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Notes from MnNice Business Session for LinkedMinnesota

On March 10, 2014 we led a session for LinkedMinnesota, a Twin Cities based business organization, called "The Challenges of Minnesota Nice for Business & Nonprofits."

The following are some of the things participants said (mostly during introductions) which we jotted down:

  • It's hard to make business deals, hard to get people to commit. (Minnesotan)
  • I want to know why people say "no." (Iowan)
  • It's harder to adjust than I thought it would be (Philadelphian)
  • They don't know I'm right and they're wrong! (New Yorker)
  • I should raise rent but it's not very nice... How can I not be evasive while working with people who are evasive? (Minnesotan)
  • I'm used to people who are more outgoing and people who show emotion, people who go out and meet their neighbors. When I moved here I thought I was on Mars... I feel labeled as a martian here. (New Yorker/New Jersey)
  • In Minnesota rude and direct are the same things. (not sure)
  • People are happier when they're comfortable. (Minnesotan)
  • "Yes" is the new "No." (Minnesotan)
We focused on three characteristics of Minnesota Nice that tend to be the most challenging in business and at work:
  1. Conflict avoidance
  2. Passive-aggressive behavior
  3. Polite friendliness
Each of these three we introduced with a scenario after which participants talked in small groups what they think might be really going on from the perspective of a Minnesotan and the perspective of a transplant. We talked about the origins of each behavior and shared tips and advice for how to work effectively in situations where these characteristics (and others) play out.

- Jerilyn & Corey

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