This is Israeli Style!

This is why I love Israeli style, and I believe this is a biblical style.

 Like Abraham they can leave and start up things without well-planned, written, and organized stuff.  Like David, they prefer direct asking and hearing through verbal conversation to researching through GPA, curriculum vitaes.  Like Yeshua (Jesus), their yes is yes, and no is no; and they’re very uncomfortable with heirarchical bureaucracy.

Leach Sherman Kish’s assessment is so right and true.

5 Tips on What to Expect when Working with Israelis

Whether you’re American, German, Asian or Australian, coming to Israel to work with Israelis will be a unique experience. In order to enjoy your stay, keep focused and not be offended (or offend) in this high pace, energetic and complex culture – you should come prepared.

Business culture in Israel is far more casual and informal than what you are probably used to. Israelis are straightforward, assertive and persistent people. Business is fast-paced and often conducted with a sense of urgency. At the same time, personal connections are of the highest importance as colleagues and business partners make an effort to get to know each other, socialize and have coffee together.

“Israeli society is a poly-chronic culture (relationship-oriented), in contrast to American, British or German  cultures which are mono-chronic (rule-oriented). In Israel’s relationship-oriented culture, open feelings and warm, honest emotions are primary, while efficiency, planning and objective facts may be secondary.” *

Here are some points to take into consideration upon embarking on your next Business adventure to Israel:

1. Communication : Interaction among colleagues is very direct, spontaneous, open and almost family-like. If you are used to formality and to speaking about issues indirectly, avoiding being too honest or using a lot of understatements, you may find that your Israeli colleagues are unsure and even confused as to your true intentions. Israelis appreciate honesty and clarity and will expect you to do the same.They do not deal well with vagueness or subtlety and often interpret them as dishonesty, which will make it much harder to gain their trust.That’s why Israelis may often come across as blunt, aggressive or even rude, but be assured- this is not at all the case!

2. Work Situations: At work, Israelis will usually opt to resolve differences through direct communications, face to face, which may include the use of confrontation, speaking loudly and straightforward criticism. Hand gestures and facial expressions are common.Verbal communication is used to express feelings, thoughts, ideas but also to maintain a working relationship that deals with problems quickly and efficiently. You may often find that after such an encounter, both sides resume their former relationship almost immediately and feel satisfied and ready to move on with the job at hand.

3. Working style: Israelis value quick action to resolve problems, and tend to choose improvisation over careful planning and over detailed working schedules. Plans can change at the last minute to be made more efficient and suit the specific situation. They will always prefer to take initiative over waiting through a long process of bureaucracy which is widely interpreted as a waste of valuable time. Flexibility, innovation, taking initiative and adaptability are highly respected traits as well as the ability to work in a team and communicate openly with your co workers.

4. Punctuality and keeping time: Israelis usually have a more flexible view of time, which subsequently leads to a decreased use of time-tables and agendas as well as imprecise starting and ending times for meetings. Although time tables are made and schedules are part of every project, in reality everyone seems to be running a little late. Meeting a deadline is well appreciated but somehow everyone expects it to be moved a bit before the project ends. Another time-related issue in Israeli meetings is the typical lack of agenda. In some cultures, an agenda might be circulated before the meeting, and it will be closely followed as the meeting progresses. In most Israeli work environments this will not be the case.This however, will actually have very little or no effect at all on the content or efficiency of  the meeting which usually results in getting things done, having decisions made and bringing closure to unresolved issues.

” This might  be perceived by other cultures as easy-going and relaxed, or alternatively inefficient and inaccurate.” **

5. Hierarchy at the work place: Israelis interact very openly across organizational hierarchies, and do not attribute significance to various types of authority in the company **. The atmosphere in most companies is very professional, yet pleasant and friendly at an interpersonal level. The rigid hierarchy you may be accustomed to isn’t the norm in Israel. As in every company, there is a hierarchical management structure, but even a new employee can freely communicate with any rank of management, as long as the matter is presented in a professional manner or if help or support are needed in a certain area. Depending on their importance, decisions are made during either staff or work team meetings. Everyone has the right to express their feelings and opinions about the topic in question as meetings usually take the form of open discussions. If the supervisor is present, people may spontaneously suggest ideas, give their opinions or even complain. Unofficial communication is vastly encouraged. There’s no over use of bureaucracy and the employee doesn’t have to go through a chain of command to speak with someone.

I would like to conclude by sharing a quote:

“Israel is very “civilized” within the framework of a struggling and pressurized Middle Eastern nation that strives very hard to be “Western.”
Israelis have perceptions of time, space and values that are completely different from those of North Americans. Israelis see Americans as artificial and square, when they are actually just showing respect. Americans think Israelis are arrogant, rude and pushy, when in reality they are being direct and honest. Israel is a very small country whose population is one big family. In a family people can be as direct and honest as they want. But now that family members are selling their goods and services outside the clan, Israelis are adapting.”

Joel Leyden \ TIME Magazine

Thank you for reading!

* http://www.israelnewsagency.com/doingbusiness.html

** http://www.israemploy.net/Work_Culture/index.php?pf=yes

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