Living in Canada we tend to pride ourselves on how we’re different from our American neighbours. It’s an interesting dichotomy in which our culture is almost defined in all the ways we’re different, as opposed to the ways we simply are. The Canadian business culture is one of those ways in which we radically differ from the United States. My favourite of these differences is probably the Canadian “No.”
There are very few Canadians who will simply shut down an offer with a firm rejection. We seem to favour the softer and more open-ended rejection. I think this probably stems from our fears of seeming to be impolite or hurt anyone’s feelings. For example, our friend Jimmy Rustles is trying to sell a SaaS solution to a prospective customer. Rather than hearing a simple “no, we’re not interested,” Jimmy is getting another response.
“Your product is really interesting, but I don’t think that’s a good fit for us right now.”
Okay, so some time in the future Jimmy’s SaaS solution might be a good fit then? It’s probably not likely. This is the Canadian rejection. Soft enough to avoid stepping on any toes, but sadly it leaves things rather open-ended and will likely waste a lot of Jimmy’s time. This is not commonplace in the United States.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some drawbacks to the American style. They can be seen as brash and aggressive, which makes sense because, well, they are. The goal for Americans is to get things done and if something isn’t going to work out you’ll know about it. This seems to extend (sometimes) into their government view on business and innovation as well. Look at the Uber situation for example. Uber is thriving in the US, while in some European countries (France is a good example) unions and government intervention are severely hindering this innovative company. Innovation needs a can do attitude and constant pushing to succeed, which is probably a large part of the reason as to why the United States has seen unparalleled tech growth compared to other nations.
I love Canada and I’m sure Jimmy does too, but I think when it comes to business he’d be able to see why I love Americans.
Guest post by Gareth from Go Cloud Based.