Trust is an essential element for building and maintaining successful alliances. With a higher level of trust between the partners every alliance will have a bigger chance of succeeding. 

As mentioned before, I have recently read Erin Meyer’s book “The Culture Map”*. In this book, Erin discusses and helps you to understand the many differences in cultures. One of the chapters is dedicated to the differences in the way trust is built and culture is an important influencer of how trust is being established.  

Many western cultures follow a task-based approach, whereby trust is built through business-related activities. Work relations are built and dropped easily, based on the work situation. “You do good work consistently, you are reliable, I enjoy working with you, I trust you.

On the other hand, there are many cultures that build trust based on relationships and social activities, like sharing meals. Work relations and trust are built more slowly and last longer. “I’ve seen who you are at a deep level, I’ve shared personal time with you, I know others who trust you, I trust you.

This highlights an essential different way of establishing trust amongst cultures. The cultural perspective reemphasizes that we are all different, and that is something to be mindful about with your (cross-cultural) alliances. 

I would, once again, highly recommend you to read “The Culture Map”!


This fall, Anoop Nathwani and I will be facilitating a series of Alliance Masterclasses in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. Click here to learn more and to register while places are still available.