Working with Americans
How to Build Profitable Business Relationships
Finalist in the Business Management and Leadership Category of the International Book Awards 2021.
Finalist in the General Business Category of the American Book Festival 2021.
In this new, extensively updated second edition, authors Allyson Stewart-Allen and Lanie Denslow accurately capture the current US business environment and its changes since their best-selling 1st edition published in 2002. You’ll find even more insights into the American business mindset, diversity and regions building on the acclaimed first edition so you can confidently negotiate, communicate and influence in the world’s largest, most profitable and complex marketplace.
Alongside their examination of the impact of 5 generations in today’s US workforce, the authors explore the complex issues faced by American bosses including:
- levels of transparency expected of organizations in how they do business, ranging from ethics of their supply chain, to the treatment of employees via social media, equal pay expectations or the personal views of their executives on environmental, social, governance or political events
- ever declining workforce loyalty resulting from perceived job insecurity
- younger employees’ quest for visibility, interesting projects and rapid promotion
- consumer and customer expectations as standard for extensive personalization and customization of products and services
Anybody who has ever done business with Americans can testify that there are more differences than similarities between the US business culture and those in the rest of the world. Whether it’s values, etiquette, communication, influencing or negotiating, there’s a clear American style. How you go about building successful and profitable business relationships in the US should be guided by the many important lessons and insights offered in this essential reference guide. Whether new to working with Americans or an experienced internationalist, this book will serve as your ready reference for connecting with US colleagues, clients, customers or consultants.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Introduction, Acknowledgements, Part 1 Background, 1. The Tea Party and the Great Frontier, 2. Open Space (We’ve Got Lots) or Big is Better, 3. We the People, 4. Everyone Knows the Rules of the Game, Part 2 Foundation, 5. Do It Now, 6. I’ll Do It Myself, 7. Let’s Be Friends, 8. Write It Down, Part 3 Business, 9. American Corporate Culture, 10. Who’s the Boss? 11. If It’s New It’s Great. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 12. Lots of Plans and Lots of Advisors, 13. Superstition Is the Way, 14. See You in Court, Maybe, Part 4 Creating Connections, 15. Wait Your Turn, I’m Talking Now, 16. What Can We Say? 17. Let’s Do Lunch, 18. Working with Americans – Why Bother?
Allyson Stewart-Allen is a renowned advisor, author, speaker and educator whose expertise in brand internationalization is sought by leading businesses globally through her consultancy, publications, appearances, mentoring and corporate education. She has advised more than 200 businesses in 26 countries and is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences. Allyson applies her extensive international consulting experience, MBA education and languages to the company she founded, International Marketing Partners.
Lanie Denslow is a leading author, speaker and advisor on how culture shapes business practices around the world. She is the founder and principal of World Wise Intercultural Training & Resources, providing coaching and customized programs to enhance clients’ cultural awareness and ability to navigate a multicultural, global business environment. She has conducted seminars for global business leaders and organizations in the US, China, Germany, Russia and England.
"The business world is in a state of turbulence crossing all boundaries. Yet America, despite it all, remains consistent in its unique way of approaching opportunities....an openness to ideas, a somewhat chaotic process of vetting them, and a hope that each will uncover a rainbow at the end. Working with Americans will help you decode this journey and give you invaluable insights on how best to participate successfully on it." - Gary E Knell, Chairman, National Geographic Partners
"There's never been a better time to arm yourself with this essential guide to transatlantic business practices. By explaining how to sidestep many of the common causes of misunderstanding and miscalculation, it cuts out the trial and error that bedevils so many new Anglo-American business relationships. It's a treasure trove of clear advice from first page to last and, having lived and worked in both the UK and US, I can vouch for its relevance and accuracy. I only wish I'd got hold of a copy sooner." - Patrick Jephson, Former Chief of Staff to Diana, Princess of Wales
"Working with Americans or Learning from Americans. This book is a fascinating journey into a business culture that values each person as a unique individual. This coupled with an ingrained enthusiasm and attitude that anything is possible has created a learning environment for the business world in how to truly understand the power of diversity in leadership" - David Allen, President, Pandora EMEA
"This is a must-have book for anyone wanting to work with and win business with American companies of all sizes. Expertly written with unique insights provided that will put you ahead in your quest for growth." - Brenda Santoro, Head of Global Trade, Silicon Valley Bank
"‘Working with Americans’ is an indispensable read for anyone looking for a practical navigational aid in building and sustaining successful business relationships in one of the most complex markets in the world" - Lee Turlington, Global Chief Product Officer, Canada Goose
"This is an essential how-to guide that should be required reading for anyone trying to win in the US" - Lord Stephen Carter, Group Chief Executive, Informa PLC
"Full of clearly written advice and humorous examples, it could improve your relationships, especially in the business field."- The American Magazine
"If you want to understand Americans better, then this is the book for you. This easy-to-read tome provides a great overview of the Land of Opportunity and key considerations for doing business with Americans. I particularly enjoyed learning about American culture and the reasons why Americans tend to be associated with certain characteristics.
As the authors point out, the US was built by people who were willing to take risks to build a better life. The second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal" and the authors explain that this concept has helped to shape American society as we know it. People believe in the American Dream – the idea anyone can achieve financial prosperity provided they work hard and show determination.
In fact, as the book reveals, Americans are hardworking people. The book highlights that they get comparatively little ‘vacation’, which explains why they tend to value time very highly. Punctuality is extremely important to Americans and they regard a deadline as a ‘promise’ rather than a ‘goal’. Another important element of American culture is that it is highly individualistic, a trait that dates back to the country’s founding Pilgrims. The Pilgrims believed each person had an individual relationship with God. Today, the individualism of Americans is reflected in the personalised products and services that businesses offer to their consumers.
The US is also known for its innovative culture. According to the authors, Darwinism is the national religion of the US. Individuals and organisations are expected to keep evolving. Also, there is a willingness to ‘fail fast, fail often’. In other words, American companies are willing to learn from market tests to improve the next iterations of their products. Experimentation is seen as the route to growth. After reading this book, I came away with heightened respect for the US as a society. Perhaps the book would benefit from a little more practical advice on how to build lasting relationships with Americans, but I found it both an enjoyable and informative read." - Sally Percy, Editor of ‘Edge’, Spring 2021