Culture crossing global talent pool

This interview by China Daily News of Lenovo’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer struck me as an interesting example of what is happening to way companies do business around the world today.

Why?

Well, here’s a photo of the SVP & CMO, Deepak Advani, with CDN’s US based correspondent. Lenovo is headquartered in the United States with the accompanying snippet from the article.

Img_0625_1

Yong Tang: You look like having  Indian origin?

Advani: Yes, actually I am Indian American. I was born in India.
Then I moved to America. I graduated from Wharton School of the
University of Pennsylvania. Then I became an IBM Vice President. I was
in IBM for 13 years being the head of strategy and marketing for IBM PC
business. IBM is a very very international and global company. I spent
a lot of my time outside the United States, in Brazil, in Japan , in China. Today I have became an executive of a Chinese company.

Thomas Friedman put it well, the world is flat. In the new world
there are more and more companies where your nationality or even the
place you live is not as important as the power of your ideas.
For me,
in fact someone put a picture of me on the web and said I was a symbol
of the new world: someone who was born in India and lives in the United
States but now does marketing for a company in China. That is the
reality of the world.

[snip]

Everyday you dealt with people from different nationalities and
different cultures. What I learnt early on in my career is that there
is real power in diversity because the customers you are selling to are
diverse. If you can’t understand what their needs are and how they
think and the importance of cultural differences, you will never be
successful on a global scale. So I often try to tap into the power of
diversity.
On my teams there are always people from different
nationalities and different cultures. Some of them are more aggressive
and would talk a lot while some are more reserved and they would think
more and talk after thinking. In some cultures you talk and think
later. As long as you can get ideas out of different people from
different cultures, you can then do a better job serving your customers
who happen to be heterogeneous.

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2 Responses to Culture crossing global talent pool

  1. niblettes says:

    Ok you’ve touched on one of my (small) peeves here: the equation of diversity with nationalities. Its easy to bring together people (usually men) with different skin colors and accents and pat yourself on the back for promoting diversity.
    But real diversity, hard diversity, is intellectual diversity. This is where you get disagreements and creative conflict, this is where people find thier assumptions challenged and thier minds evicted from thier comfort zones. But this is harder to do, harder to manage, and less visually obvious than just hiring an Indian and a Lebonese software engineer and saying “what a good boy am I.”

  2. niti bhan says:

    Niblettes, I can see your point about intellectual diversity, but wouldn’t you say that has more to do with individual personalities – i.e. regular ‘diversity’ or a group of people with independent minds, that leads to debate, dissension and discussion? Like in a classroom setting?
    In the corporation, other than obvious identifiers like nationality and background, how else would you attempt to identify and create diversity? Yes, you say it’s harder to do, but the concept also goes against the grain of what an organization is all about.
    interesting conundrum.

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