Thursday, April 12, 2007

BCW Executive Level Commentary April 2007

BCW Executive-level Commentary: April 2007

Several times a year I craft a commentary; Globalization, tends to be a dominant theme. It is, too, for this Bridging Culture Worldwide executive report.

A Global Audience
Last week I conducted a Webinar. The Internet-based session’s topic was “Driving Change in Korean-based organizations.” It was a skills-based Webinar in response to feedback and observations I’ve had of teams working with Korean-based firms.

I crafted the presentation for American workers and middle-level management who are either overseas affiliates of Korean-based organizations, or American teams and managers who have operations in Korea.

During the weeks prior to the Webinar, online registration began to include a number of global teams from Europe and India, including Koreans (in Korea) who worked for American-based firms. Regardless, they all sought change in their Korea-focused organizations.

The Webinar’s global audience required that I mold the presentation to address more diverse cross-cultural concerns that I had originally planned.

As I had hoped, the Webinar’s global audience enhanced the presentation. In fact, in the program’s Q and A, their questions added substance and some different perspectives.

In retrospect
As I reflect on the Webinar, two thoughts surface. First, Internet technology like Web-conferencing, eLearning, and Webinars connect us globally. We need to think beyond traditional limitations such as geography, time zones, and language. We need to see our marketing, sales, and PR in a more global perspective. As with my Webinar, I quickly recognized that the Internet drew participants from Europe, India, and Korean along with U.S. teams.

And secondly, for global organizations, marketing, sales, PR, and, training needs to be crafted with a diverse audience in mind. This means a broad cross-cultural perspective.
In my case, my original focus was to explain to Americans how to drive change in Korean organizations. This expanded to include Europeans and Indians working for Korean-based firms. Moreover, the presentation had to consider the Korean participants.

To conclude
I see my firm as a global company with a Korea business focus. Each week I work not only with Americans and Koreans but teams that ring the world. On one level, this requires a 24/7/ 365 approach to business. Moreover, working with teams whether they are in Belgium, Russia, Dubai, Australia, America, and Korea demands a strong cross-cultural understanding, mindfulness, and sensitivity—and not a singular America-centric approach.

My suggestion is that American-Korean focused organizations foster and embrace cross-cultural understanding. This does not occur without considerable insight, training, and coaching. In fact, expecting cross cultural understanding especially of Korea and Koreans by Americans (and visa versa) to unfold over time is an ineffective approach and leads to frustration and poor results.

More shocking and damaging, is that some team members without training “never get it.”

In addition, I see it vital to give teams skills to cope with their counterparts who lack cross-cultural understanding or a grasp successful global business practices.

As always, BCW is dedicated to supporting you and your team. I hope my insights and commentary stimulate and provoke thought, which leads to positive change and progress.



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