Last week I discussed the first of the four trends I see that are going to significantly impact the human capital landscape – recession recovery. This week, I’d like to discuss globalization in a different context from that of the past 20 plus years.
Traditionally, globalization, from a business perspective, has meant multinational companies have offices or workforces all over the world. The term then transitioned to incorporate outsourcing – transfer of jobs from the west to other parts of the world because it was in most cases cheaper, and in some cases, actually better. Today, I would argue that globalization has to incorporate yet another dimension.
The idea is that in addition of the previous two descriptors, we can now connect with more people in more parts of the world with more frequency. In many cases now, it is not unusual to communicate and collaborate with co-workers, suppliers, vendors, customers from all over the world on a daily basis in much the same way we historically did so when working within a localized geography or even in the same building but perhaps with folks on a different floor. It is just as easy to pick up the phone and talk to someone on another floor or another building across the parking lot as it is to talk to someone in Singapore. It is equally easy to collaborate via web technologies and share ideas, documents, access sensitive information, etc. with folks in Australia as again, it is with folks a few miles down the road in another office.
And because the playing field is somewhat leveled now, there is a tremendous amount of reliance on finding skills to work effectively with this tremendously diverse workforce, all competing for similar goals. So globalization now means diversity. Yes I am using the dreaded term from the 80s and 90s that usually meant racial, ethnic, or gender training of some kind. But that’s clearly not what I am talking about here. Those differences now appear minor to the diversity of communication styles, cultures, behaviors, and EQ. Those managers, leaders and cultures most comfortable or skilled at working with folks from different stripes are going to be the most successful ones. Because emotional intelligence is such a powerful human competency that can be leveraged for this diversity, I submit that the timing of EQ in the workplace has never been more critical.