Because you’ve heard of the Mexican culture work ethic, you’re probably excited at the possibility of conducting business in Mexico. However, if you’re not aware of key cultural differences between U.S. and Mexico in business, you may feel disappointed. You might not see the work ethic you thought you would. You may even become frustrated and misunderstand. What are the main differences between American and Mexican culture? We’ll explain that below, so you can benefit from the opportunity of expanding business to Mexico.

puzzle of the national US and Mexico flags

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Cultural Differences Between U.S. and Mexico in Business That You Must Know

Mexicans Prefer Clear Deadlines

One of the biggest cultural differences you need to be aware of when doing business in Mexico is Mexicans prefer clear deadlines. They don’t complete tasks that lack clear deadlines. In Mexican business culture, tasks that aren’t given specific deadlines aren’t considered important. If it’s important, then the employer or manager will give a deadline. George Bowman, the managing director of GE’s Electrical Distribution and Control in Mexico, shared his story. Once he started giving deadlines, work was completed on time or even before the deadline.

Mexicans View Fact Statements as Promises

When Americans inform employees that they need a certain degree for promotion, they know that it won’t automatically happen. To Americans, this simply means that it’s a requirement or prerequisite to stand a chance at being promoted. In Mexico, however, people view these types of fact statements as promises. It has caused confusion before, resulting in the employee feeling wronged by what they thought was a guarantee. Therefore, it’s important to phrase it in a different way, so that Mexicans don’t misunderstand.

Relationships Are Important to Mexicans in Business

Relationships are more important than professional capability in Mexico. If you want to do business in Mexico, you’ll have to become friends with the people you want to work with. You can also befriend those who are connected to the contacts you wish to do business with in Mexico. They will be able to introduce you and vouch for you. Relationships matter in America too, just not to the same extent as in Mexico. Relationship building is one of the top challenges of doing business in Mexico but it’s worth it.

Mexicans Aren’t Time-Conscious

Americans who have tried doing business in Mexico without first learning about the culture have complained about Mexicans being late. Cancelled meetings is another major complaint they have about Mexican business. Mexicans aren’t as strict with time as Americans are. Those who realize that it’s important to Americans make an effort to arrive on time, but they may still be late sometimes. When you schedule a meeting with someone in Mexico, you should call before the meeting. Also call on the date of the meeting to reconfirm it. Confirming the meeting on the day of is especially important to ensure they still show up.

You must know the above main cultural differences between U.S. and Mexico in business in order to have a less stressful experience. Mexicans come off as indirect to Americans, but it’s just a different way of communicating. Once you understand how they communicate with each other, it’ll become easier to understand Mexicans. You can also prevent misunderstandings arising from what you say as well.

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