What happens when Indians and Israelis work together

Over the years, I have consulted more than a hundred teams of Israelis and Indians working together in all configurations. Israelis with Indian bosses, Indians with Israeli bosses and Indians and Israelis with a German boss.

Whilst India is a huge country and Israelis are a very diverse and individualist lot, there tend to be several common characteristics  that I want to share.

  1. Israelis challenge authority and face saving is unknown. Indians appear to defer to authority and face saving is a an important cornerstone in civil dialogue.
  2. Indians often request permission from their bosses if they need to overstep their role; their Israeli counterparts view this behaviour as “hiding” behind their bosses.
  3. Both Indians and Israeli bypass the system and leverage personal connections to get things done; this serves as an excellent platform for solving what seem to be insurmountable problems, if there is trust. But often there is not.
  4. Indian employees exhibit deference and their Israeli bosses often think that there is agreement on a course of action, when there is no agreement whatsoever. Or, Israelis push back on their Indian bosses, arguing and appearing to undermine them. Some of this is cultural. Lots of it is different ways to augment power.
  5. Both Israelis and Indians negotiate all the time as a way of life. The better the negotiation skills are, the more mutual respect is garnered. (These negotiation skills can drive US and German managers out of their mind.)
  6. Both Israelis and Indians work very hard and put in long hours, with constant availability via their mobiles. These similarities may build trust over time, if and when people start playing for the same team.
  7. Indians tend to want to please their clients, who are often rough and tumble. Israelis “know” what their clients want, better than the client!
  8. Indians focus on doing their own job and deferring to other people to do their job. Israelis strive for end to end control to enhance the solution,not necessarily to look good.

Consultants who work with Israel Indian teams should focus on clarifying relationship to authority, defining expectations from follower-ship, communication styles under duress, ways to augment transparency and face saving. mechanisms.

On a personal level, I love working with Israeli and Indian teams. Both populations show consultants a lot of appreciation and warmth if the consultant does the work properly.


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