Building strong relationships in Sweden requires you to understand the way the Nordic countries like to build their working network and establish agreements.
What is your style?
If you value direct communication, if you need to wait for your colleague to make the first delivery before trust him/her and if you find small talk and business meals unnecessary; then it will be easy for you to adapt to Sweden because, like the Swedish, you belong to a task-oriented culture. Nevertheless,, make sure to take into account the fact that you have to be a good team-member if you want to succeed!
On the other hand, if you enjoy small talk, truly enjoy knowing the background of your business partners, and find it necessary to spend time and share meals with a prospective provider before choosing their services, then your culture has very different values than the Swedish and you will need to pay extra attention to your reactions and expectations when doing business in Sweden.
Building Relationships in Sweden
Task-oriented cultures, like the Swedish, consider that a successful person is the one that gets the job done efficiently.
When building relations with individuals that are task oriented:
- Make sure you do your work on time.
- Don’t be late for meetings.
- Always be prepared to show your progress.
- Relate your explanations to the task you are working on in a productive and efficient manner.
- Set clear expectations about your work.
- Don’t force small talk or try to establish personal relationships that in your culture would otherwise be necessary. Stick to the tasks.
When building relationships with task oriented organizations you will be expected to:
- Offer rational, well-planned and logical proposals.
- Make sure to have plenty of data to back-up your ideas.
- be persuasive about your opinions during negotiations.. The decision making process might be long because the Swedish will always strive try to find an agreement between all the involved parties.
- React fast to changes in the market.
- Work independently under the decisions made by the group.
- Avoid open disagreement and conflict as much as possible.
Seek to understand
No matter where you are coming from or who is in front of you; no matter how frustrated you are and how much culture shock you may be experiencing, if you are in Sweden to do business and to negotiate, your only way to be successful is to keep an open mind. Adapt to what the new culture is offering and demanding from you and slowly get comfortable with their way of working.
If you want to find out more about building relationship across cultures read this article: