For 35 years, I have consulted Israelis, Indians, Chinese, Thais, Taiwanese, Russians, Japanese, Dutch and Germans about working with people in American HQs.
Here are the top 5 recurring issues and observations.
1) “I seem to get the feeling that they expect that we will become more like them.” In other words, there is an expectation that over time, people will “develop” and become more American in the way they do business.
2) “Behind the polite veneer, informality and calling people by their first name so quickly, I am always given the feeling I am an outsider”. In other words, far from being only disarming, American informality is seen as deceiving at times.
3) “I get the feeling that terms like top down, big picture, distinguishing the forest from the trees has created a management system with lack of attention to detail.” There focus on the big picture is seen as apparent lack of concern for details.
4) “I never assume that the guy with whom I am dealing cares more about the company than his career”. Non Americans are astonished about how loyal American managers appear to be to their career as opposed to the firm for which they work.
5) “Why don’t you come over some time” actually means nothing!”. Behind the friendly civility is a chill.