Spain – Time Relaxed
As the future is volatile and uncertain, detailed long-term planning is somewhat irrelevant in this region. The ability to react creatively to changing circumstances is of greater value than such forward planning. Spanish business culture is varied and undergoing rapid and fundamental changes, so establishing which type of organisation are you dealing with is critical.
It is traditionally, a male dominated business society and until very recently female managers were relatively uncommon in anything other than family-run firms. However, changes in demographics, external influence and skills shortages have started to impact on Spain as on many other countries and more and more professional women are entering the workforce. Although it is still unusual to meet women in very senior positions, they are making rapid strides in middle-management areas.
Relationships are all important and it is essential to work on the development of good long-term relationships even at the expense of some short term ‘hits’. Information is given on a ‘who needs to know’ or ‘who do I want to know’ basis. Agendas, when used, will not necessarily be adhered to. They can be seen to stifle creativity and debate. Although it is important to be punctual, it is far more important to place the correct amount of emphasis on relationships. Therefore, dealing with people is more important than punctuality.
Entertaining at meal times is an important part of the relationship building process. Food is to be savoured. Save discussions about specific business issues for the coffee. Body language in Spain is more expansive than in many other parts of the world. Do not mistake ‘theatrical’ body language and gestures with a lack of control. Spaniards have extremely strong eye contact. Good eye contact is important as it builds trust.
from information supplied by: World Business Culture
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