1 Going global: How to succeed in International Business! (29 pages)

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16 Global Management: A dance with icebergs

The iceberg of human behavior (based on Dilts 1980)


Behavior: The behavior of an individual is the only thing apparent
to the observer. We hear what they say and how it is expressed,
we see their facial expressions and gestures, and we see what
they do. This behavior is embedded in a specific environment or
given context, which similarly can be observed e.g. a meeting at a
certain time of day, at a specific location within a certain cultural
framework. We can see someone who is permanently smiling and
laughing, or someone who remains imperturbably silent, or some-
one who dominates and seemingly controls the entire conversa-
tion. Yet the motivation for such actions remains imperceptible,
hidden below the surface of the water. A Chinese colleague may
be laughing for very different reasons than his Czech colleague
seated next to him.

Capabilities: What we can do, what we think and feel and our

awareness of our own capabilities determine our behavior. How
comfortable do you feel speaking a foreign language? How well
versed are you on the discussion topic? How much experience do
you have working internationally? And how good are you in the art
of rhetoric? Many of our capabilities remain only partly visible to
the outside observer. We can, however, make an educated guess
as to an

individual’s prowess in a given area. When a Thai busi-

ness partner

repeatedly nods and says ‘Yes’ during an English

negotiation, we are inclined to think that he agrees with our pro-
posals and, as such, a final agreement can be made. However, it
can also be the case that our Thai negotiator does not understand
what we are saying, that he cannot follow the discussion due to a
lack of English language proficiency and is simply nodding his way


Dilts puts belongingness/spirituality/mission at the top of his pyramid. I

have swapped this order around from the perspective of ‘Levels under water’.

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