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Click here for an outstanding article by a Chinese-American who has an unwelcome “return” to her homeland.

Similar situations exist here in the Netherlands where there are many second- and third-generation immigrant families whose members have never visited “home” before. They are unfortunately not fully accepted into Dutch society, nor are they accepted should they eventually make the trip to their parent’s, or grandparent’s, homeland.

One hopes that with the increase in immigration and globalization that these kinds of dilemmas become an issue of the past. I look forward to the day that people are accepted for their innate and inherent value, and not because of where they were born or the color of their skin.

With thanks to @sifowler ( for the reference:

Transcript can be read here

This video, originally a TED talk by Derek Sivers, talks about the value of “first followers.” These are the ones that transform leaders from “lone nuts” into people with a following.

My question is: what cultural aspects are at play here? This was filmed at the Sasquatch Music Festival (the original video can be viewed here) in Washington State in the US, roughly 250 km east of Seattle. The audience, as you can see in the video, is predominantly white, young, and have a reasonable amount of disposable income, considering the remote location and the fact that tickets a 3-day pass for this event start at €120.

Sivers uses the film as a classic example of how first followers define what leadership is, but how would this scene develop in other cultures? Would it develop in other cultures? In a society with a very strong group culture, what would the reaction be to one person dancing alone, if it would happen at all? In a culture with a strong hierarchical structure, would a single, shirtless guy be followed, without any symbols or other signals that would denote his hierarchical status?

#lrnchat is an online chat over the social messaging service Twitter that now happens twice every Thursday: first at 4:30-6pm GMT  and then again at 8:30-10pm ET/5:30-7pm PST.

It is for learning professionals who come together to exchange ideas and thoughts that are prompted by questions posed by a moderator. The sessions last 1.5 hours, and in yesterday evening’s first session the overall topic was “The Intersection of Online and Inperson Education” and within this framework four questions were posed:

Q1) What are some great techniques for online educators to bring a personal element to their facilitation?
Q2) What are some modern techniques classroom educators can use to add digital depth to their programs?
Q3) Would you rather train online or in person, and why?
Q4) What do you prefer learning online or in person, and why?

It was a wonderful exchange with many great ideas. Online learning at its best!!!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A video compilation of the event held on 9.09.2009 at Amsterdam Bright City, in Amsterdam the Netherlands. Sponsored by De Baak, it was a look at Dutch leadership and society from various perspectives, Dutch and non-Dutch, about what we could learn from each other.

To exploit overseas opportunities, multinational corporations must usually transfer executives into them. Yet these expatriates—a scarce and very dear resource—often fail, and many leave their employers even after they succeed overseas. What can multinationals do to protect their investment (which, according to data provided in the article, can run upwards to $500,000 per year)? Some solutions proposed in this article are:

  • Unlocking talent by having clear partner-family policies for expatriates, such as adequate and in-depth preparation, rewards for local interaction during the assignment, and easy access to housing, schooling and feedback mechanisms as an ongoing policy.
  • Sourcing creatively such as finding talented expatriate managers in previously run joint ventures, sourcing outside of the corporate home market, and having permanent on-site teams to help facilitate operations.
  • Considering that 70 percent of failed assignments result directly from personal and family difficulties rather than incompetence on the job, having an early assessment program in place is essential.
  • Keeping the expatriates and their families well connected with corporate home base by facilitating a two-way transfer of knowledge.
  • Clear evaluations by involved senior management with visible and well-explained metrics for performance are essential.
  • Retaining the talent within the company: according to one survey, a stunning 91 percent of returning expatriates felt that their companies didn’t value their international experience. The result of this is repatriated managers in the US leave their companies at twice the rate of managers with purely domestic experience, usually within one year of returning.

The article has a great deal of data to substantiate both the problem as well as the proposed solutions. Even though it was published in the McKinsey Quarterly over 10 years ago, the lessons are now more valuable than ever. Considering the increased trend towards globalization and the even scarcer resources because of the economic downturn, it is ever more important to make the small investments necessary to protect the larger business equation.

The article can be found online here

“Are you taking your expatriate talent seriously?” by Tsun-yan Hsieh, Johanne Lavoie, and Robert A. P. Samek, The McKinsey Quarterly, 1999 NUMBER 3, p. 71 – 83.

What matters to CEOs and corporate learning: it’s all about the business results (T&D magazine #learning #results #ROI):

An article by the training ROI authority Jack Phillips in the January issue of T&D magazine shows the results of research among a large number of CEOs regarding what they want to see from their corporate learning investments. Even though a whopping 96% want to see the results of learning and development back in their business impact data, only 8% claim to see it now. This demonstrates an enormous mismatch in L&D investments and providing business leaders with what they want to see.

The article lists a number of practical steps that we as learning professionals can now take to start showing business results. Even though Phillips is renowned for his admittedly complex training ROI calculations, the solutions he mentions are practical, immediate and can be undertaken with a minimum of investment. Among others they include focusing on objectives, integrating personal learning scorecards, providing success stories and building evaluation early into the L&D design.

“Confronting CEO Expectations About the Value of Learning,” by Jack J. and Patti P. Phillips, T+D 64 (2010) 1 (Jan); p. 52 – 56 (5p.)

RT @TrainingJournal: Diversity should be threaded through ALL talent management activities

Includes an excellent quote from Claire McCartney, CIPD resourcing adviser and co-author of the report, “It’s important that organisations see talent management and diversity as more, not less important, in periods of economic uncertainty to outwit and outperform competitors through their people,” she said.

“By opening up talent opportunities organisations will benefit from a stream of differing views and practical answers to problems, helping them to reflect increasingly diverse customer needs and remain ahead of the competition.

My experience is that in times of economic difficulty, leadership in organizations unfortunately take exactly the opposite course of action: sticking with what’s familiar and comfortable, drawing back, playing it safe. Understandable in times of uncertainty, but a lost opportunity.

RT @HarvardBiz: Leadership lessons from Indian companies: good preview of an very good article

The question is: can the rest of us learn from their practices? As Peter Cappelli astutely observes, the lessons are not new, and even though many are based on circumstances found unique to the Indian business environment, there are nevertheless inherent lessons.

Especially: measuring and tracking training and development and creating a real sense of social mission, whereby employees can feel that their work has impact can have clear influence on the culture and success of any company.

An atypically shallow article in NYTimes re: intercultural communication

I was quite disappointed in the article. It touched very lightly on the general status quo without really defining either the problem or the underlying causes. Then leapt immediately to the solutions.

And closing with the most likely apocryphal “When the British company redid the proposal with a positive spin, they got the deal the next day” only reinforces the shallowness of the article’s tone. It implied easy, simple solutions while ignoring the complexities of intercultural decision processes.

Nice article from Neil Payne from Kwintessential: Effective Multi Cultural International Business Meetings

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Leo Salazar

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