MEXICO. Difficulty separating work and personal relationships
U.S. Separates work from emotions/ personal relationships
Why this matters: In Mexico, business agreements often happen after a long lunch/dinner, rather than at the meeting room. If you feel things are not moving forward, you may try to this technique to build trust.
MEXICO. Shuns confrontation.
U.S. Direct and frank communication style.
Why this matters: Macho images notwithstanding, Mexican business people pride themselves on their diplomatic skills. They are polite and courteous, even if this may hinder frank communication. You may need an insider to read non-verbal clues and understand if things are going your way.
MEXICO. Dress and grooming are status symbols
U.S. Appearance is secondary to performance.
Why this matters. While Mexicans are open to differences in dress and manners, dressing nicely shows respect towards them, while making you gain theirs.
MEXICO. Proud of long history and traditions
U.S. Proud of the “American Way of Life”
Why this matters. A recent employee satisfaction survey at a large maquiladora in Tijuana found that workers were unhappy about the cancellation of the annual Mother´s day picnic and Christmas event. This complaint ranked higher than comments regarding salary and benefits.
MEXICO. Truth is a relative concept
U.S. Truth is seen as an absolute value
American companies need to be sensitive towards important dates such as these to keep worker morale up and attract the best workforce members.
Why this matters. My experience working as an outsourcing broker for American companies has taught me that this is a particularly sore point of conflict between the cultures. It leads American companies to see problems where Mexicans don´t. Here again, it takes an experienced person to distinguish between issues that may affect quality and deadlines and to handle them in a way that will yield the desired results -and not alienation and hostility.
Nevertheless, everyone agrees on this:
You can´t extend Christmas.
And at the end of the day, that´s what are all working for.