Dell

However, if we take the Anglo-to-Polish position in some cases, there is the concern to say something that the other party finds offensive or which results in a misunderstanding. The reasoning therefore is that the best way to avoid this uncertainty is not to start a conversation at all.

  • What might this mean in terms of rainmaking?

It is the science of  figuring out what is appropriate in the given moment. What is this value we are trying to communicate? In Poland, it can be much more often the commercial value: product, solution, service. Other values might get overlooked and not considered as relevant such as:

  • Your precise expertise
  • Your exact experiences
  • What you represent to a third party in terms of ability
  • What connections you may possess beyond any transaction
  • What is your position in the market place

Poles may hope to start with an opening position towards a transaction, not a relationship and this is not so expected from the Anglo side.

Culture & rainmaking

If you present your value too early you may not get any genuine response. There is a mechanism referred to as social-commercial-comfort in an article that originally appeared in the British Polish Chamber of Commerce ‘Contact’ magazine. This writing talks about broader networking opportunities being available by communicating beyond your professional value.

Social Commercial Comfort 5next

Therefore, the ’60 second pitch’ could be seen as a tool for a ‘softer’ approach since we’re focusing on the ‘helping.’ The trouble is, since we’re not sure how we can ‘help’ the person in front of us, we’re using a tool that is not fit for purpose. It’s a mini monologue if you like.

So you may wish to consider making a much vaguer ’60 second introduction’. The introduction may be more about what you represent generally than what you represent specifically. For very few of us are able to produce 60 seconds of content that reflects the total value of being connected. Now this creates a higher potential for uncertainty. However it leaves a lot more space to develop that certainty over a longer window of time. The measurement system we are looking at makes it clear that the British are far more comfortable with uncertainty.

So try to establish some form of dialogue that is open-ended. Expect and not be disappointed that you may have no commitment. People pitching at each other are not in a dialogue.

‘Two monologues do not make a dialogue’

Jeffery L.  Daly

Culture & rainmaking

In this model you need to be sensitive to communication cues and take the time to wait for the other party to position where they are in relation to your offer. As an example we offer two scenarios:


Scenario One

Anglo: ‘I own a training company’.

THIS IS A CUE

Polish: ‘I see. Well, that’s perfect, I’m a trainer. I have been established 10 years and offer very competitive rates too. Here’s my business card’.

THIS IS OFFERING VERY CLEAR COMMERCIAL CLARITY AND VALUE


Scenario Two

Anglo: ‘I own a training company’.

THIS IS A CUE

Polish alternative: ‘How interesting. What areas in the market do you specialise in’? 


This gives space and time to understand what ‘I own a training company’ might mean. Then we can use the response to position what we share. When the timing feels right talk in terms of other areas that are beyond the earlier commercial clarity and value statement such as:

  • Our expertise in that market
  • Our experience in that market 
  • What we represent to a third party in that market 
  • What our position is in terms of that market

‘Choose your self-presentations carefully, for what starts out as a mask may become your face’ 

Chinese Proverb

This has a very different feel and allows time to consider what we need to emphasise. It should not be delivered as an offer but more in the style of searching for common ground in a relationship than common ground to make a transaction.

Culture & rainmaking

RELEVANT © comprises the following steps. This should be seen as the general shape of seeking an introduction not a mandatory chain of actions. The eight parts are listed below:

  • Reveal how you built your connections to your referee (the introduction source)
  • Emphasise the value you can deliver to any introductions that are made to you
  • Look for listeners and observers to meet… not just for leads to do business with – you are building an expansive network, not a narrow sales funnel
  • Expertise is the key to getting an introduction as this is the easiest ‘currency’ to trade in
  • Validate the process and your plan of action in your mind before making the ‘ask’ for an introduction
  • Action comes from validation and is not a passive process
  • Next moves after receiving an introduction will be the deciding factor as to whether you will get another one
  • Training is the key to generating this ability: It is an ability that can be practiced and manufactured

‘Where business cross-cultural engagement is concerned, token adjustments are not an option’

In our next Blog we look for the cue where it is appropriate to talk about the type of connections you should work with .

Author
Kasia Lanucha
Kasia Lanucha
Educated at Technische Universität Dresden. Holding a Certificate in Business Culture Training. Holding a Masters in German & qualifications in French & Polish. Kasia lectures at Cambridge & has an award-winning delivery with technical expertise in the key cross-cultural areas. She says: “Strength lies in differences not where we are similar”
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