The international BA is not as glamorous as the International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers, but it is exciting. For a number of reasons, many BAs are interacting with customers and team members across the globe. One of the keys to success is to understand and sometimes embrace the culture of the people with whom you are interacting. I want to share a short story of how I was able to break the ice with some clients in Argentina.
I spent some time in Buenos Aires, Argentina implementing an inventory management system. My first trip was dedicated to eliciting requirements. Prior to my trip I spoke with some of the key stakeholders to get to know them. I was hoping this would make my elicitation easier, but my first day in the office was not an easy one. Although everyone was extremely friendly, I did not really connect with many people. My elicitation was not going as well as I had hoped. Later that afternoon, I was thinking about how I could improve. I was looking out in the hallway and noticed something. When people greeted each other they gave a kiss on the cheek. I remembered that when I introduced myself to everyone that morning, I had the outstretched arm with a firm handshake. I made sure to keep a good amount of personal space.
With no other great ideas, I decided in the morning I was going in for the kiss. I am a hugger, but not necessarily a kisser when it comes to hello’s. I was definitely going to be out of my comfort zone, but I had to do something. So, in I came the next morning and turned into the kissing bandit! The first few were uncomfortable, but I got used to it quickly. And, it worked! There was this transformation from Kupe the outsider, to Kupe is one of us trying to help. The trip was very successful as were all my future interactions with this customer base.
Embrace the opportunity to meet new people and experience new cultures.
So, that was my story let’s hear your story.