In order to build successful and lasting business relationships in India, you may need to be more communicative and emotional than you’re used to. When sticky situations arise, you can’t leave important words unspoken, assume that everything will fall into place, or rely on other theories. Those tactics rarely work in cross-cultural relationships, and that’s especially true in India. It’s worth going the extra mile to make certain that important relationships are preserved and on the path to growth.
If you do things wrong in India, hopefully it’s due to a lack of knowledge or cultural savvy, not unwillingness to comply. Most Indians understand that, and are fairly forgiving by nature. You can always say, “I don’t really know and don’t mean to offend, so as we go along do help me understand your ways.” Indians admire such humility and honesty, and if things go wrong and you commit a faux pas, they’ll guide you. And you can also be up front with your Indian colleagues from the beginning, letting them know that you’ll be respectful but also work to improve certain areas (quality, timeliness, integrity, and so on).
To do your part in building successful relationships with your Indian colleagues, be sure to participate if you’re asked to be a part of family or festival time events.
Cultural preconceptions can color ...