This is the 21st century and gone are the days when businesses employed local employees within certain boundaries. In this era, every business has to be innovative and diversely-flexible to “stay ahead of the game” and to win the game. With that been said, every company requires “top notch” employees as far as talent and qualification is concerned. This then calls for the employer to look beyond the scope of their boundaries when it comes to employee recruitment and talent acquisition. In other words, most companies in the technology and software industry (e.g. Microsoft) need savvy technicians and software developers….and with shortage of qualified personnel for some of these fields in the US, they have to hire analysts from other countries (e.g. India). This is just a general example. And when this happens, we have what is known as a diverse workforce with people from all walks of life. This people each have their own unique and sometimes completely different culture and this calls for managers who can adapt to such diversity. It is therefore very important for us to be flexible as far as cultures and accommodating new cultures is concerned. If a manager ignores or doesn’t work hard enough in understanding the cultures of his/her subordinates or colleagues, then they are automatically setting themselves to failure.
Today’s economy is a global one and calls for dynamic companies and managers who can expand to other countries and adapt as fast as possible to the culture of the host country. China has become one of the best economies in the world and a “power house” in manufacturing. Almost everything nowadays is “Made in China”…not necessarily because Chinese companies are completely responsible for that but because even some American companies have moved their manufacturing to China due to low costs of productions associated with the availability of cheap labor. With English being compulsory in China, the country is preparing their next generation for the already emerging “global village”….where language will not be a limitation to expansion. Of course the opposite is not the case as far as US-students-learning-Chinese is concerned. There was a time when the United States was an epitome of “economic superiority”…..and if we want to get back there, then it’s about time we started teaching our students ways not only to excel in the US market but also to shine from a global perspective….prepare students to become managers who can lead within the US and out there in any country without any form of “culture intimidation”, “language deficiency”, and culture shock.
One of the best tactics to win a war is knowing your enemy inside out…their language, their culture, their way of life, what they like and hate, and how the work or operate…that’s why the best militaries in the world conduct intelligence and counter-intelligence. Information has always been power…and I believe it still is. So if we want to win this “economic war”, we need to learn the language and ways of the “enemy”–our economic competitor–CHINA. Introduce the Chinese language to elementary school kids and make it compulsory if need be….after all, English is compulsory in China!