- Israeli Business Culture
Sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone to learn more about yourself.
The book Israeli Business Culture would never have been written if I hadn’t moved with my family from Israel to live in Hoboken, New Jersey, for a few years. Life as an expat provided me with an opportunity to challenge myself. Even though interpersonal communication is my bread and butter, I made many mistakes working and studying in a foreign culture, stemming from cultural differences.
As an organizational consultant, I resolved to study Israeli culture and the gaps between it and other cultures. I wanted to better understand what constitutes proper communication in such a diverse world. A world in which foreigners aren’t familiar with and don’t comprehend the local codes of behavior. A world where you have to listen more and speak less. A world where you learn about others, but mainly you learn about yourself.
I decided to research the culture I came from. What is Israeli culture and what are its characteristics? I interviewed close to 100 managers from different cultures: the United States, India, China, Britain and others. The common denominator between them was their experience in working with Israelis in international corporations. The research successfully heightened my comprehension of similarities and differences, but mainly it gave me a lot of empathy for the specialness of each and every culture.
I constructed a model of the Israeli business culture’s main characteristics. The model enables people from different cultures to understand Israeli culture, particularly in the business arena. It also helps Israelis better fathom how they are perceived by people from other cultures.
The model uses the letters in the word “Israeli” as a basis for organizing the characteristics:
Israeli Business Culture elaborates on the various Israeli cultural characteristics. It provides tips for improving communication skills while doing business with Israelis. It also explains how we Israelis became a society in which our dress and behavior are informal, and our manner of speaking has almost no filters between thought and the spoken word. It explores why we are an entrepreneurial society of ambitious people who take risks on the road to success. Furthermore, we have a tendency to improvise and think outside the box, and more.
Israel developed this kind of culture due to its existential reality as a small, young country composed of immigrants from all over the world. Since it is geographically tiny and surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel has compulsory military service for both genders. Therefore, the vast majority of the population has imbibed army-life values that over time became the values of mainstream Israeli society. Day-to-day reality made Israeli culture unique.
If you are interested in learning about the Israeli business culture in order to acquire better communication and business success, you can order the book on Amazon.com.