When to avoid enthusiasm (revised)

In some cultures, the use of enthusiasm to inspire, engage and motivate make sense. Some, not all. Not even most. Beware.

The use of enthusiasm to inspire, engage and motivate certainly cannot be applied  universally.

It is very hard for wow-wowers to acknowledge how punishing cheer-leading and wow wowing can be to those people with different cultural assumptions than those cultures which wow wow.

Here are a few indications where enthusiasm needs to be curtailed.

1) In detailed driven cultures, enthusiasm is seen as lack of attention to details, and this glosses over the “real issues” critical to success. (Japan, Israel, Germany)

2) In cultures where cynicism as opposed to optimism is an inspiring force. (FSE, Eastern Europe)

3) In cultures where excess verbiage may be seen as noisy. (Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines)

4) In situations where enthusiasm is perceived as “asking ME to take risks” in an unsafe environment.

5) When the wowwower bearing good news flies in on Monday and leaves on Thursday.

6) In pragmatic cultures which emphasise that doing is more important than talking. (Holland, Germany, Israel)

7) In paranoid cultures, where exuding enthusiasm means “someone is lying to me” (FSU, China)

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9 thoughts on “When to avoid enthusiasm (revised)

  1. This also applies to French culture in my experience; except that for French people, rigor and precision in languaging is a good measure of mastery. Enthousiasm cannot be replaced with sloppy languaging; it can, however, indicate passion for reason.

  2. Very interesting article that brings a welcome dose of realism. It would be great to hear some more detail about some of these cultures – particularly interested in “cultures where cynicism as opposed to optimism is an inspiring force”.

  3. Sérieyx has an interesting chapter in his book “Le Big Bang Des Organisations” on what he calls “organizational boyscoutism”: a tendency to use “wow-wowing” as a means to put the cause above all else including self and others.

  4. I am wondering if there is a difference between being enthusiastic and being positively motivated? The OUTWARD expression might be different but where you are going still can be with positive intention.

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