Five Friday Highlights: Siestas, Expats, and Global Expectations

Global Expectations

If you have ever established residence in a country other than your own, you know that settling in involves so much more than unpacking. In today’s highlights, insight into life in Vietnam for an expat as well as issues that in one way or another reflect changing economies and customs in several countries.

When you think of Spain, do you envision businesses closing for lengthy afternoon siestas? Siestas have actually been in decline for a decade but businesses in Spain are grappling with ways to empower their employees to use their time effectively while also handling child care and other work/life balance issues (childcare can be scarce in Spain). Learn more from the Harvard Business Review’s piece, Don’t Call it a Siesta – What Spain’s New Work Hours Really Mean.

Even if you never cross the border of your own country, you are almost certain to communicate electronically with other cultures. As Bridging the Cross-Cultural Gap Through Email Etiquette explains, cultural differences need to be bridged in email just as much as they do in person. It shares four strategies for more effectively communicating across culture via email.

Get a glimpse into one of the parts of the expat puzzle (childcare) in The Cost of Motherhood for an Ex-Pat in Vietnam. Diana Metzger, whose family moved to Vietnam from the US in connection with her husband’s position with a Dutch NGO, discusses how the Vietnamese view her as a working mother, healthcare, consumerism, and the cost of living (baby formula, for example, is imported and prices can reach $65 for one canister.)

How China Can Avoid the Middle Income Trap explores the difficult choices China faces as growth slows. The author explains why some people in China see reason for optimism yet others have “serious reasons for concern; environmental degradation, corruption, high debt levels, to name just a few. Unless China can address its governance challenge, I fear that the pessimists will prove right. Issues of governmental authority will drive the direction of China’s economic trajectory.”

If you are an American who has traveled abroad, you may have been surprised at how your home country was perceived. Research what other countries tell their citizens about what to expect in the US, and you may see a different “US” than the one you call home. UK issues travel warning about anti-LGBT laws in U.S. states is one example.

What would you tell a visitor to your home country? Email me by clicking here to let me know!

Image Credit: 123rf/Timur Arbaev

Five Friday Highlights: Olympics, Flags, and More

Global Highlights

This week’s compilation includes many themes and extends to widespread countries. Spanning the grandeur and scale of the Olympics in Brazil, to the difficult lives of those with mental health issues in Indonesia. As is the case with our world, both the grand and the destitute co-exist. I hope you leave your experience of these five pieces having learned something new about our world.

In a nod to tradition, New Zealanders voted, in a recent referendum, to keep their current flag design. The details are spelled out in New Zealand Votes to Keep Flag in Referendum in the BBC News. The proposed replacement would have eliminated the Union Jack, a reminder of the time when New Zealand was a British colony.

Is “born global” the new “born digital”? In The Best Entrepreneurs Think Globally, Not Just Digitally, Michael Schrage in the Harvard Business Review explains how global approaches are increasingly incorporated into businesses from the very beginning. He says innovators and their investors are afraid they will be starting off behind if they “don’t go global from the beginning.” Their concerns are justified; you can’t tack on a global approach as an afterthought.

Mental health considerations and accommodations vary drastically around the world. This candid and difficult look at mental health in Indonesia from CNN explained how pasung, “the practice of confining or restraining relatives with mental health problems — was banned in Indonesia in 1977 but remains startlingly common.” Although our mental health system here in the United States is hardly perfect, the contrast is startling.

As someone who works with organizations to help them manage expansions involving global teams, I see so much opportunity to get it right in situations like Hotset’s. In its press release, Hotset shared the success of bilateral teamwork among its German headquarters and its subsidiaries in America, China, Singapore, Malta and India.

Are you excited about the Summer Olympics in Brazil? In Road to Rio: Brazil Olympics Sees Low Ticket Sales Amid Economic Downturn And Political Scandals, Lydia Tomkiw of the International Business Times covers several fascinating angles of the upcoming games. For the purpose of this compilation, it bears pointing out the intercultural assumptions made by speakers like International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who reacted to slower-than-expected domestic ticket sales by saying, “Brazilians, they do not buy tickets at such an early stage, as the British or the Germans. There is no concern at all,” at a press conference in early March (as reported by the Associated Press).

Have you read a post or seen a video this week that has helped you have a deeper understanding of a different country or culture? Please e-mail me to let me know; I’d love to see it!

Five Friday Highlights: Gender Parity

Gender Parity

Were you involved in any International Women’s Day (IWD) observances earlier this month? This year’s observance included the #PledgeForParity campaign, which encouraged participants to put gender parity on the agenda on International Women’s Day and beyond. One of today’s featured articles was released specifically for IWD. The others weren’t targeted to the day of observance, but still address important issues of equity and parity.

On International Women’s Day, Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines published Equality is Not Just Women’s Business. Noting that “the World Economic Forum predicts that it will take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity,” Branson explained what his company is doing to make gender parity a reality. He wrote, “Business can and must do so much more to promote equality, respect and fairness. Removing barriers like discrimination and divisions is a necessity for business success. At Virgin, we have … created an environment where all people can thrive – because of who they are, not in spite of it.”

Every individual, female OR male, can make a difference for #GenderParity! ~ {TWEET THIS}

It was a bold statement for Shell United States to proclaim “a new era in supplier diversity openness and transparency has begun” when they introduced their new Shell Supplier Diversity website. Although supplier diversity is a different genre than gender or cultural diversity, by its nature it requires an organization to think differently and to set definitive goals for itself. Shell proclaims it will provide “a storehouse of information, both specific to the energy industry and more general and applicable to working with any multi-national.” It will be interesting to see what happens!

It’s important to note that the very definition of diversity varies depending on perspective. In Millennials Have a Different Definition of Diversity and Inclusion from Fast Company, Lydia Dishman analyzed the results of a study from Deloitte and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative (BJKLI). Dishman summarized the authors’ advice to leaders: they should “remember that what brought diversity into their company isn’t the same as what it will take to support that talent.”

The Time-Consuming Activities That Stall Women’s Careers from the Harvard Business Review explained that women face a “triple whammy” when trying to find the right balance when managing their time commitments at home and work. The triple whammy includes housework, actual time at work, and the way they spend their time at the office. Most importantly, author Rebecca Shambaugh provided four steps women can take to allocate their time more effectively in order to advance professionally.

I was impressed with this article stating that a strategy will close the gender gap, not that it may close the gender gap! Kristy Wallace of Ellevate explained why senior management engagement is so critical. Creating an Employee Executive Board Will Close the Gender Gap in Business makes the case for a group different than a diversity “committee.” It recommends “an independent internal committee that convenes key stakeholders — the Corporate Board of Directors, senior leadership, clients and employees” — a board with sufficient executive authority to set corporate goals and dictate measures that can move organizations toward those goals.

Did you read something this week that gave you hope for gender parity? I would love to hear about it! Click here to email me with your recommendations!