Initial meetings are scheduled to get to know each other and to see if your Czech associates believe that you are trustworthy. The first meeting may be with a gatekeeper rather than the actual decision maker.
In working relationships in the Czech Republic, knowledge and the ability to exert power and authority, as opposed to age, are qualities worthy of respect in Czech business leaders. However, in more everyday contexts, the elderly command a certain level of respect and consideration. It is important to remember that Czech’s place a high value on their privacy and prefer to separate business and their personal lives. Generally speaking, friendships and working relationships in the Czech Republic only tend to form after a significant length of time. Since there exists no equivalent in the Czech language to the English term “networking”, establishing business relationships with new colleagues is approached with caution.
It will take several meetings for your Czech business associates to become familiar with you and appear comfortable and friendly.
One of the most underlying and inherent features of the Czech culture is their polite and humble approach to life. Czechs are both formal and indirect in their communication. This is also reflected in the distinction made between formal and informal language use. During business dealings a direct “no” will often be replaced by an expression such as “it is difficult” or “we will see” in order to avoid confrontation and maintain a certain level of politeness.
For some businessmen, signing a contract doesn’t mean the end, but the beginning!
Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.
Business is hierarchical. Decision-making power is held at the top of the company. Decisions are reached slowly.
It may take several visits to reach a decision.
Avoid high-pressure tactics.
Czechs generally offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers.
The family unit is the focal point of the social structure and as such, family ties are much closer and more deeply rooted than in other countries.
Obligation to the family is a person’s first priority.
Sometimes people pretend that they have a “perfect family.” In this way, family image is used as a promotional tool which in fact hides the truth.
Czechs are private people until they get to know you.
They are formal and reserved.
Once you develop a personal relationship Czechs open up a bit, but they are never overly emotional.
Although always polite, they seldom move to a first-name basis with people outside their extended family or very close friends.
Czechs tend not to acknowledge people whom they do not know as they walk along the street or ride the train.
Never expect a Czech person to tell you he/she is going to commit something that is corrupt or otherwise morally wrong.
Czechs prize forward thinking that is logical, practical, and efficient. They are a very hard working people.
Careful planning, in both one’s business and personal life, provides a sense of security.
Rules and regulations allow people to know what is expected (reducing the amount of uncertainty) and to plan their life accordingly.
Structure and Hierarchy
Leadership and authority is vertical in structure. Czech managers maintain their status and separate themselves from subordinates.
As a result of the hierarchical system of Czech business, decision-making power is centralised and is rarely questioned or challenged by those of a lower rank.
Superior positions sometimes create an aura of untouchability.