Preparing Canadians to interface with Israelis (updated)

I have spend hundreds of hours working with Canada based firms and managers about  working with Israel based managers and teams, especially Israeli R&D teams.

This cultural/ organizational interface is not an easy one; to keep the post short I have focused on the top 5 points I emphasize in my work with the Canadians.

1) Israelis are not “like my Jewish in laws, my Jewish dentist, or my next door Jewish  neighbours who happen to live in a war zone.” Israelis have a very distinct and unique culture; it is not useful assume that exposure to Canadians of the Jewish faith is applicable to the Israelis.

2) Canadians tend to be outwardly “nice”, valuing external civility. Israelis see less value in external civility  (none to be exact) when matters of essence are contentious. (Most issues are defined by the Israelis as critical because of their survival mentality), So listen to what Israelis say and try not to listen to how they say it. And make sure that you are not perceived as weak, because weakness will exacerbate their aggression.

3) Be aware of communication style differences. For example, when an Israeli says “No”, he is saying “not yet”, “test me” or “let’s see how committed/strong you are to making me agree with you”.It is not a definitive No.  And, be very direct and make sure the Israelis understand your point. (Can you do better on that deadline should be: your proposed delivery date is not good enough-make a better proposal).

4) Israelis make every effort to deliver. They will work extraordinarily hard to give you what they have promised. So you need fewer control mechanisms that you would with other remote vendors. Israelis push back on process and planning. Emphasize what you want and when you want it, and minimize what they see are “ritualistic” constraints.

5) Israelis, like Chinese and Indians, work best when there is trust. Foster strong personal and informal relationships; they work wonders.

6) Canadians are very politically correct; Israelis are not, albeit some pretend to be, for a few minutes. There is no need to bend over backwards not to offend anyone.

7) Canadians often frown away from being very emotional at work. Israelis do not. So if you are angry, disappointed or elated, you can show it.

8) Both Canadians and Israelis do not hide their hyphenated ethnicity, so feel comfortable.


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One thought on “Preparing Canadians to interface with Israelis (updated)

  1. Enjoyed both parts of your piece on Israelis and Canadians working together. I found the material informative. Not sure about your comment that experience with individuals from the same religion doesn’t provide any insight.

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