Monday, December 24, 2007

Exhumed and Noted

The End (of the year) is nigh and I'm frantically excavating all the stuff buried in stalagmites of paper that populate my home, office, and/or home office.

Item 1: Lawrence Casiraya of noted that Carol Dominguez, President and CEO of John Clements Consultants, believes that there is a "more pressing" need for management skills in the country's business processing outsourcing industry. This she identified as a the critical item for the industry to address based on a series of focus groups wherein 50% of the respondents "cited bad management as a reason for leaving a company."

This highlights an area of talent development that is under-served at the moment: front line managers who have risen through the ranks quite rapidly to accountability for spans of control that wildly exceed their life experience, emotional maturity, and overall ability to cope with the stresses of management pressure to achieve more with less (especially as the dollar loses value and margins are compressed).

Item 2: In a postscript to Flattening and Topography, I ran across a WSJ OpEd piece by Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Pictures. He notes that American cultural hegemony is giving way to localized culture as it elbows onto the world stage (using the forces of globalization). His cites popular Chinese films such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Kung Fu Hustle as well as that prolific font of whimsy: Bollywood.

Without commenting on the rapidly dominant countries' economies or the widely dispersed nature of their cultures (or Mr. Lynton's interest in position Sony Pictures as an organization promoting global cultural diversity) — he does have a point: "...Hollywood is not simply a place in Southern California. It is a symbol of an entertainment culture which is becoming as diverse as it is universal."
What this means to people devoted to corporate education in locales outside their served clientele (like North America and Europe) seems to be opaque at the moment but this trend of cultural heterogeneity creeping around the edges of the dominant paradigm bodes well for a global business community where culture is not lost, but remains a practical tool to study and learn the art of the polyphony.

Item 3: Delving deeper into the stack of Wall Street Journals mouldering in the corner yields an article by Ravi Venkatesan, the Chairman of Microsoft India discusses business responsibility in an emerging nation where economic inequity is quite prevalent (as in much of Asia). His July, 2007 opinion piece offers some prescriptions for how to think about ways to guarantee a future defined by economic advancement rather than instability and lawlessness.

In particular, I'm drawn to his ideas on education and its delivery over large distances to people with disparate backgrounds. He notes that Microsoft is working on ways to learn English using a computer or a cellphone. At one of our organizations, we are exploring the same goal — although we are focused more on the combined face-to-face and eLearning approach (a mobile interface could be extremely valuable as well).
I believe that the Philippines remains a largely un-tapped source of talent with much of the population locked in labor and unskilled work (32% of the employed population). With tools that allow people to collapse distance and access best practices, we unlock opportunity and provide the foundation growth and prosperity.

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