Last week was the official launch of Managing Through a Mirror: Successful Business Communication where Cultures Meet. From September 18 onwards, the book is available through all regular distribution channels, and obviously also through this website. Needless to say, I’m proud of this milestone, and proud to have published a book that is available across the world. But the fun just starts: publishing your own book means taking care of all promotional activities yourself, which is an area I have limited experience in. A great challenge, that kicks off with an interview tomorrow night at BNR.
The book launch took place in Villa Jongerius: an unknown but fantastic location in Utrecht that has great relevance for the topic we discussed. Jan Jongerius was official dealer of Ford cars in the Netherlands, and a true international entrepreneur by heart. He built Villa Jongerius in the 30s at the former Ford site in Utrecht, and today the villa is used for trainings, seminars and other events. The villa tells the story of the Jongerius family through lively pictures and paintings.
The book launch was kicked off by Natasja Sesink and Roderik van Seumeren of Meemaken BV: a company that owns a series of companies that they manage through their unique philosophy, in which development of people is a central aspect. Nico Swaan is an independent consultant and author, who spoke some words on the relevance of this book for the personal development of managers. As some of the models in the book are based on Nico’s rich work on interpersonal influencing, his speech was a recognition for the application of these models in intercultural context. Chris Fentener van Vlissingen spoke some words on the book itself and his experience reading it: in a lively way he went through some of the practical tips the book provides, and shared his experience practicing these tips in his own daily life. Chris then handed the first official version of the book to me.
The central theme in Managing Through a Mirror is that – to be effective in an international setting – managers first need to be aware of their own behavior and the impact this has on others with whom they work. This is only partially cultural: personality, experience and company culture play an important role as well. Only when aware of your own behavior and the impact on your environment, it is useful to start learning about the culture you deal with. Some basic knowledge of other cultures is essential to be effective in an international setting. The third step then is to make a conscious choice: will I adjust to their cultural habits, will I pursue my own preferred style of operating, or will I make a conscious choice for other actions to deal with differences.
A few of the background slides that were used during the book launch:
Managing Through a Mirror is available now; the book can be ordered as a regular hardcover here, or as e-book in all major book distribution channels. I look forward to your feedback and reactions, once you have worked your way through the book and got to apply some of the practical tips!