This past week the world has been witnessing Global Entrepreneurship Week. The week ends today, and is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship, taking place in 115 countries.

Bill Drayton is said to have coined the phrase "social entrepreneur."

The aim of the week is to introduce entrepreneurship to young people, improve people’s entrepreneurial skills, and help people access practical support both locally and globally.

The week emerged in 2008 in the United States, and since its creation, more than 10 million people from 102 countries on six different continents have participated in entrepreneurial-related activities. Workshops, conferences, exhibitions, socializing and networking events are only some examples of events that have been going on in the past seven days around the world. In the UK alone some 3000 events are taking place over this 7-day period.

This year’s theme, “Pass it on,” aims to encourage young entrepreneurs to share practical information about starting up and getting into business.

Here’s a quote from a famous social entrepreneur, Bill Drayton, to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week:

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

“Take a stand for teachers!” is the slogan for this year’s World Teachers’ Day.

1.7 million teachers are needed for 2015

The aim of the day is to mobilize support for teachers world wide. Taking a stand for the teaching profession means providing adequate training, ongoing professional development, and protection for teachers’ rights.

A quality education offers hope and the promise of a better standard of living across the globe. There can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers, however, which is why World Teachers’ Day aims to recognize the great efforts of teachers world wide.

In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population was living in cities.

World Habitat Day

Today more than 50% of the world's inhabitants live in cities.

Today is World Habitat Day, and this year’s theme is Changing Cities, Building Opportunities.

World Habitat Day was first observed in 1986. The purpose of this day is to highlight the role of shelter as a basic human right, and reflect on the state of our cities and towns around the world. This year’s urban theme was chosen because cities are engines of growth, and across the globe more and more people are moving into cities in the hope of a better future. According to research done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology cities make up only 2% of the world’s surface, but they house more than 50% of the world’s population, consume 70% of the world’s energy, and are responsible for the 80% of the world’s carbon footprint. Research from Yale predicts that by 2030 10% of the world’s surface could be urban, most of this expansion happening in Asia…

Global Competitiveness Report is an annual report published by the World Economic Forum that assesses the competitiveness landscape of 144 major and emerging world economies.

Global Competitiveness Report

Switzerland tops the overall ranking fourth year in a row.

The report was first published in 1979. Today it is the most comprehensive method of assessing national competitiveness worldwide.

Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, says that the Global Competitiveness Report provides a window for long-term trends, and allows countries to see the key areas where they must act if they want to better the productivity that will “determine their economic future.”

The report measures a set of institutions, policies, and factors that set the current and medium-term levels of economic prosperity in each country. The World Economic Forum brings these measures together and analyses each country’s ability to provide levels of prosperity to its citizens. Levels of prosperity also depend on how effectively a country uses its available resources.

Following up on World Environment Day, today we are celebrating World Oceans Day!

This day has been unofficially celebrated since 1992, when Canada proposed it in the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008.

World Oceans Day

Oceans cover 70% of our planet.

The World Oceans Day is largely about respecting our oceans and bringing issues like overconsumption and pollution into discussion. But, it is also an opportunity to remind everyone about the psychological, entertaining, and functional purposes of these large bodies of water. Oceans make up for 70% of the world’s surface and they connect us with each other…

Every day it seems we pick up the phone and speak to someone in
India, whether it is for IT support or just to be put through to the appropriate department of a large corporation.  Increasing numbers of companies are doing business with India (in JV’s, M&A’s, contact  centres and overseas operations) and this has implications for all of us. So, what advice can I impart about how to work best with Indian partners and colleagues? Here are ten key points that may give you a deeper insight…

1. VARIETY

  • This is the word Indians use to describe themselves.
  • Each ‘Metro’ has distinct culture – Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai.
  • Big difference between NORTH (Hindi speaking) and SOUTH (Tamil speaking) (and lots of other languages)• REMEMBER: French connection – Pondicherry

2. BUILD ON THE STRENGTHS

  • Indians are intelligent, enthusiastic, and motivated.•
  • They can be inhibited by the authority structure and by their lack of experience of Western companies.
  • Show interest in personal lives.• Praise good work.• Give direct clear instructions with firm deadlines.
  • Do what you can to make them feel part of the firm’s family. (photos, certificates, Intranet comms. Etc.)

3. LANGUAGES

  • India has over 300 national languages.
  • INDIAN ENGLISH is a distinct variety – like US English.
  • It has big differences in accent, stress, vocabulary (like US English).
  • It has small differences in grammar.
  • Indian English is very strongly influenced by local languages – e.g. speed of speech.

4. FAMILY

  • FAMILY is the most important motivator in India.
  • Indians abroad work for family and send money home (there is no social security).
  • Indians recognise a much wider variety of family members than we do in the West (the extended family).
  • Make Indian members feel part of your corporate family.

5. EDUCATION

  • Education is very important in India.
  • Indians respect qualifications and education.
  • Graduates of IIT’s (Indian Institutes of Technology) are especially highly regarded.
  • They may be less respectful of experience unless it is supported by qualifications.
  • Show respect for education.

6. RESPECT

  • Respect is very important in Indian society.
  • Indians learn it at school.
  • They are very respectful of hierarchy, (young graduates much less so.)
  • Show respect for age and seniority.
  • Remember that foreigners are usually shown respect.
  • People will not contradict you out of respect.

7. AUTHORITY

  • This goes along with respect.
  • Many Indians will not feel they have the right to contradict you EVEN IF THEY KNOW YOU ARE WRONG.
  • Make sure you are dealing with someone who has worked with Westerners and who understands the importance of open feedback.
  • Find someone with experience who will be more prepared to take responsibility.

8. ‘NEVER SAY NO’.

  • There is a danger that some Indians may give you wrong or inexact information out of a desire to please.
  • There is also a danger that they may overestimate their capacity or ability for the same reason.
  • Always ask ‘How’ something will be implemented in order to check viability.

9. TIME

  • Indians do not automatically prioritise requests unless urgency is stressed.
  • ‘One thing we have plenty of is time,’ is an Indian saying.
  • Give clear detailed instructions.
  • Say exactly when you need something. Stress importance.
  • Keep checking delivery status. (It shows interest.)

10. TEAM VOLATILITY

  • India like Latin countries in Europe is a ‘contact sport’.
  • Keep in regular friendly contact with team.
  • Be prepared to fly out to troubleshoot problems. (Face to face works best).
  • Good team leaders are often moved to other responsibilities.
  • Good team leaders often get overloaded with other work.

And remember: If you sometimes complain about how things work in India, they complain about how things work, or fail to work, in the West.

COMMMUNICATION IS THE KEY.

© Contributed by Barry Tomalin 2011 (http://www.culture-training.com/)

A recent survey concerning TRUST had 17 countries unanimously
agreeing that one profession in particular was THE one to be trusted above all others.  If these 17,295 respondents are any indication of how the rest of the world feels then the likelihood is that FIREFIGHTERS are the most trustworthy group in the whole world. However, levels of trust in bankers have fallen considerably – down to a mere 37% compared with 98% for firefighters.

The GfK Trust Index for Spring 2011 determines the level of trust that citizens have in 20 professional groups and organisations (see below for more details). Of course, there are many interesting differences between the nations with Civil Servants having a vastly different reputation depending on the country in question:  just under 80% of Swiss citizens believe this profession to be trustworthy, only one in four in Greece gave a similar response.

So, who has our least degree of trust?

21st century managers are now required to expand and adapt
their leadership and communication skills to leading virtual cross-cultural teams. However, building and nurturing efficient intercultural and transnational teams are enough of a challenge without throwing in remote or virtual managing!  The 21st century manager has to adapt in order to offer modern solutions to modern problems; in fact,s/he needs to become a global manager. So, what guide lines can I offer you to help you become a global manger with the ability to promote high performing virtual teams? What skills and attributes do you need in order to be effective?

When working internationally, there are certain principles
that are good to remembe
r:

  1. Acknowledge differences exist
  2. Understand and analyse why those differences exist
  3. Appreciate the unique values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of different cultures
  4. Adapt your behaviour — including your cross-cultural communication style — to meet the needs of others.
  5. Be sensitive to feedback and adapt accordingly.

When things just don’t seem to be going right… Remember:

1. Learn something about the country, local customs, and cultural sensitivities to avoid making faux pas while abroad. Get a good grasp of why understanding cross-cultural differences is important in global business.

2. Always err on the side of formality and conservatism. Be low-key in dress, manners, and behaviour. Very few countries are casual in approach. The Australians are the most casual.