For many reasons which are beyond the scope of this post, Israel and Israelis tend to have a survivor mind set which manifests itself in various domains such as internal politics, policy making and external affairs.
In this post, I will relate to the ways that the survivor mentality manifests itself in organizational behaviour, which is the domain of this blog.
Since there is a lot of deviation within any given population vis a vis specific behaviours, not every Israeli or Israeli organization will display these characteristics.
However I am dealing here with generalizations which are frequent enough to merit mention.
- Emotional (life is a struggle)
- Insider-outsider dynamic,or us or against us (friend or enemy?)
- Paranoid about other’s hidden agendas (can you be trusted?)
- Fast and responsive (matter of life and death)
- Lots of argument about minute points; trees are as important as forests; not expedient (it is all about principle, not priority)
- High level of involvement and commitment (it’s a war)
- Very pragmatic and action oriented– do anything that works; hands on (shoot, don’t talk)
- Extremely adverse to planning, preference to improvisation (hush hush about intentions)
- Points of agreement constantly re-opened and negotiated (win, not win win)
- Entertainment of parallel strategies all the time; not consistent (one upsmanship)
- Speed as strategy ; build first and scale later, sloppy (slow and steady looses)
- Challenge authority constantly but highly loyal in the crunch (commando)
So, what are the keys to being effective when you work with Israelis? The answer is a post in and of itself so I will leave you with 5 tips in the meantime.
- Talking on the phone is more effective than email.
- Be strong and negotiate all the time.
- Avoid expediency which is seen as a near fatal weakness.
- Don’t try to buy performance (Your bonus depends on this.)
- Discuss underlying trust issues openly. Israel ain’t Japan and the more open you are, the better.
This post is dedicated to my 4th grand daughter Rona, a 5th generation Israeli, born at 9 am this morning after a prolonged 8 minute labour! Speed as strategy.