Global OD-Lessen Sixteen: Interviewing people from cultures where people are unwilling to critique their boss

Many cultures show huge outward respect and give face to authority, making it very challenging  to gather data about what the boss is doing wrong in their opinion.

Here are some techniques for gathering  information in such circumstances.

1) Give two conflicting opinions and ask if you are right/wrong. Do this several times.

“Mr Timor has a good understanding of the product.(wait)”

“Mr Timor could understand the product better. (wait)

2) Diagnose the past via the future. The future has not happened yet, so face is not an issue.

“Next quarter, Mr Timor is going to be away for 2 months; it will be hard to sell to X because he has such important relationship with the customer”. (wait)

“Next quarter, Mr Timor is going to be away for 2 months; this may help us sell to X because someone who the customer prefers (Mr K) will handle the account ”. (wait)

3) Use people who have left the company.

  • 1) Give me names of people who left the company.
  • 2) Which of them is like you?
  • 3) What did he think of Mr Timor?

4)  Use a positive future event to gather data.

“Mr Timor’s boss may want to promote him”.

  • He should get an even bigger Sales role. Right?
  • He should move him into back office so he can give his knowledge to Finance, right?
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