One surprise for us recently in Croatia was the practice of eating lunch at five (o’clock)– which demonstrated how ingrained habits dictate behavior. Used to eating in the middle of the day, this seemed wrong to us. However, enjoying this meal at dusk makes total sense to anyone who eats dinner at 9 or 10 pm.
Your firm may have established its own messaging, mode of dress, or presentation style. If your way of operating is different– the equivalent of lunch at noon, beware. We tried to change Croatians’ behavior, and it didn’t work out well.
However, if you are determined to be a catalyst for change, you will succeed only if you don’t push too hard or too quickly against the institutionalized culture. For example, if your firm is buttoned down, but you are more casual, and gravitate toward a narrative approach, introduce it slowly. Do your best not to make others wrong. When you are committed and present well, the proof will be evident. In time, you may notice lunch inching toward three o’clock.