By Dan Ryan, Principal, Ryan Search and Consulting
I recently traveled to Mumbai, India, to attend the World HRD Congress, where I made presentations regarding organizational culture and strengths-based leadership. When I arrived, I found that the surroundings were pretty comfortable and the weather was a welcome change from the frigid temperatures here in the Middle Tennessee area.
While the change in the weather was to be expected, there were several things I learned and experienced at this event that did catch me by surprise. Here are just a few I found worth sharing:
- While India produces more engineers than the USA and China combined, it still doesn’t produce enough. Our opening speaker lamented the fact that India has a problem with a workforce shortage in key technical areas, while they have an overabundance of unskilled workers who are barely employable.
- One of the key segments of the overall conference was the Balanced Scorecard. While I have found the label “Balanced Scorecard” one that has seemed to lose favor in this country, the focus on metrics and ROI was more of a factor than I might have imagined.
- Most of the presenters were from countries other than the USA. I met colleagues from places such as Australia, Dubai, Italy, India, Malaysia, and many others. Every one of them spoke English well. In comparison, only 18% of Americans speak a second language. Over 50% of Europeans speak a second language, and in many other areas of the world, the numbers are increasing.
We live in a world where our business competition is increasingly not next door or even across the state. We compete in a world economy, and our inability to speak other languages or understand other cultures hinders our ability to be competitive on the world stage. My work in the executive search and leadership area continues to make me aware of my need to become more “culturally competent.” It is an area I plan to focus on this year and in the future. I have to in order to remain competitive.
Dan Ryan is the principal of Ryan Search & Consulting, a Nashville-based talent acquisition and talent development firm, focusing on mid-to senior-level leadership and talent development activities, including executive coaching, organizational and leadership development, and leadership facilitation.