Archive for March, 2007
Global Adjustments, pioneers in Cross-Cultural education and India Destination Services, today announced the launch of India’s first web-based cross-cultural educational portal www.globalindian.com, designed specifically for professionals seeking to function effectively in a global environment. Thiru Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology formally launched the e-learning portal with Mr David T Hopper, US Consul General and Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd at a function in Chennai.
Comprehensive cross cultural competency solutions are the need for many organizations and individuals today in India. Recognizing the need, Global Adjustments, after a detailed study, has developed a comprehensive suite of cultural competency products and services aimed at the global Indian. The e-learning portal www.globalindian.com is designed in such a way that it offers the learner ample space and time using innovative multimedia technology. This enables the learner to imbibe the content with ease and leads to getting certified as a Global Indian..
Powered by creative talent, sound processes and technological excellence, www.globalindian.com brings together the experience and expertise of top professionals from India and a group of India friendly expatriates. This is delivered in an interactive format by regular web casts by such professionals that will be part of the program, thus making the Indian professional very comfortable with world cultures.
Speaking on the occasion of the launch of India ‘s first web based cross-cultural educational portal www.globalindian.com , Ms. Ranjini Manian, CEO, Global Adjustments Pvt. Ltd., said, “I was inspired by renowned Global Indians who shared this with me. Thinking global is something many companies do. Acting global by training team members to adapt to different cultures is equally important. Social behaviour can make or break businesses interactions. What is socially acceptable in one country may not be so in another. There is more to business than commerce. A truly global Indian should be an amalgam of business skills as well as behavioural skills.”
Launching the e-learning portal, Thiru Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, said; “The initiative from the team at Global Adjustments is really commendable. India is growing at a tremendous pace and as more and more multinational companies are looking upto set up their base in India, services such as these becomes very essential and useful and Global Indian will surely address the growing need for professionals from India traveling abroad”
Commending the initiative, Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice Chairman, Cognizant Technology Solutions, said, “A Global Indian is not only competent and reliable, but has developed a global mindset, is globally competitive and sensitive to various cultures. I am happy that Global Adjustments has taken the initiative to develop a large number of Global Indians quickly by leveraging technology for this unique training and certification.”
“Every Indian should have access to the training required to work in a multi-cultural environment. The Global Indian initiative is a great first step. I was privy to the Global Indian portal. The contents and the certification process are world-class” he added.
Global Adjustments has been in cross cultural training and India destination services since 1995. The company focuses on providing solutions and facilitates social and business acculturation of professionals from across the globe. With experience in developing customized training solutions for many of the top Multinational, multi-ethnic professionals and organizations, Global Adjustments delivers customized, role-specific solutions necessary for their business.
Global Adjustments is strongly positioned with a wealth of knowledge by working with over 74 nationalities from many of the Fortune 500 companies, ranging from Korean to Finnish, American to Japanese. With over 40 multicultural professionals who have lived in different countries and continents, speaking half a dozen foreign languages plus several Indian languages Global Adjustments is a veteran in cross cultural education. Their services include Destination services, such as housing and commercial real estate, orientation programs including schooling, spouse and city survival. They also deliver effective knowledge and skills based – training programs for different cultures and nationalities to work together effectively.
Awareness of cultural quirks and adapting to them can reduce the possibility of a cross-cultural gaffe
Adapting to local ways – expatriates at a Global Adjustments Beautiful India annual cultural event
This week, I am going to start with a real-life story.
Andreas, (unsmiling, towering at 6 feet 4 inches, blond and blue-eyed): “Yes?”
Lakshmi, (smiling and cheerful, dressed in a lovely sari): “Good evening Andreas. I came by as I couldn’t reach you on the phone. I just wanted to see if you were settling in okay, as I know you had teething trouble in your home.”
Andreas: “Do we have an appointment?”
Lakshmi: “No, (laughing and waving her hand) do we need an appointment for this, it is just a friendly gesture outside my work hours because I care about you and I have come all this way out of town to your house by autorickshaw.” (Walks into the house and comments) “What a lovely house, nice and bright, you have arranged it all so tastefully.”
Andreas, (still stern, but shocked and angered as well at the unexpected entry): “Could you please leave now, it is Saturday afternoon and my wife and I want to spend some quiet time.”
Lakshmi, (tears welling up): “Okay Andreas, I can see I am not welcome. Sorry.”
Lakshmi then resigned her job as she felt she couldn’t work with Germans. Andreas then stopped working with the company which had been so helpful earlier and a cultural distance built up.
How could this have been avoided? There are a few ways in which both parties could have softened this: If you can think of more ways as you read on, please do send me your thoughts.
Managing expectations: Telling the Germans in more detail about the frustrations to expect about the house. This could have been reinforced even more.
When there is any project or collaborative effort required, it is good to lay out all expectations on both sides and not have any unsaid words. Then, it is best to establish timelines which are realistic, given the slower process flow, potentially adding on 100 per cent extra time if required. An honest answer is always better than a polite one as far as Westerners are concerned. And for us too, in India, it is better to lay our cards on the table, making every effort to then stick to commitments .
Knowing what Germans would like: Privacy and permission. When Lakshmi couldn’t reach them on the phone, she could have sent a handwritten note showing her care and offering to visit. What is acceptable in our culture may not be tolerated or may even go down negatively in another. For example, privacy and its invasion are two concepts, which differ vastly in India and Germany.
Reading body language: Once on the scene, when a question like “Do we have an appointment” is uttered and there is no friendly invitation to enter the home, Lakshmi could have apologised and left from the gate itself.
What is unsaid is as important as what is said. Sensitising ourselves cross-culturally will mean living in awareness and we will be far more mindful of the reactions at all levels. This allows fewer errors to be committed, unlike Lakshmi who dug herself into a deeper hole.
Adapting to local practices: Once Andreas saw Lakshmi was already there, he could have remembered this is the Indian way to overextend and drop by in person. He could have either welcomed her or if he really couldn’t deal with her company just then, which is entirely understandable, he could have said `thank you’ for coming, but he was not going to be able to welcome her indoors just then . He could have offered a more detailed explanation instead of a cold monosyllabic answer, and then let her go. The adaptation has to be both ways and we have to walk towards the world to meet it half way.