England and Australia have a long-term rivalry, especially when it comes to cricket. But there are other differences, cultural rebellions and strange idiosyncrasies that demarcate each nation’s identity, and which also influence their respective business worlds. Below we take a look at 5 of the most profound cultural differences and how they affect business coaching in both countries.
1. The BS Meter Vs. Mind Your P’s and Q’s
The difference in each nation’s culture may be typified (and stereotyped) by some of their respective popular male film stars. While the English temperament may be polite, stuttering, and gentlemanly – think Hugh Grant or Colin Firth – Australia’s film stars tend to be action heroes with a direct, physical and rough-around-the-edges charm – for example, Paul Hogan, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe.
So if you are getting business coaching in Melbourne, you’d better be prepared for some direct and honest communication. While the business coaching in London may involve a little more tact, if an Australian thinks you are full of BS, they will probably let you know!
2. Put Another Snag on the Barbie Vs. City of No Sleep
In Australia, there is a big focus on work / life balance, and taking time out to “put another snag on the barbie,” despite the Australian reputation for getting into some “hard yakka”. A business coach in Melbourne is usually equally concerned about a client’s leisure time as opposed to their working hours.
A London business coach is often similarly called to help clients balance their home and work lives. However, they must face a greater challenge to help their clients maintain that balance due to the pace of the frenetic business world in London.
3. Australians and Drinking Vs. England’s Pub Culture
An English businessperson visiting Australia for the first time, may be pardoned for mistaking Australians as high-functioning alcoholics. While there seems to be more of a separation in England between work and play, in Melbourne it is common to do business over lunch and a couple of beers.
Australia’s egalitarian ethos would also be revealed in the coach-client relationship. Whereas in London the business coach is a respected expert and authority, a Melbourne-based coach may be more like a mentor or even a friendly paid confidante.
4. The Outlaw Vs. The Policeman
This may say something about the Australian character: their most famous Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, is a national hero, despite stealing, killing and doing other dubious illegal activities during his lifetime. This is in contrast to England, where one of their most iconic cultural archetypes is the Policeman.
This is not to say that Australians are untrustworthy, just that trying to get an ‘outlaw’ to toe the line and listen to feedback or ‘rules’ laid down by a business coach can be somewhat challenging.
However, one of the advantages of being a young nation is that Australia is quick to adapt to new circumstances. The policeman, on the other hand, is typically enforcing older ideas and tried and tested ways of doing things which lead to greater stability and less risk taking.
5. Revenge of the Nerd Vs. The Popular City
Melbourne, unlike its older and more mainstream relative London, has a slight nerdy oddball quality. However, the creative character, fusion of international cultures and new ideas makes it inclusive, and receptive to new business developments.
In fact, Melbourne can lay claim to cultivating highly successful start-ups such as Envato, 99 Designs and Sitepoint. What’s more, Startup Genome ranked Melbourne amongst the top 25 start-up environments in the world.
Melbournians are inventive, innovative, curious and resourceful. They also have a penchant for rebelling, and labelling anything not to their taste as “Un-Australian”. This is a strange quirk of Australian culture, and perhaps part of the tall poppy syndrome. The English don’t brand undesirable behaviours by their compatriots as “Un-English”. In fact the very notion seems somewhat absurd!
With their “she’ll be right” attitude, perhaps in the past, less Australians would seek out business coaching, preferring instead to battle with their business challenges alone. However, this phenomenon is changing, with more Australians now willing to hire a business coach to improve their performance and be real competitors on the global stage.
The significance of cultural difference, even between countries that ostensibly speak the same language, is something that all business coaches in London, Melbourne or anywhere else in the world need to pay close attention to when helping business owners find their path to greater growth. Because we should remember that we are coaching business owners, not businesses.
This article was contributed by the Business Benchmark Group, one of Australia’s leading business coaching providers. Contact them today to help improve the business performance of your Australian team.