A country famous for its islands, forests, and fjords, Norway never ceases to amaze the world, especially during the Winter Olympics. Her graceful athletes usually win countless gold medals based on their great skill and connection to the land. This country has a population of approximately 5 million and is blessed with natural resources. Your organization will benefit greatly by doing business in this Scandinavian paradise. Building your training capacity here can benefit your company in myriad ways.
Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is known for having a 100 percent literacy rate, a corruption-free political and business environment, and one of the highest per capita income levels in the world. The United Nations Human Development Index ranks Norway as No. 1 in the world for its standard of living. Norwegians receive free health and education benefits, as well as robust pensions. It is an egalitarian society with a large middle class. Norway is famous for the fairness and opportunities it provides all its citizens. The current prime minister is a female, and women are well represented throughout society.
Unemployment in Norway is less than 3 percent, and the country has benefited from huge oil and gas reserves. Norway has a defined savings plan for its citizens known as the Government Petroleum fund. The largest producer of aluminum in Western Europe, Norway maintains a global trade surplus. Its telecommunications network is one of the most modern in the world, and more than 80 percent of its citizens speak English.
Norway’s location provides access to many markets throughout Europe, including Russia. Although many of the area countries have experienced economic challenges, the timing is perfect to enter these markets prior to the expected area business growth.
Popular training programs in Norway include Six Sigma, customer service, presentation skills, communication skills, and leadership. Norwegians feel comfortable with their approach to business but are always interested in how successful North American companies operate and train their leaders. Your training costs for all programs will be 15 to 20 percent more than in the United States, but your return on investment will be well worth the effort.
- Most, if not all, of your participants will speak English, but avoid idioms and keep your language as clear and straightforward as possible as participants may not be entirely familiar with your vocabulary and delivery. Use slides and handouts containing the content you’ll deliver to help reinforce your message.
- During your program, trainer-directed communication is expected as participants want to learn from the trainer.
- Norwegians tend to be reserved and strive to avoid confrontation. If a trainee is being quiet, be careful not to push him or her to participate.
- During your program, be careful not to focus on a particular participant for praise. This could make the participant and group uncomfortable. If positive recognition is deserved, praise the specific group, not the individual.
- Norwegians are comfortable working in groups. They also like to be treated as individuals, so the proper balance between these two approaches can be key to the success of your program.
- Norwegians are often private, so “ice-breakers” and questioning participants about their personal life and families is not welcomed.
Dr. Neil Orkin is president of Global Training Systems. His organization prepares corporate professionals for global business success. For more information, visit www.globaltrainingsystems.com.