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Back in the days

I clearly remember working in my very first DDP (distributed development project) back in 2004. It was a strategic, XXL, mission-critical new breed of application that laid the path for Composites at SAP. That was in the early days of SAP NetWeaver and as such we brought together a diverse bunch of people to make it happen. We had people from the US, Germany, India and Israel on our roster. It surely was an ambitious goal resulting in a very busy time, yet also very rewarding and interesting at the same time. Looking back now, I tend to think that it also started my thinking about cultural awareness....

One of the things I clearly remember are the great discussions and conversations I had with some genuine colleagues from the NW Advisory Office: Amit, Nir, Avi, Itai... as we spend quite some time togther being locked up in our war room - sooner or later we exchanged more than just professional topics. At one point the time the question came up when I would come to see Israel...

It's been my first time working with Israelis and the way I got to take them was as very analytical, passionate, motivated and straight-foward people. All characteristics I appreciate a lot and feel comfortable with. So, my answer was that I would love to do that, yet a feeling of insecurity would be there. Ouch...

They were gentle on me and kindly switched topic. Yet, a day later I got the following email and it gave me great insight. I think, such a guide for all involved regions and cultures in every DDP would surely help. Sure, it's only a guidance and some sense for international socialising is still required. Yet, coming from an Israeli it sure helps you in setting a playing field.

So, here is - Thanks again to Amit for re-sending it!!!

Tips for establishing effective relationships and communication with people from Israel

Present ideas clearly and concisely, getting right to the point and using clear logic. Expect to be cut off regularly during a presentation. Israelis prefer to ask questions and discuss issues immediately rather than wait until the end of a presentation, and it is best to pause and respond to them. Be prepared with plenty of supporting facts to support your position. Keep presentations shorter than what you may normally give to allow for questioning and side discussions.

Israelis are generally fond of debate and will typically discuss any topic very passionately, and visitors are often taken back by the tone or loudness of the discussion. In most cases, this passionate expression should not be mistaken for anger, but viewed rather as a culturally appropriate form of expression.

It is best not to bring up politics in Israel, but if the topic arises, listen, be respectful, and avoid antagonistic responses. Be sensitive to the fact that most people have experienced some tragedy related to the political conflict in Israel. Safer topics of conversation are travel and popular sports such as swimming, soccer (which is called football) and basketball. It is appropriate to discuss your personal life in conversation but try to limit the details to general information. Polite inquiry about the family of your Israeli counterpart, however, shows an interest and is generally welcomed.



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