When it comes to business culture, companies in the United States are generally direct with their ITO partners, tackling hurdles and challenges head on when they arise. Latin American companies, on the other hand, often prefer to avoid confrontation by skirting around the edges when it hits the fan.
While the region’s “pleasing” culture is great in social situations, it can often lead to delays and project failures when applied to business partnerships. However, one city in the north of Mexico is bucking the trend with its straight-talking approach, something that has been evolving over centuries of doing business with the States.
“One of the main differentiators of the Monterrey culture is the stronger flow of communication,” said Daniel Chavez, CEO of Dextra Technologies. “People in Monterrey, unlike other parts of Mexico, will tell you when something is wrong – we tend to be candid and open, like those in the U.S.”
Chavez explained that he himself sometimes has problems with partners in Mexico City. “We might not know what’s going on until it’s too late,” he said. “In comparison, we companies in Monterrey tend to be an open book in these situations.”
In order to grasp what needs to be done from the moment a problem might arise, Chavez ensures that his delivery managers speak to his customers every week. “It’s critical that everything is on the table immediately, so we can have a chance to correct it,” he said. “I always prefer to hear bad news instantly instead of dealing with people who bury their heads in the sand.”
Evolution of Trust
When Dextra Technologies initially started knocking on doors in the States in the late nineties, nobody knew that Mexico had software capabilities. This meant there was lack of trust in doing business with Mexico, something that has changed drastically in recent years, according to Chavez.
“The U.S. is getting much more comfortable with outsourcing technology development to Mexico; they are just concerned about working with known entities – very few will work with a company they don’t know. This is a big challenge for independent Mexico software companies that want to do business with the States – they have to overcome that hurdle of trust.”
Overall, Monterrey’s culture is much more aligned to the U.S. than other Mexican cities, according to Chavez. The city has been doing business with the States since the 1800s, and many executives based in Monterrey went to school there, including Chavez. This has helped to build trust in the city’s ITO capabilities.
“We’ve been able to build a decent reputation over the years and have been very careful to hold onto our best customers, because they are our strongest selling point,” said Chavez. “They love the fact that efficiency and productivity can be enhanced with agile on the nearshore, they just want to make sure that they’re doing it with someone that they trust.”
Despite the positive trust element, Chavez has experienced difficulties in recruiting on the product engineering side in Monterrey, particularly when compared to picking up .NET or Java engineers, for example.
“There are not a lot of people out there who are well versed in embedded IoT platforms, so it’s a real challenge sometimes,” he said. “However, some of our employees come from an electrical engineering background, not purely software development, so they are much more adaptive to new technologies.”
As CEO, Chavez states that his main concerns are growth and retaining talent, which he achieves through communication and good salaries.
“That talent needs to grow alongside us and get to a better place in terms of seniority or responsibilities,” he said. “We try to be very aggressive in building people up when they perform above par. One of the worst things that can happen to performance is when people aren’t recognized for their hard work.”