Saturday, September 30, 2006

Globalization and the Virtual World: Some Insights

Globalization and the Virtual World

1 AM
Several times a week I log onto my computer at 1 AM PST and open my Global Web-based Training Center to teams across the Globe. Soon after I enable the website, participants from the U.K., Belgium, Russia, and Korea log in. (Why 1 AM ? I picked that time, since it is 9 AM in the U.K., 10 AM in Belgium, 12 PM in Russia, and 5P M in Korea.) Over the next 90 minutes, I lecture and lead discussions on topics that might include insights into Korean workplace norms and protocols, trends in Asian business, or the ever-increasing role of Korean conglomerates in global markets.

A recurring thought...…
About mid-point in my presentation, a thought always surfaces...…"that from my office in San Diego, California, I work with teams that stretch around the world." These teams represent diverse cultures, nationalities, ethnicities, and workplaces. Thomas Friedman in his book The World is Flat argues that technology has changed how we conduct business. I see that unfold before my eyes each week.

Human Interaction
More significant than technology is how human interaction is changing. One dimension of Virtual training is live images the web-video add to working with global team. This in conjunction with telephone or VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) audio allows participants to connect--—much more deeply than I expected. Questions and discussions seem to gain significance as global participants add their thoughts and experiences. A questions posed by a European might lead to a follow-up question by a Korean team member. This in turn might lead to further discussion prompted by someone in Russia or the U.K.

Some outcomes...…
Obviously Virtual meetings and training have many logistical benefits that include tremendous time and travel savings.

It is however the ability to better communication, increase understanding, build team spirit, and create synergy that I find exciting.

So despite what 1 AM training session do to my sleep cycle, I see Virtual training as providing a powerful tool for global organizations.

Don Southerton

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