Lesson #2: Learn to Adapt in International Business

Last week I released Lesson 1 of “5 Keys Lessons in Flexibility for International Professionals”. Click here to access Lesson 1. This week I’m sharing with you the second lesson in flexibility I’ve learned on my international travels.

Lesson #2: Learn to Adapt

Adapting to a new culture and a new language will make you bend and twist in directions you probably don’t want to go.

Simple, everyday tasks can drastically change from country to country.

For example, I was used to paying utility bills in the post office in Australia. This was before paying bills online became a common task. When I moved to Japan, I was surprised that in order to pay my utility bills, it wasn’t a post office I had to go to. It wasn’t the retail office of the utility company either. No, it was the local convenience store. A 7-Eleven where you’d usually buy a bottle of coke and a sandwich.

For every day tasks, such as paying your utility bills, it’s not so difficult to change your habits. But for more important things, such as dealing with cultural misunderstandings, refusing to be flexible and always wanting to do things the way it’s done “back home” will only make you frustrated and annoyed.

Furthermore, it will not help you connect and understand how that culture truly works. You will always be on the outside.


When you travel to another country or do business with people from another culture, you need to approach things with an open-mind and you need to go into every situation expecting to be flexible.

Lesson 3 of this article will be released in one week. You can wait until next week for lesson 3, or you can join the Executive Impressions’ weekly newsletter and access all 5 lessons plus and audio version right now.

Image courtesy of Stock Images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Kara

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider India, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Daily Muse, Women 2.0, and more. Kara offers corporate seminars and online training programs on business etiquette, leadership skills, and executive communication around the world. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox