About Tamerlaine Beasley

Tamerlaine Beasley is an expert who enables effective collaboration and communication in diverse and global workplaces. She is a member of the Board of the Australia-ASEAN Council for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and founder and Managing Director of Beasley Intercultural, Australia’s premier cross-cultural training and consultancy company. Tamerlaine’s keynote presentations, advisory services and training programs are described by clients as ‘transformational’ and ‘game changing’. Examples of her work include: coaching and advising business leaders in Australia and Asia; working with global teams to optimise performance; developing a framework for training and capability building through international partnerships for APEC; building local staff capacity at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; leading the development of diversity and inclusion programs for the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Defence.

Modern Slavery Act coming soon – What Australian business needs to know

On Thursday February 15 I attended Parliament House in Canberra to hear more about the progress of the Australian Modern Slavery Act. In 2015 the UK enacted legislation on Modern Slavery, which we hope will soon be replicated in Australia.

End SlaveryAround 40 million people worldwide – men, women and children, are victims of modern slavery, which includes forced labour in manufacturing, agriculture, food production, construction and commercial sexual exploitation.  More than two thirds of these people are in the Asia Pacific

Australia is not immune to this issue. Both within our country and through the supply chains we benefit from. The supply chain of products we buy is complex, and, as discovered by many who have taken the time to look, you don’t have to go too far to discover slavery. Andrew Forrest, Chairman Walk Free Foundation has personally made a commitment to ending modern slavery, after discovering human slavery within his company’s own supply chain (AFR: Modern Slavery in Global Supply Chains)

At yesterday’s hearing, David Cooke, Chairman and MD of Konica Minolta explained how they are enacting change in their supply chain and the links to managing business risk (KM receives anti-slavery Australia freedom award). As he said “this needs to be at the top of the agenda in board rooms across Australia” Other panelists sited insights from Nestle about what they have learned, how transparency around this has worked for them, and what they are doing about it.

A Modern Slavery Act for Australia, similar to legislation in the UK will require the business community to review the existence of slavery within their supply chains. It is important this new legislation actively encourages businesses to look deep into their operations and act on any findings. There is a risk, that without a nuanced approach, victims of modern slavery will be even more vulnerable. It’s critical that legislation is designed to ensure support for victims.

We at Beasley Intercultural are keen to support the business case for, and more importantly, the ability, to enact change in this area. What’s going to make the difference for the next stage is the ‘how’. Business needs to step up and get engaged in the conversation, and ensure a positive outcome, which makes a difference to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and doesn’t simply add to red tape or compliance reporting.

Prime Minister Turnbull has indicated that legislation should be drafted and before parliament this year. Support is strong across the political spectrum, and the NGO and community sectors that are at the frontline of supporting victims. Leaders in the global business sector want to address this issue and do the right thing. Let’s now take this to the next level and get something done, and soon.

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2018-02-16T04:47:49+00:00 By |

Happy Lunar New Year 2018 Year of the Earth Dog

Happy Lunar New Year

It’s celebration time – Happy Lunar New Year! Friday February 16 will be start of the Year of the Earth Dog.

What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is one of the world’s most vibrant and colourful events, with celebrations taking place all across the globe. Also called ‘the Spring Festival’, “Tet Festival’ or ‘Chinese New Year’, depending on where you are the festivities typically last from 7-15 days, officially kicking off on February 16, and in the case of Chinese New Year, ending with the Lantern Festival on March 3.

Dictated by the cycle of the moon, the date of the Lunar New Year changes every year. Celebrations can last up to 15 days and traditionally centre around friends and family, decorating houses, exchanging gifts, with loud firecrackers, drums, bells and gongs to ward off evil spirits and ring in the new year.

Is this relevant to me?

This is the biggest holidays of the year in Asia, with many cities around the world also hosting Lunar New Year events.   Many companies across Asia that will be closed and their employees away with families, often in other cities.  Please note this means that it will be difficult to schedule events and meetings or get any major decisions made around this time of year.

Travel implications

The Lunar New Year is the largest annual human migration on the planet when hundreds of millions of people will be cramming onto planes, trains, buses, boats and cars to go home or away for the holiday! More than 2.98 billion trips are expected to be made between February 1 and March 12 in China alone.

The Year of the Earth Dog – what to expect in the year ahead.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Earth Dog is seen as stubborn, yet respectful of other perspectives, and hard working. If you are born into the year of the Dog, you are likely seen as just and honest with a strong sense of loyalty to friends and family and a fierce determination to get things done. This is a year for quiet achievement and avoiding the spotlight. It may be a year when you need to take your time in order to be able to effectively communicate with others.

Happy Lunar New Year to all our partners and clients from Beasley Intercultural.

Beasley Intercultural provides strategic advisory services and cross cultural education programs to global businesses in highly complex and rapidly changing environments.

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2018-02-15T03:52:50+00:00 By |

Reading and Listening Guide: best of 2017

By: Tamerlaine & Ramona  – top cultural reading and listening picks for 2017

Parag Khanna – Connectography
Tamerlaine: Secretary Pezzulo from DIBP raved about this book in his presentation at the Crawford forum. Luckily for me, the author Parag Khanna was at the event and I had the good fortune to discuss it with him! This book describes how our world has changed, and how mega-cities and the connectivity among them will shape our futures. An essential read for anyone working on internationalisation or globalising business models. Khanna is described as “a leading global futurist and strategist, world traveller, and best-selling author. He is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore”.

Magda Szubanski – Reckoning: A Memoir
Ramona: A trusted friend recommended I read this, and I couldn’t put it down. I could well relate to Magda’s challenges of growing up as the child of migrants in suburban Melbourne, in a family full of secrets, and struggling to find a place to belong. Her voice on the page is as real and clear as we hear her on the screen. Reckoning has won six awards and is one of my favourite memoirs.

Shankar Vedantam – The Hidden Brain
Tamerlaine: Ramona suggested this book to me and I really enjoyed it. It’s a fun easy read which provides fascinating insights into unconscious bias.
Ramona: One of the best books I’ve read for understanding how our hidden brain can lead us to exercise our biases while denying they exist; determine how we’ll respond in a crisis; blind us to our privilege; lead us to steal; all the while believing we are making decisions based on logic, evidence, character and merit. Shankar Vedantam is a fabulous story teller and brings an important scientific subject to life.

Mei Fong – One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment
Ramona: Mei Fong is a brilliant story teller who introduces us to a vast array of people impacted by China’s One Child policy: the eternal bachelors and their desperate parents who will never see grandchildren, the surrogate mothers providing babies for those who can’t conceive, the government officials paid to spy on those who have illegal second children, the parents who have lost their one and only child and cannot have another. Throughout this story, she deals with her own challenges of conceiving through IVF, so her experience is personal as well as political. If you’ve ever wondered about the wider impacts of China’s One Child policy this is the book to read.

Rebecca Huntley – Still Lucky: Why you should feel optimistic about Australia and its people
Tamerlaine: We are so fortunate to share an office with Pino Migliorino and his team at the Cultural Perspectives Group. Pino often hosts drinks for friends and colleagues with interesting guest speakers – Rebecca Huntley was one of his recent guests. Rebecca is one of Australia’s most experienced and knowledgeable social researchers. For more than a decade, Rebecca has interviewed and listened to thousands of Australians – in their homes, at work and in Australian Board Rooms. This book is a summary of who we are, where we’re heading and what Australians are really thinking. The good news is that we’re “more generous, more progressive, and more alike than we think we are – and we are better than our day-to-day political discourse would suggest.”

Anita Heiss – Am I Black Enough For You?
Ramona: Anita Heiss is a Wiradjuri woman, an author, poet, academic and social commentator. In 2011 she was one of nine people accused by Andrew Bolt of choosing to identify as Aboriginal for personal gain. The group successfully sued Bolt in the Federal Court. This book is Anita’s personal response to his accusation. Growing up in Malabar, Sydney with an Austrian father who migrated alone to Australia, and a Wiradjuri mother surrounded by her own family, Anita’s identity was multi-layered but very strongly Aboriginal. She’s a city girl who hates camping, loves make-up and heels and a proper bed to sleep in. Her memoir, as does all of her writing, challenges the stereotype of what it takes to be accepted as a “real” Aboriginal person.

Mohsin Hamid – Discontent and Its Civilisations.
Ramona: We rarely consider the impact of internal terrorist attacks and American drone bombings on the daily lives of Pakistani citizens. Mohsin Hamid’s stories offer us that perspective. Born in Lahore, he moved with his parents to the USA when he was 4, he then chose to move back to Lahore with his wife and young child as an adult. This collection of essays deals with migration, exile, identity and belonging. My favourite story is of how he learned to speak English at the age of 4. At Beasley Intercultural we love to challenge and shift perspective. This very readable book does just that.

Podcasts
Tamerlaine: I love catching up on what’s happening in the world through listening to Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue on Radio National. A few episodes I’ve enjoyed recently:

A Foreign Affair: Rising tensions about Chinese influence in Australia and the region, and the Rohingya crisis are discussed with Michael Wesley and Tim Costello

The Making of Vietnam: ‘The mountains are like the bones of the earth. Water is its blood.’ said Trinh Hoai Duc, an ethnic Chinese scholar and poet writing about Vietnam in 1820. Water plays a vital role in the Vietnamese life, economy and mythology. Southeast Asia scholar Ben Kiernan traces the history of the aquatic nation.

Little Soldiers: An American Boy in Chinese School: A fascinating personal story exploring how the culture of our education system shapes our thinking and relationships to one another. This includes an interview with the author of the book of the same name, which is now on my holiday reading list.

The New Chinese: Barry Li, author of “The New Chinese: How They Are Changing Australia” speaks candidly about his life in China, and Australia, as a modern Chinese person. Fascinating insights into one of the biggest new language groups – Mandarin speakers and recent Chinese migrants in multicultural Australia.

The Missing Asian-Australians in our Institutions: Ramesh Thakur argues the ethnic diversity within Australia is not represented in our political parties or in our major institutions. As political leaders discuss our role in the Asian region, be it economical or for security, countries like Canada, are embracing their ethnic diversity and electing them into government.

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2017-12-20T06:11:15+00:00 By |

Responding to a ‘Digitalising, Deglobalising, Post-Truth World’

Recently I was invited as one of 150 leaders to participate in the Crawford Leadership Forum, “Global Realities, Domestic Choices: Responding to a Digitalising, Deglobalising, Post-truth world.”

The forum was a jam-packed 48 hours of discussion on the themes which are shaping our world and the implications for the organisations we lead, particularly focussing on appropriate public policy responses to some of the most difficult economic, security and social problems facing the world in general, and Australia in particular.

Some highlights for me were discussions with:

  • Parag Khanna. Global Futurist. His book ‘Connectography’ is a must read for any leader working across borders.
  • Linda Jakobsen. China Specialist. Her latest book ‘China Matters’ essential reading for Australians engaging in the region.
  • Peter Yu, CEO, Yawuru, one of the largest cattle stations in northern Australia owned and managed by traditional land owners.
  • George Yeo, Former Singaporean Foreign Minister talking about how Singapore manages relationships with China and what Australia could learn.

Some of the extraordinary speakers and participants included Helen Clarke, former NZ PM who spoke of her run for UN Secretary General; and Australian Senator Penny Wong and Laura Tingle, Journalist and Author, discussing the future and what they see as Australia’s role in this new global marketplace.

One of the key themes which emerged from almost all sessions was the radical disruption occurring in our workplaces – the impact of Artificial Intelligence, globalisation of supply chain, global labour mobility, and a reshaping of the world’s power and economic power relationships.

I was struck by the extent to which Inclusive Leadership – leadership which is adaptive, agile, and taps into the diversity of globally connected and diverse workforces – is radically increasing in importance.

Late last year I wrote about our Inclusive Leadership Program and some of the feedback participants shared with us about their experiences, expectations and what they will now do differently as a result of their learning.

Videos and resources from the 2017 Crawford Forum are now publicly available.

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2017-10-12T21:05:36+00:00 By |

Building Cultural Capability – What works?

Do you know how to build cultural capability in your organisation?

Cultural capability is an increasingly important skill to enable high performance workplaces. It ensures people at all levels of the organisation communicate effectively, engage respectfully, and collaborate for results.

Culture is not limited to a ‘country’ culture defined by lines on a map. Culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ and consists of learned behaviours and norms shared in a group.

So, what works? 

After more than twenty years and supporting thousands of people to develop their skills, we know the pitfalls to avoid. We understand the challenges of negotiating difference, ensuring alignment and driving performance.  Most importantly, we know does work and why.

In order to successfully develop cultural capability across your workforce, training programs and advisory services must be relevant for the context – the type of organisation, the level of seniority and the experience of participants.  Cultural capability development needs to be embedded and supported across the entire organisation.

Where to focus your efforts?

Inclusive recruitment, HR & Onboarding practices:

  • Company PR & marketing teams trained in cross-cultural communication, ensure advertising and company online presence represents a diversity of faces,
  • HR staff trained in cultural capability & mitigating unconscious use inclusive and fair selection processes to ensure hiring based on talent
  • Induction programs develop a ‘shared language’ and baseline foundation understanding of the cultural capability
  • Employee networks and diversity and inclusion strategy built into business strategy

Management and Leadership Development

  • Inclusive Leadership programs ensure leaders know how to access and leverage the breadth of talent in their teams
  • Country-focused programs prepare staff to ‘hit the ground running’ when working with colleagues or clients in new geographies
  • Leadership Masterclasses ensure critical cultural know-how for global M&A, negotiations, global project and JV management, leading diverse teams
  • Resilience and change management when transitioning teams, relocating and leading in complex environments

Strategic support

  • Access expert coaching for leaders stepping into an Asia-Pac role 
  • Seek specialist advice for new initiatives – globalising business models, balancing the need for localisation with consistent business practice across borders
  • Use professional facilitation for global or regional strategy meetings, conferences and events

To celebrate 20 years of Beasley Intercultural we’ll be holding events in Sydney and Canberra, sharing lessons learned and strategies to build cultural capability in your organisation. 

To book your Canberra tickets on 20 September 2017 click here.

To book your Sydney tickets on 17 October 2017 click here.

2017-08-10T04:02:14+00:00 By |

Leading Asia-Pacific Teams: What works?

It’s cherry blossom season in Tokyo, and I’m here delivering a program on Global Mindset for Asia-Pacific Leaders. This group of leaders have thousands of staff across the region and I am reflecting on the challenges they face. The challenge of creating and maintaining a truly global business, while meeting the needs of, and adapting to local cultures. It’s not an easy task.

One of the biggest challenges of working in Asia as a leader, and a ‘boss’, is that in this context, hierarchy is everything, and unless you can ‘read the air’ as it’s described in Japan, it’s hard to know what’s going on, and can be even harder to influence and get results. 

How do you access critical information when meetings are often about displays of harmony and you are treated as an honoured guest? How can you get feedback on your ideas if no one would dare disagree with you publicly? How do know what’s real and who to trust? It’s so tempting to trust the person in the room with the best English or the person who knows how to engage with you in a way you are accustomed to.

So what works? 

  1. Access reliable information about the local context – get beyond the surface. Learn about local communication preferences and adapt your style as necessary. For example, often the most useful information is conveyed over lunch or en-route to the car.
  2. Build a sense of team. Your local team are the key to your success. What are you doing to give them the greatest capability to deliver? How are you ensuring you hear what they really think and say? Alignment, engagement and motivation are critical.
  3. Be clear on your role and what you bring. Your ability to lead successfully depends on your capacity to align local capability with the broader company vision and goals. You often have a better sense of the bigger global picture, and cross-company networks and insights.
  4. Have a clear sense of your company values and history and make this explicit – who you are, and what you stand for. Look for ways of engaging with local partners and causes which align with your vision and values.
  5. Regulators, government and community matter far more than you might think in most Asian countries. If you get those relationships right, your business will be more successful. Your brand and what you stand for are often best communicated through your commitment to community. What potential do you have to add value?
  6. Build relationships of trust. People will talk truth to power, but only if there is trust. Make an investment of time in relationships, in listening to understand, and demonstrating commitment.
  7. Be curious and open. Show humility. You will never stop learning, and you will sometimes get it wrong. Anyone who has ever succeeded has failed too. Pace yourself, you will need to be resilient and persist. 
  8. Know what is at your centre. You will be challenged and sometimes doubt yourself, or the job you are trying to do. Consistency is as important as adaptation. A sense of stability, continuity and purpose will make a difference to your ability to cope, and to lead. 

Sounds easy, right?! As with anything, the challenge is all in the doing. Engagement starts with a single step, and it’s all about getting to know people and their world. So, start now. Be curious. Ask an open question, and sit back and listen. Watch the magic happen.

 

Contact Beasley Intercultural for more information on our Global Teams and Inclusive Leadership programs at support@intercultural.com.au.

2017-04-05T00:49:47+00:00 By |

The Business Case for Customer Diversity

‘Whether it’s your customers or your workforce, respecting diversity and treating people inclusively is the right thing to do, plain and simple. It’s also the smart thing to do, because if you’re appealing to the widest range of people, you’re strengthening your ability to grow, attract the best talent and innovate.’  

Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas

A report released today ‘Missing Out: The business case for customer diversity’ by Deloitte and the Australian Human Rights Commission highlights significant unmet customer needs in diverse communities.

Stereotyping, unconscious bias, and lack of awareness are leading to experiences of exclusion for customers. Customers are more powerful than ever before, and prefer to buy from organisations which treat them respectfully and fairly, and openly support diversity.

Less than half of the people surveyed believed organisations treat customers respectfully, regardless of their personal characteristics. As Australians, we live in a country where one in five people speaks a language other than English at home, 18% of people have a disability, 11% of people identify as LGBTI.

Diversity is not just ‘something HR manages’. Understanding the diversity of the Australian community is about accessing and servicing the broader client base, and about better business results.

What’s needed is to build capability for tangible change. A first step is to build cultural awareness, take concrete steps to minimise the impact of unconscious bias, and develop inclusive leadership. These measures are all required to better understand and service diverse customers.

2017-02-27T05:34:08+00:00 By |

International Relocation: Playing the ‘long game’

Have you ever been on holiday or a short business trip to a new country and thought ‘I could live here’? The two weeks you spend are joyous, the food is interestingly different, and the culture fascinating…

However, relocating to a new country is a radically different experience to a short-term visit. You’ll still be there once the ‘honeymoon’ is over.

Having worked with thousands of individuals and families on both our pre and post-deployment programs, we’d like to share a few tips to make the adjustment as smooth as possible:

Prepare. Seek information and advice about the local people, history and culture. Access local news websites and become familiar with local issues and popular culture. Absorb as much information as possible from a wide variety of sources about your new home.

Pace yourself. To successfully relocate and live for more than six months in a new location you need to play a ‘long game’. It will take time to find your place in your new community, establish relationships and know where you fit in.   

Create a sense of ‘home’. Remember, home is a sense of belonging and unique to you. What rituals can you maintain? Is it the smell of coffee in the morning? Is it the sound of your favourite music? Do you like to cook? Do you always run on the weekends? If you are relocating with others, remind them of the things they love about home. Try to keep some continuity in your life. Small things can be nurtured anywhere in the world.

Look for people who can support you. It might not be the same people you lean on at home. Their lack of understanding of what you are going through may sometimes make things harder. Expat communities are a great support – they have already ‘been there, done that’. 

Be gentle on yourself and those around you. You can’t force adaptation. Not everyone will adapt at the same time. Everyone is under pressure and copes in the best way they know how. To preserve relationships, remember, this is a challenging time, be patient.

Take time out. A mini break from your new location to a third destination can help. While it may be tempting to want to ‘work through’ and get everything under control at the office, a brief break can help gain perspective. When you return, somehow your new place feels more like home than when you left.

You got this…Hang in there. It’s normal to be overwhelmed at points. Don’t underestimate the amount you have already learned, and the skills and life experience you bring. Think back, what worked for you in a previous period of change in your life? Many of those strategies will also work now.

 

Beasley Intercultural has supported thousands of employees and their families to make a successful transition when relocating internationally. Our programs facilitate better adjustment and productivity on arrival, minimise foreseeable risk, and ensure duty of care is addressed. Contact us now to find out about how our pre and post-deployment programs can help you or your team. 

2017-02-22T23:29:52+00:00 By |

Happy Lunar New Year – 2017 Year of the Rooster

Happy Lunar New Year

It’s celebration time – Happy Lunar New Year! Saturday January 28 will be start of the Year of the Fire Rooster.

What is Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is a the most significant holiday of the year across much of Asia, with the largest celebrations in China and Vietnam. It’s also known as ‘the Spring Festival’, or ‘Chinese New Year’ in many places.

The date of Lunar New Year changes annually as it is dictated by the cycle of the moon. Celebrations can last up to 15 days and involve visiting friends and family, gift giving, new clothes and loud firecrackers to herald in the new year and chase away bad spirits.

What’s the relevance for me?

Be aware of the implications of Lunar New Year for your clients, colleagues and customers across South East Asia and China. Be mindful of scheduling events, meetings, or expecting major decisions to be made – people are in celebration mode and may be on leave.

Travel implications

Lunar new year is the largest annual net migration of people on the planet. One billion people will travel home or away on a holiday! More than 600,000 people will move through Beijing train station each day.

Take a look at this video http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38724062 to get an idea about the scale of the event.

The Year of the Fire Rooster – the year ahead

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Fire Rooster is seen as hardworking, resourceful and courageous. If you are born into the year of the Rooster, you may enjoy being the centre of attention and be a very confident individual who enjoys maintaining many relationships. This is a year for scrutiny and planning. It may be a year of putting many resources into completing a few tasks perfectly.

Happy Lunar New Year to all our partners and clients from Beasley Intercultural.

Beasley Intercultural provides strategic advisory services and cross cultural education programs to global businesses in highly complex and rapidly changing environments.

2017-01-27T04:12:59+00:00 By |

“Why are Australians so hard to understand?”

I’ll never forget the moment.  I was facilitating a Global Teams program in Shanghai for Country leaders of the IT department of a multinational client.  It was a well-earned coffee break and Eric, a participant from Hong Kong approached me with a question which has stayed with me ever since. 

“Why is it?’ he asked gazing  around the room, “that he’s from Delhi, she’s from Tokyo, he’s from KL, he’s from Bangkok…we’re all speaking English as our second language, and we all understand each other perfectly well.” He then paused and subtly turned to direct his gaze at Ben from Melbourne.  “And yet, we can barely understand a word Ben is saying.” 

I asked myself, “Why are Australians so hard to understand?!” Australians often don’t realise how confusing their communication style can be. Australians use the English language in a particular way, have a unique approach to hierarchy and use banter and teasing to build rapport. Colleagues and clients who aren’t Australian can find this style difficult to understand.

After years of research and working closely with Australian businesses to improve communication in their global teams, Beasley Intercultural is excited to release our Working with Australians eLearning Program. This Program is designed to demystify Australian cultural and business practices.

The Working with Australians eLearning:

  • Provides practical strategies to develop rapport with Australians
  • Enables participants to understand how Australians communicate at work
  • Outlines how respect and hierarchy are demonstrated in business

As you observe the Australia Day Public Holiday think about your newly arrived team members or colleagues working offshore. Could they use some help understanding Australians and the unique Australian communication style?

Click here for more information about Working with Australians eLearning.

Tamerlaine

2017-01-24T01:12:41+00:00 By |
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