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Happy Lunar New Year – 2019: Year of the Pig

Happy Lunar New Year

It’s celebration time – Happy Lunar New Year! Tuesday 5 February will be start of the Year of the Earth Pig, the last of the twelve-year zodiac cycle. People born in1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, and 2007 will experience their Zodiac Year of Birth (Ben Ming Nian).  ‘Pigs’ are known to be genial and accommodating.

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.  It is also called ‘the Spring Festival’, or ‘Chinese New Year’.  Depending on where you are, the festivities typically last from 7-15 days, officially kicking off on 5 February, and in the case of Chinese New Year, ending with the Lantern Festival on 19 February.

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?

As this is the biggest holiday of the year in Asia, most companies 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! Nearly 3 billion trips are expected to be made between during this period in China alone.

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

The year of the pig is a perfect time to carry out an in-depth review of past years and build the energy reserves that are needed before the new cycle that starts in 2020 – the coming year of the Metal Rat.

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.

2019-02-01T00:45:46+00:00 By |

Holiday Listening and Reading Guide

At Beasley Intercultural we’re looking forward to relaxing over the holidays and the luxury of uninterrupted time for reading, listening and thinking. Below the Beasley Intercultural team share the accompaniments for the upcoming road trips, beach and river time, or for just sitting on the couch enjoying some wine. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Listening

Saturday Extra ‘A Foreign Affair’ Geraldine Doogue – ABC Radio

Geraldine Doogue’s dulcet tones are always a pleasure, and her weekly program/podcast has an extraordinary breadth of presenters. Tamerlaine featured on ‘A foreign affair’ in August 2018 discussing ‘culture, collaboration and the region’.

The People & Culture Podcast with James Judge

This podcast is a series of in-depth discussions with practitioners and leading experts on the shape of the future workforce. During each discussion emerging trends are discussed, including their impact on how Australian’s work.

This podcast is in association with the Mandarin, which is always a great place to catch up on a range of topical issues relevant to all those working with, or for, the public sector in Australia.

Tamerlaine features in episode five ‘Navigating cross cultural communication.’

Still Jill

This ABC Series features Beasley Intercultural Consultant Matilda Emberson’s beloved sister Jill and the personal account of her battle with ovarian cancer.

Being a professional broadcaster Jill tells her story very poignantly, the highs, as well as the lows.  There are gendered aspects to ovarian cancer – as a rare, underfunded and lethal cancer – the symptoms of which women and their medical advisers don’t always have the language or comfort in discussing – more often than not until it is too late.

Hillbilly Ellegy, JD Vance on Audible

Although this maybe should be under the ‘reading’ category, as it’s also a great book, the audible version of this book is superb. There’s nothing better than listening to an autobiography narrated by the author.

Hillbilly Elegy is all about culture and context, and is best experienced when the names and accents are local, and just as they should be. This ‘book’ is strongly recommended for anyone who wants to understand more about Trump’s America, the risks of binary us/them thinking, and the importance of empathy in a polarising world. It’s a great story, a personal tale and one which Tamerlaine loved so much she was walking to work so she could finish listening to it.

Slow Burn

Season 1 of this American podcast dives deep into the President Nixon Watergate affair. Each of the major figures in the scandal are introduced and the presenter is excellent at helping the listener create a mental map of interconnecting people and events. Lesley, who works in Beasley Intercultural head office commented “For someone who wasn’t born, and only had casual knowledge of the events of Watergate, Season 1 required ‘binge listening’!”

Season 2 demonstrates how a United States Special Counsel investigation can begin down one path, but end up exposing many others! This season takes a very close look at the Bill Clinton Whitewater investigation. It provides fantastic history, which you could speculate still has ramifications for the political dynamics in the United States today.

Adding to the intrigue while listening to these podcasts is the looming shadow of the current Special Counsel Mueller investigations. How will history recount this time we are currently living in?

And if you like this genre, Beasley Intercultural Consultant Julie Webb loved a related podcast:
Russia if You’re Listening by the ABC.

Witness – BBC World Service

Never be without a good podcast in your life again. An abundance of high quality programs on everything and anything that appeals to just about everyone! Beasley Intercultural Consultant Elizabeth Morris loves these podcasts and they have accompanied her on her many travels to Bogota, Jakarta and New Delhi this year.

Chat 10 Looks 3

What a phenomenon this podcast has become. Chat 10 looks 3 has now spawned an entire global community of tens of thousands, an ongoing series of sell out events, and a range of merchandise. Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales have really hit a sweet spot with their focus on creating a ‘community of kindness’ where they ‘chat’ about movies, books, work, life and family. Elizabeth said this podcast got her through a long road trip this year. Tamerlaine also likes to listening to it on a plane as it’s a sound of home, and a source of great books and movies.

Fierce Girls

This is a great series for the holidays, particularly listening with daughters, nieces, and for that matter, sons and nephews! Each short episode gives a history of a remarkable Australian women who have made a difference. This podcast uses sound to bring each story to life. It’s a great collection of bite sized pieces of Australian history.

Julie says “I have learned a lot about people I had heard of, but didn’t know lot about beyond the headlines.”

Pretty for an Aboriginal

Julie says “Actor Miranda Tapsell and comedian actor Nakkiah Lui talk about life, love and work as an aboriginal woman in Australia (my words – theirs would be way funnier).”. It’s described online as “Nakkiah and Miranda have conversations Australia is uncomfortable having—about sex, relationships, dating, power, and, most difficult of all, race.” This podcast is a great snapshot of modern Australia.

The Art of Inclusion

The series is described as: “A look into the lives of fascinating people, whose stories shed light on the wider social issues facing Australia, and the world. We flip the script on who we include, who we don’t, and how we can do better in everything from gender, race, mental health and disability, through to the inclusion of LGBTQI+ and Indigenous communities.”

Over six episodes, you hear the stories of politicians, journalists, athletes and executives with advice on how to master The Art of Inclusion. Beasley Intercultural really loved this 6 part series from the Diversity Council of Australia and wishes they would make more!

Reading

Preparing to Lead in a Crisis, Peter Dunn

A book written and published by a member of the Beasley Intercultural team just has to be top of the list for us! Peter has had an extraordinary career, as a Major General in the Australian Army, working around the region and the world.

Peter has worked in many crisis situations, and conducted reviews of leadership and organisational responses, including in the ACT bushfires. In recent years he’s focused much of his efforts working with indigenous communities in his work as Chair of Malpa. He’s also been leading educational reform programs in Saudi Arabia. In this book, Peter explores critical elements of success: challenging unconscious biases, thinking strategically and leading inclusively.

Click here to buy a copy.

The Mekong Review

An amazing publication produced in Marrickville in Sydney’s Inner West and punching above it’s weight in global distribution and readership. The Mekong Review is a literary magazine from Southeast Asia. Every quarter, it publishes book reviews, essays, interviews, profiles, poetry and fiction from the region and beyond.

Put together by Minh Bui-Jones who was born in Vietnam and came to Australia in 1978 as a refugee. Bui-Jones began his media career in TV as a researcher and producer for SBS. He worked as a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald, then later founded or co-founded four magazines focusing on Asian current affairs, including The Diplomat in 2001. Why not subscribe, or buy someone you love a subscription for Christmas?!

Monocle

The Founder and Editor Tyler Brule is quite a personality, and one of the few people who, in this day and age, manages to deliver a hard copy magazine with interviews, great articles and a network of writers around the world. It’s sometimes a little ridiculous on the design front– ‘the best fit out for your personal jet’, but we particularly love the international relations, community and small business focus, and profiles of fascinating people who make a difference.

Asia Society: Disruptive Asia Series

This series is edited by Greg Earle who is on the Board of the Australia ASEAN Council with Tamerlaine. It is a great collection of writing on contemporary ASEAN.

Volume one comprises ‘twenty essays from the leading and emerging Asia watchers on Australia’s foreign policy in the region, business connectivity, community links, shared regional challenges, Asia competencies and cultural diversity’.

Volume two focuses on the ASEAN region and Australia’s relations with its South-East Asian neighbours. The ASEAN edition focuses on the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit held in Sydney – the first time Australia has hosted the forum on its shores, and one of the largest gatherings of Asia’s leaders in Australia’s diplomatic history. Each article is a quick read and a good introduction into many of our friends and colleagues in the region.

Griffith Review 61:  Who We Are

Edition 61 focuses on the issue of multiculturalism in Australia, the opportunities offered, complexities involved, and how it has shaped our identity as Australians.

Beasley Intercultural Consultant Ramona Singh says “As the daughter of Dutch and Indian parents, people’s experiences and perspectives of multiculturalism have always fascinated me.  At Beasley Intercultural, we are always asking our clients to identify what it means to be Australian.  This is a great book to add to the conversation.”

The Griffith Review is a quarterly publication featuring essays, reportage, memoir, fiction, poetry and artwork from established and emerging writers and artists. Each edition focuses on a contemporary theme, enabling pertinent issues to be aired and discussed in a public forum.

Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe

One of Peter Dunn’s recommendations, this book shines a light on the misrepresentation of many elements of Australian indigenous history – particularly the realities of settlement and agricultural management of the land. The book provides fascinating evidence and insights into the way Australia was actively farmed, managed and lived in by Australia’s first nation peoples. It is critically important to not only record these stories and living memories, but also to understand them and the implications for our nation’s story into the future.

New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

This was read and enjoyed by a few members of the Beasley Intercultural team. Elizabeth, Geoff Health and Tamerlaine all agreed it’s essential for understanding the way power is being exercised in a rapidly changing world.

New York Times columnist David Brooks calls “the best window I’ve seen into this new world.” Jeremy Heimans was co-founder of ‘GetUp!’ so it also has an interesting Australian angle.

Hit Refresh, Satya Nadella

Tamerlaine has spent a lot of this year deepening her understanding of how digital transformation is shaping dynamics in the region and the importance of leading change within our global clients. This book is written by the CEO of Microsoft and explains his personal journey of change in the past four years transforming the business through engaging with diversity, embracing agile and design thinking and radically transforming the approach of the business.

Nadella has made some missteps along the way, and as all leaders, is not perfect – he learned a valuable lesson on the power of social media when he suggested the gender pay gap would simply be resolved if women waited to be recognised! That said, his humility, willingness to own his learning and his explicit focus on growth mindset and inclusive leadership is interesting to learn more about.

Not Just Lucky, Jamila Rizvi

Ramona has been leading our gender training team this year and thinking a lot about related in issues. Ramona says “In these days when many men are feeling blamed for women’s woes, Jamila Rizvi shifts the focus from men to women in explaining why women are promoted less, listened to less and earn less in the Australian workplace.”

As women, when we do achieve success, we often attribute it to luck rather than acknowledging our own hard work and sacrifice to achieve our goal.  Ramona enjoyed the humour, personal anecdotes and solid research of this book.  If you’ve ever uttered or shuddered at the words “women are their own worst enemy”, you might enjoy it too.

Border, Kapka Kassabova

Ramona loved Kassabova’s book and said the complex history, politics and mythology of this particular border captured her imagination. The concept of borders and the people who cross them is always controversial.  Kapka Kassabova emigrated with her parents from Bulgaria to New Zealand at the age of 25.  Two decades later she returns to explore and understand the border that Bulgaria shares with Turkey and Greece.  When she was a child the border was designed to keep Bulgarians in, preventing them from escaping a totalitarian regime.  Today the border is designed to keep Middle Eastern refugees out.

Kassabova’s account is of personal experiences of villages and people that have been ruled by Ottomans and Communists, have survived as spies, smugglers and border guards and have observed Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

A Moonless, Starless Sky, Alexis Okeowo

Ramona loved these stories of resistance and survival, endurance and resilience, from a perspective of empathy and curiosity.  There are 4 stories in this book including a Ugandan schoolgirl who is kidnapped by an army, given to a young soldier as his bush wife, then builds a life and family with him.

The author, Okeowo, was raised in Alabama by Nigerian parents, spent time in Uganda as a newspaper intern and then in Nigeria as a reporter. Feeling neither wholly American nor African, an outsider in both places, enabled her to write with a unique perspective on the lives of “ordinary women and men fighting extremism in Africa”.

A few classics: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones

Matilda says she’s a recent convert to re-reading much loved books. She has enjoyed reading again Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things (the latter so much more vivid after visiting Kerala).

Next on her list is one of her favourite books Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones – set on Bougainville, PNG during the crisis – the book illustrates the transformative power of great literature. With no resources other than a copy of Dickens’ Great Expectations, the stand in teacher reads aloud to the children, including main character, Matilda who subsequently goes on to study English literature in Australia. The descriptions are incredibly evocative and Jones doesn’t pull any punches about the misdemeanours of PNG soldiers trying to round up rebels.

2018-12-21T05:03:34+00:00 By |

Rapid changes in Vietnam: Tourism, food and business developments…

ASEAN council in VietnamI recently spent a week in Vietnam with the Australia-ASEAN Council Board for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Board’s mission is to promote Australia’s interests in South-East Asia. Our focus is on initiating and supporting activities designed to enhance awareness, understanding and links between people and institutions in Australia and South-East Asia.

The pace of change in Vietnam is rapid – 30% increase in tourism year on year, 25,000 new hotel rooms coming on line, and the need for 50,000 new staff trained in hospitality.

The scale of tourism development was highly evident in our visit to Hoi An – a world heritage listed site attracting thousands of tourists from around the world, increasingly from China, and Australia.

Many of the Australia-ASEAN Council funded projects are attempting to mitigate the risks of the rapid expansion in tourism. One of this year’s grants was to UNESCO, bringing together specialists to examine the issues facing disadvantaged community members living in world heritage locations. While in Hanoi, we met with representatives from the Ministry of Culture Sport and Tourism and UNESCO to discuss how we can  continue our collaboration. Further research and partnerships are needed to ensure the most disadvantaged communities are not negatively impacted through the growth of tourism in their area.

We caught up with Australian Embassy representatives in Hanoi and the Australian Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. High Commissioner Karen Lanyon hosted an event for representatives of the Australia-Vietnam Young Leaders dialogue and other key representatives of the Australia-Vietnam relationship. At lunch, hosted by Luke Nguyen at his restaurant Vietnam House, we learned about the many culinary collaborations occurring through Taste of Australia in Vietnam. Australian produce is enjoying rapid growth in popularity and the growing middle class are emerging consumers.

Business roundtables in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City highlighted differences between development and regulatory contexts in urban and rural areas.  We discussed the unique cultural contexts of north, central and south Vietnam and the implications for Australian business and their market entry strategies. As in all Asian contexts, effective business outcomes require a long-term commitment, consistency of personnel and enduring relationships. A solid example of Australian business engagement in Vietnam is the RMIT campus in Ho Chi Minh City. A gleaming high-tech site, the campus offers RMIT degree programs in business, technology, communication, design and fashion.

Vietnam is a strategic partner of Australia, and we have significant historic linkages. What this recent trip reconfirmed for me was the importance of our regional collaboration, and the exciting opportunities for our respective futures.

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2018-11-16T04:53:07+00:00 By |

Future-proofing your Workforce: What it takes

Future Proofing WorkforceLast week I attended the NEEOPA ‘Future of Work’ Masterclass, led by Katrina North from EY and Carmel Court at EML. The session addressed critical questions we are seeing many of our clients being challenged by:

“What leadership skills do we expect our leaders will need to deal with the anticipated ‘future of work’ challenges?

What populations do we need to think of in the future?

What challenges will face our existing employees if they are displaced due to automation and increased contingent working?

Two areas we focus on at Beasley Intercultural – developing resilience through change, and inclusive leadership – are critical capabilities.

The future workplace is:

  • Different: It won’t look, feel or operate like workplaces today
  • Everywhere: It will include offshore, contingent (project based) and flexible or home based workers
  • Everything: We won’t simply rely on humans, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital capability and smart machines will augment our daily work
  • Now: Change is already underway, and there is urgency around supporting this transition, for leaders, and for the workforces they lead.

This transition will not be easy for all, and job security will be an issue for many people. Without due focus and planning, there is the potential to leave many people behind. Research from Oxford University, has identified a number of occupations which will be fully automated in the not too distant future. All of these jobs are based on a predictable pattern of repetitive activities which machine learning algorithms and AI can perform with greater speed, accuracy and at a lower cost.

The World Economic Forum recently defined the top 10 skills needed to navigate this monumental shift in the economy and explored how humans will create value in an increasingly automated world. The emphasis is strongly on ‘the human touch’, what has been traditionally deemed ‘soft’ skills. High level thinking and interpersonal skills are what’s required.

Leaders not only need to role model the behaviours needed for the future workforce, they need to have the capacity to develop and drive strategic organisational change while bringing people with them. Inclusive leadership will be critical. The ability to bring people together, think long term and negotiate solutions to complex and important future questions will define not only the future of our businesses, our economy, but also our planet.

Some of the key skills required by leaders of the future include:

Digital literacy – Leaders don’t need to be programmers or IT specialists but do need to know what questions to ask, and of whom. There’s a risk that important business and operational strategy will be driven by the Chief Information Officer and IT department, rather than the entire leadership team if leaders don’t have digital literacy.

Humility – Leaders won’t know everything. They will need to have the capacity to access and synthesise diverse perspectives rather than depending on ‘gut instinct’ based on their lived experience of the way the world was in the environment they grew up in. Global mindset, and the capacity to engage with and address the needs of diverse communities will be business critical.

Inclusion – Leaders will need to ensure their managers have the capabilities required to fully access and leverage the talents of everyone in a diverse and distributed workforce. It’s not enough to have a strategic or intellectual understanding of diversity at the top of the organisations. Managers and leaders need to practice inclusion in their behaviour: the capacity to understand diverse perspectives, maximise participation in meetings and information sharing in global and virtual teams, and deliver results.

Resilience – Change can be hard. Resilience is required to cope with constant change and ambiguity. Keeping staff motivated and engaged through complex change and work reallocation is rarely easy. Strong communication skills will be required from leaders to guide a workforce through change.

It is essential to prepare and support our current and next generation of leaders. A growth mindset and lifelong learning will ensure we can support the inclusive leadership skills required to succeed. The good news is, this is possible! We have a responsibility to not only ‘tell’ leaders the behaviours and capabilities they need, we need to support their development. Leadership coaching, training and advisory services can make a difference to daily team performance. As a recent participant on our Inclusive Leadership program said in their program feedback:

Applying my new learning on inclusive leadership – It worked! There was greater team participation and contribution. People were noticeably more open and more willing to share. I saw improved morale and greater diversity of thinking within the team.

Resilience through Change’ is also available in the suite of training programs from Beasley Intercultural. This course can empower your workforce to navigate the change process and be more resilient – for greater wellbeing and productivity.

Contact us now to future proof your workforce.

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2018-09-21T05:30:11+00:00 By |

Modern Slavery and Cultural Capability – what matters

Modern Slavery Supply ChainThe Australian Modern Slavery Bill was introduced into the Australian Parliament in August of this year. The draft Australian Modern Slavery Act is similar in its purpose and requirements to the UK Modern Slavery Act Once enacted it will establish a Modern Slavery Reporting Requirement requiring large organisations in Australia to make annual public reports (Modern Slavery Statements) on their actions to address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains. What do Australian businesses need to do and how will they be effective?

Many Australian businesses may be unaware of the risk that they may have slavery in their business or supply chains. Modern Slavery can include forced labour, servitude and child labour. As at July 2018, the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index estimates there are in excess of 40 million people globally subject to some form of modern slavery and collectively approximately US$150 billion per year is generated in the global private economy from forced labour alone; 30,435,300 people in Asia-Pacific Region are ‘enslaved’ (66.4 per cent of all people enslaved); and 4,300 people in Australia are enslaved.

There are a growing number of companies and start-ups providing advice and tech solutions to help business address Modern Slavery (MS). These include supplier management, mapping software programs and analytics, worker phone apps, geofencing, and Blockchain technology, as well as more traditional approaches such as audit and inspection. Society, our community and shareholders are looking to companies to take responsibility for their supply chains and ensure that modern slavery does not exist or has been identified and effective mechanisms have been put in place.

Positive interventions may be needed. Approaches are at risk of not being effective if they lack consideration or understanding of cultural differences and context between Australia and many Asian cultures. In particular, a naivety around supplier attitudes to compliance is a common major shortcoming with current approaches to addressing modern slavery in supply chains.. Recognising and understanding the local context in which many suppliers operate is fundamental to the design or implementation of a successful approach.

Where modern slavery exists, many suppliers operate in a different cultural, political, legal, economic and business context to that of Australia.   There are different local and regional power relationships, economic realities and development contexts in the countries of the Asia Pacific region.

It’s rarely effective to merely criticise from afar. For countries which are only now emerging economically, and, in with recent memories of Western colonisation or the threat thereof, such criticism can easily be perceived as ‘interfering’ in local affairs, taking a colonial approach, or not respecting local labour realities and labour migration.

It can be equally ineffective to take a purely compliance based approach. In countries where governance and capacity is poor, compliance is very difficult to monitor, and fraud can be commonplace. Unless significant economic and culturally relevant incentives exist to change, endemic fraud, corruption, and disregard for regulatory and compliance requirements will remain commonplace.

This cross-cultural divide needs to be understood when working with suppliers. Business must develop a set of skills for professionals with human resources, import/export, finance and procurement backgrounds to determine a tailored and effective approach. It is only when stakeholders (from business executives to suppliers) have an understanding of each others’ cultural drivers in relation to Modern Slavery and worker welfare, will any strategy have a meaningful chance of success.

What is critical to effect change, is also a focus on the cultural capability and nuancing needed to develop trusted company-supplier relationships. Without these, there can be no common sense of purpose or commitment and therefore no lasting change.

Change takes engagement and participation from all – Australian businesses must first understand the realities of Modern Slavery in the cultural context in which it takes place in order to be able to effect any positive change.   At Beasley Intercultural, we want to ensure efforts to address modern slavery are as effective and high impact as possible.  We know that effective communication, collaboration, and cultural awareness will be the key to making this change happen.  Our programs and advisory services can support your organisation to build this capability and develop an effective strategy to combat modern slavery in your supply chains.

Our related services include:

Cultural Capability Training – online, blended or face to face solutions, delivered by cross cultural specialists with deep regional experience and insights into the realities of Modern Slavery.

Cultural Advisory Services – to support MS consultants and tech providers ensure their programs and interventions work in complex supply chains in Asia.

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2018-09-21T05:04:25+00:00 By |

Australian future engagement with China

How Australian organisations and individuals understand and engage with China will continue to be critical for our future prosperity. China is home to the world’s largest population and will be home to the world’s largest economy before 2030. Look at the @LowyInstitute Power Index, check out the ‘Future Trends/economic size 2030’ and see what happens.

With more than 160 cities greater than one million people (and 6 with over 10 million), the Chinese government, understandably, has a strong focus on food security, infrastructure development and maintaining stability. The extraordinary growth of the Chinese economy has lifted 800 million out of poverty since 1978. The biggest impact on development outcomes has been such rapid economic expansion.  Source: World Bank

China is engaging in the world in new ways. For example, the massive Chinese ‘One Belt, One Road’ infrastructure initiative began with the aim of linking China with Europe both overland and by sea. This has now become a broader approach called the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’ to Chinese economic development and foreign investment, spanning over 65 countries and covering 62 percent of the world population, 31 percent of its GDP, and 40 percent of global land area (The Diplomat). The initiative will contribute to China’s economic position in the world, ensure deep interconnectivity with the countries surrounding China, and increase the availability of food and resources to a rapidly growing middle class.

In recent months, the debate about Australia’s China engagement has reached new prominence, and is having implications in the Australia China relationship. Views vary wildly from those of Clive Hamilton, the author of ‘Silent Invasion’, to Geoff Raby, Australia’s former Ambassador and now Business consultant who is a strong advocate of business engagement and recently highly critical of Australia’s approach. Australia is now highly dependent on China in many ways – our 3rd largest export is international education and our largest international student intake is from China. China describes itself as a ‘capitalist economy with socialist characteristics’. In China, freedom of speech is curtailed, and google, gmail, facebook and other Western social media platforms are blocked at the border.

Australia cannot rely on legacy ways of thinking or engaging with the world to guide us into this new era. We must understand these new realities. This doesn’t mean we need to agree with, or modify all of our ways of doing or being in the world. What it does mean, is that for the security and stability of our future, we need to rigorously engage with the questions this poses, be clear on who we are, and define our future direction in a way which leverages our unique strengths and capacities as a nation. Linda Jacobsen and her team China Matters have made a solid case to argue for a more coherent narrative. Australians know that China is important to Australia, but many do not have a nuanced understanding of the reasons why nor do they fully appreciate the risks and opportunities involved in relations with China.

One of Australia’s strengths is its soft power. Soft power is defined as “Having the ability to influence the behaviour or thinking of others through the power of attraction and ideas” in the Government’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. Australia’s democracy, rule of law, strong economy, quality education, cutting-edge science, multiculturalism and environmental protections are all sources of influence.

China is investing enormously in developing national capability and soft power in engaging across cultures. It’s extraordinary the scale of commitment to the development of global capability being demonstrated in China. Look at Arabic for example – check out China Global TV in Arabic, and listen to why Chinese students think it’s worth studying the language.  In Australia meanwhile, our global capability could do with some more focus. Although we do have a large multicultural population and one in five Australians speak a language other than English at home, only 8 percent of Year 12 students in NSW study a language at all, and more study Latin than Mandarin!

As understanding of China’s importance to Australia grows, this important area of our foreign policy, business and soft power engagement will gain far more prominence. How we negotiate these issues will define our future.

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2018-09-21T05:20:23+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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2018-08-10T04:31:51+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.

Beasley Intercultural

Build capability, raise cultural awareness and develop a global mindset

For over 20 years, we’ve delivered transformational cross-cultural training to more than 15,000 people around the world.

Whether you’re in business, government or an international agency, our programs, advisory services  and executive coaching can support you and your team to build capability, raise cultural awareness and develop a global mindset.

Clients & Results

See our clients and results
2018-08-17T02:52:44+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 us to find out more about our Global Teams and Inclusive Leadership programs.

Beasley Intercultural

Build capability, raise cultural awareness and develop a global mindset

For over 20 years, we’ve delivered transformational cross-cultural training to more than 15,000 people around the world.

Whether you’re in business, government or an international agency, our programs, advisory services  and executive coaching can support you and your team to build capability, raise cultural awareness and develop a global mindset.

Clients & Results

See our clients and results
2018-08-17T05:59:09+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.

2018-08-17T06:57:40+00:00 By |
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