163 – Understand the culture you’re operating in

Posted by  Anecdote International —October 4, 2022
Filed in Anecdotes, Podcast

With experience, listening and empathy, you’ll come to understand cultural nuances. Listen to hear James Mills, Global Vice President of Sales at Mars Wrigley, talk about his experiences with story.

One-on-one meeting

We have something special for you this week! With Shawn on leave, Mark is joined by Mike Adams, Anecdote’s Head of Story-Powered Sales, and James Mills, Global Vice President of Sales at Mars Wrigley!

James shares some of his favourite anecdotes to use in the workplace and his best storytelling tips. The episode is the first of many where, about once a month, we’ll have a guest like James share their experiences with story. We hope you enjoy it!

For your story bank

Tags: culture, difference, diversity, empathy, people skills, your character

This story starts at 07:47

Many years ago, James Mills was working in the United Kingdom. He was managing one of Mars’ big customers, a large buying group in the confectionary space.

He had always had a quirky dress sense. One day, he found himself drawn to a white linen suit he saw on sale. He quickly decided he had to have it and would wear it to work.

The first time he wore it, he went to see a customer in rural Britan. He walked in to meet his buyer and took a seat opposite him.

His buyer said, “Hang on a minute,” and picked up his phone. Usually, when this occured, his buyer would call their buying director or a colleague, and it would signal a tough conversation was coming.

So James felt increasingly nervous waiting for his buyer’s buying director to join them. The door soon opened, and he walked in.

James’ buyer said to his buying director, “I just want you to see what the guy from Mars is wearing!” They had a laugh, and James laughed along with them.

As a result, the buying director never forgot him.

This story starts at 14:24

When James Mills first moved to Mexico with Mars, he specialised in category management and led a team already working in the category space.

Having spoken to his team a bit, he assumed they were reasonably skilled in the space, so he asked one of them to do a project for a customer. They agreed, so James sent them off to work on it.

A couple of weeks later, James hadn’t seen anything from the individual. So, he checked in with them.

He asked, “How’s it all going?”

“Alright, thanks, all good. No problem. It will be with you in a couple of days,” they said.

Two more weeks went by. James still hadn’t seen anything.

So he sat down with the individual and asked, “What’s going on here? I was expecting this a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t seen anything. Can you help me understand?”

The individual came clean and explained that, in Mexico, you don’t say no to your boss, but they didn’t know how to do the task.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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