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GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Dave Ramaswamy PHOTO: K. PICHUMANI
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Dave Ramaswamy PHOTO: K. PICHUMANI

What's the management mantra for a crosscultural group? Ask Dave Ramaswamy who has visited 45 countries

Dave Ramaswamy is called the evangelist for global living. And why not? The Indian has visited 45 countries and lived almost all his life in the United States. Having had a ringside view of frictions deriving from culturally-conditioned behaviour, he now travels around the world speaking about ways to avoid them. Chennai-based Global Adjustments, a cross-cultural training and destination services company, has roped him in. Dave will be anchoring its seminar - Management Mantra for Cross Cultural Teams - scheduled for January 25 at GRT Grand. The workshop is meant for anyone "who wants to be a global citizen."

Camera as analogy

Dave uses the camera as an analogy for culture. "At a cricket stadium, cameras would be placed at strategic locations. Someone watching the match through the camera that is focussed only on the pitch will miss the larger picture. He is denied the various viewpoints that the other cameras capture. Similarly, when you are part of a monoculture, other realities are not available to you."People behave according to their conditioning. "In India, you generally get away with unpunctuality. In America, your credibility will be on the line if you turn up late for an appointment." Americans are generally direct with their comments - your American boss or superior may not hesitate to rip you apart if he is dissatisfied with your work. This contrasts with the work environment in India, where people try not to directly call their colleagues or employees shoddy workers. "An Indian who works for an American can mistake his boss' directness for rudeness. Someone who is aware of what drives such an outburst will take the criticism for what it is - just a criticism." Similarly, "Asians are group-oriented, while Americans are individualistic". Asians often don't mind it if anyone, outside the circle of friends and family, sits close while having a conversation with them. Americans, on the other hand, maintain a spatial distance while exchanging ideas with strangers. In a globalised world, cross-cultural training is a necessity, says Dave. Outsourcing is now moving beyond India and it has to compete with other countries. If Indians want to continue enjoying the largest chunk of the outsourcing pie, they have to have an edge over the others. Cross-cultural sensitivity will provide that edge."It is not sufficient if you are efficient. You have to effective as well. Effectiveness comes from an understanding of factors that lie outside your work." The one-day seminar will "provide strategies to improve your cultural quotient and overcome roadblocks and key values in a multicultural setting." To register, call 044-24346225 or email courses@globaladjustments.com.PRINCE FREDERICK

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