How International Business Superstitions Influence Decision Making?

How International Business Superstitions Influence Decision Making?

What are the key strategies that can make a company successful?

It’s a big question and there would be many answers. Indeed, there are a lot of metrics of success and some would say it depends on the industry and the goals. In order to make your business grow and be successful, others would say you need to make sure you have the right resources by your side. And, with a right and positive attitude, you will be ready to encounter every difficulty and be constantly motivated to keep searching for new customers and promoting yourself by offering quality goods and services. From a financial perspective, some would say make sure to cast your net wide, beyond financial targets. Some simply believe that when you run a company based on the criteria you set and based on what you want to see, success will eventually follow. How you treat the people you work for you is what will determine your success, according to some. If the base is good, your customers will be happy, your profits will be steadily growing and your business will thrive.

In a very real sense, many business owners have been grappling with this question for years. And, most recently, I’ve learned that hard work, dedication and good customer service aren’t the only things that can drive a business to success. According to many successful business founders, the success of their business has nothing to do with their idea, their resources or their skills. The answer to the question “What is the key to a successful company” is so hidden in people’s lives that most are not aware about it. And, the answer is superstition!

No, that’s not a joke!

A superstition usually refers to any belief or practice which can be explained by a supernatural force. Even if these beliefs and practices are weird, irrational and wildly incorrect, it doesn’t matter to many. If someone were to believe that their blinking actually causes the sun to rise, well, they would keep blinking. Do you know, for example, that most bakers wear white underpants for good luck? No matter the color of underpants they wear, their ability to bake cakes will not be impacted but maybe they get a boost of confidence. You see, in my opinion, superstition has a placebo effect on people. And, the same goes for business owners.

China: No 4 O’Clock Meetings

China: No 4 O’Clock MeetingsIn China, it is very common for businessmen to skip four o’clock meetings or to avoid arranging meetings at that particular time.


The reason lies in the number four and its pronunciation.

In Chinese, “4” is usually pronounced “Si”, which sounds like “Shi” and “Shi” means death. The fever of tetraphobia started when people couldn’t tell the difference between these two words and hence, everyone assumed that the number four was unlucky and brought a bad omen.

Germany: No Toasting With Water

Germany: No Toasting With WaterIn business, toasts are formal and common expressions of goodwill and appreciation. The purpose is to acknowledge a specific person or group, to unify a group or to mark a specific event. For example, when your group has completed a big project or when your project has been nominated or awarded, you might be called upon to propose a toast to the team leader of your group. While most of the times, toasts include the consumption of alcoholic beverages, there are some who raise a simple glass of water.

But, toasting with water is strictly prohibited in Germany.

The roots of this belief can be traced back to Ancient Greece where Greek gods used to raise a glass of water to wish someone death by drowning.

Spain: Always Start With the Right Foot

Spain: Always Start With the Right FootAnother interesting superstitious belief comes from Spain which says that if you want good luck, you need to step on your right foot.