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Are we Ready?

24 Jan 2016     by Bhanu


24 July 1991, we opened our doors to the world market. Thanks to the balance of payment crisis, we now deal with the world and the world deals with us. Doing this bore us a lot of fruits. We eventually became the second fastest growing country in the world.

This liberalization not only brought trading of goods but trading of culture, trading of etiquette, trading of business style, trading of differences and so on. It became more and more difficult for people to understand and embrace different cultures and tradition.

When a globally unexposed Indian has to make a business trip to another country, he is ill at ease because of his lack of knowledge of that particular country. From how to introduce yourself to what to order at restaurants, how to ask for clarifications if you do not understand them the first time,  everything has a way to be presented and lays a  very important foundation when establishing relationships.

When you walk in to a board room, filled with people in blazers and ties, in that ill fitting and unmatched blazers that you got for your wedding, with unpolished shoes and oiled hair, people will judge you even before you begin to talk. You might be the ‘subject matter expert’ or the “speaker of the hour” who has knowledge more than anyone else sitting in the room, but you have an uphill task to convince them and portray the right image to them.

And that is because your first impression was already created.

If you are interviewing for a manager position for a Multinational company’s indian arm and your final round is with the top brass over a lunch, who by the way is  an American, you are excepted to have a small talk even before you sell yourself for the role. If you have no idea of base ball, American reality shows or about thanksgiving you fail even if you answered all the questions in the interviews pertaining to your role.

And that is because your first impression was  already created.

The one thing that we Indians have not been sufficiently exposed, is to package ourselves at the global level.

It is akin to knowing  how to bake a delicious cake. We often fail to put a beautiful icing on it and thus the delicious cake fails to make the cut and remains at home.

How to bake a cake is all the knowledge that we have in terms of process or mere intellectual. The icing is – how to present yourself, how to speak, how to greet, how to have a small talk, how to apprehend verbal and non-verbal communication and body language and even how to dress and talk according to the situation.

Why is it that we have millions of workers doing cutting edge research and product development and yet hardly any patents are filed out of India ?

Why is it that while global companies have thousands of Indians at lower levels and middle management and yet hardly a chosen few make it to the board of Multinational companies?

Why is it that the best performer to crack a thousand lines of code or builds an algorithm that saves his employer millions of dollars fails to get noticed ?

Why is it that the Subject matter expert who has been invited to the headquarters to impart training on the miraculous new product gets rejected in the visa interview ?   

The answer to all these questions is the “lack of Icing”

I got interested in personal grooming as I watched many such personalities unfold before me at my work place.

I strongly believe that most people have it in them.  It is the icing on the cake that they lack.

Day after day, as a trainer when I go to the managers to make note of the list of things that they would like to improve in their folks, the preeminence goes towards personal grooming and image building. The surveys, including from Microsoft states the importance of soft skills in today’s global environment.

The Question is, Are we READY to stand on the global platform????



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