Swiss Teams

As in all countries the Swiss will celebrate the benefits of team working and warn of the threats of ignoring a team-based approach. It is doubtful, however, whether the Swiss approach to team working would be understood or approved of in certain other countries.

In Switzerland, people prefer to be allowed to have the freedom and individuality to be left alone to perform their allocated tasks, free from external interference or close supervision. ‘If I am technically competent and diligent, then I can perform the tasks you give me to the required standard.’

Thus, the idea of a team leader using his or her interpersonal skills to motivate individuals to work together to achieve a common goal sits uneasily with this Swiss penchant for being allocated a task and then being allowed to complete it in an unaided and unsupervised manner.

This approach to team work seems to work because all the individuals in the team can be trusted to perform to a high level and have the required depth of technical knowledge.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Switzerland

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Switzerland must rank as one of the most politically and economically stable countries in the world. It has for years managed to deliver ongoing prosperity for its highly educated, multi-lingual population and, although the country did feel the impact of the banking crisis, the long-term signs seem very positive.

Switzerland is a land-locked country yet despite that seeming disadvantage it is an extremely successful export economy with sector strengths ranging from advanced manufacturing through to high-end financial services. As well as being export-oriented, Switzerland has also been able to attract massive levels of inward investment through a combination of fiscal incentives and a very high standard of living.

Recent years have seen large numbers of immigrants entering Swiss society and whilst this has led to some internal tensions, it has also allowed Switzerland to benefit from the arrival of highly skilled workers who have helped Swiss industry remain at the forefront of innovation and productivity.

Switzerland is a high-cost, high-skilled economy which must be an attractive proposition for many international organisations who are looking to grow their business by entering new markets. Don’t be put off by the seemingly high costs – Switzerland is worth a closer look.

However, Switzerland is a culturally complex country – as you would expect from a country with four official languages. Before starting to do business in Switzerland you would be well-advised to develop a good understanding of the significant cultural differences you can find within the country. Don’t be fooled by the fact that so many people speak good English – their fluency in English doesn’t mean they don’t think, act and behave in a Swiss way.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Swiss business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips