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Discover what happened during our first expats collaborative workshop !

What are the kind of challenges you experience when you work in India? How can you best adapt to the new Indian working environment ? Here is the experience from 20 expats working in Chennai coming from different industries. The workshop was facilitated by Chennai Expats Expertise. To know more: http://chennaiexpatsexpertise.strikingly.com/

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Discover what happened during our first expats collaborative workshop !

  1. 1. Executive Summary of the 1st Expats Collaborative workshop by Chennai Expats Expertise is a professional network to share and develop professional skills. It is open to working and accompanying expats, from all nationalities and all professional backgrounds!
  2. 2. 5 nationalities 8 different industries 6 different functional backgrounds Outstanding discussions
  3. 3. In your job, think of one thing you find challenging Worried about offending or upsetting Make people responsible of what they do Make sure that my request will be achieved (answer is always yes but delivery doesn’t match sometimes :-) People giving very little honest feedback esp. when things go wrong or project is late RELIABILITY / RESPONSIBILITY RELATIONSHIP / COMMUNICATION Passivity of students. Lack of responsiveness Following-up through emails, escalating issues, … Communication and understanding of expectations Too much delegation, so that important work is done by the least qualified people How to put a positive and constructive pressure to solve crisis Solve the root cause of problems Different values in terms of education/social life TIME Meeting deadlines Project achievement vs deadlines Lack of time awareness Slow motions in operations BUREAUCRACY The weight of the Indian administration (private or public) CLOSE MANAGEMENT Repeat again and again the same teaching. Check and see the same mistakes. Excessive supervision required INNOVATION Try to bring something new in an existing organisation
  4. 4. In your job, think of one thing that energizes you Learning every single day about my job and the cultural differences within my team Having real cultural exchanges with the students, the parents, the teachers and the companies Dealing with the intercultural aspect of my job: dealing with the Indian potential to reach high standards Making connections and learning to leverage them Recruitment Some people really able to excel given the right environment and encouragement Hope? We all know what is wrong and how to fix it Team appetite to learn Enthusiasm an the ability of my team to change and work in a changing environment People willing to work hard and go above and beyond The freshness of Indian spirit The innovation and creation I have to create new processes from scratch and ensure it is efficient The positive attitude Smile always When we are doing weekly workshops with workers and managers in the factory, I am energized to see and push team work, involvement and success. People never complain Great appetite to learn and change Watching the students succeed Loads of energy The positive mood of my team Far from HQ to build a team from scratch and to create efficient new processes in a challenging context ENERGY LEARNING CREATING
  5. 5. This picture represents how I feel about my job, because…
  6. 6. Chatrooms Out of the group discussions, four challenges emerged to be of a great importance: - Finding the right balance - Selecting the best from both cultures (and coping with the worst) - Delivering the expected results and outcomes - Building up team spirit and cohesion for efficiency and performance improvement
  7. 7. Chatroom 1 – Finding the balance Quick Summary of the challenge • How to balance home office company requirements and Indian office reality? – “I always feel I am walking on a tightrope trying to balance between the two.” • How to balance between being culturally sensitive (i.e. friendly) vs. maintaining authority? A couple of tools / initiatives / best practices • Break the work down in portions • Encourage your Indian colleagues to give their opinions • Give them autonomy within their comfort zone • Designation is more important than real function : use it!
  8. 8. Chatroom 2 – Picking the best Quick summary of the challenge • Indian Best: reactivity, flexibility, motivation, willingness to work hard and learn but no anticipation skills or ability to plan • Things are not completed • Don’t know to say NO or that things go wrong or they made a mistake • Bureaucracy • Hierarchy breaks innovation (good employees are threats to managers) • No communication between teams A couple of tools / initiatives / best practices • Be pedagogical : spend time to repeat and make them rephrase • Give the rules of the game : you want feedbacks, point of views, true info, you belong to the same team • Close management : detailed task definitions & instructions, regular follow up • Find out who is experienced, leader, trustworthy in your team and use him as a support • Reward program : employees can nominate by email someone else who did a good job or improved something => his name and action are mentioned at a monthly meeting
  9. 9. Chatroom 3 – Being result oriented Quick summary of the challenge • Implement new process and create accountability – How to make acheiving excellence a cultural value? A couple of tools / initiatives / best practices • Break down into steps (small chunks of info, delivered to small teams) and continually monitor progress • Clarify targets, co-create objective standards & reporting dashboard • Encourage individual accountability while nuturing a culture of safety • Create urgency • Increase information sharing (up and down hierarchy)
  10. 10. Chatroom 4 – Building up team spirit Quick summary of the challenge Team spirit (or cohesion) is among the top factors in improving efficiency and performance, in India as anywhere else. In building team spirit, the main ideas we discussed were : o The role of the team boss (importance of hierarchy) in giving the vision (common goal) and the “spark” (exemplarity) o The loyalty to the boss (as a person) rather than to the strategy (even if this is conflicting with long term interest of the company) o The need to understand each team member’s drivers (motivations) at work (notably if career and status are the main drivers, it is often playing against team cooperation) o The importance of investing in personal relationships (but this makes it more complicated in case of conflicts, as you have to deal with emotions and egos) A couple of tools / ideas / best practices • Use you authority / hierarchy position to shift energy from “who is to blame in case of failure” to collective / collaborative / constructive problem solving • Find the persons who are already good team players (hopefully there are some!) and rely on them to bring / promote change in behavior through recognition of their skills • “Babysit”: invest time and energy on a day-to-day and one-to-one basis to make sure behaviors are changing • Be practical rather than spending too much time on explaining: “show how”, “walk the talk” • Set up collective goals and rewards collectively versus individually • Convince: the best team players are the best managers ! • Respect seniority and expertise: team spirit does not mean everybody is equally competent; it means everybody can have a specific contribution and shared knowledge and experience which will benefit all.
  11. 11. Discuss real situation Participants had the opportunity to discuss in small groups specific challenges that they are having in their roles. The group supported the discussion by asking clarification questions, sharing their own experiences and offering possible actions.
  12. 12. The path is not easy but what an adventure! There is no better story than an Indian story Take the best of everything and everyone Challenges are the doorway to determine creative solutions Forget your Initial idea(s) ! 75% rule is key Focus your energy on small and clearly defined tasks Everything is possible Always check !Start with regimentation… get to innovation Keep calm and carry-on First put them in a box, their imagination will open the box… … In time Rising Sun Black coffee Sir? Great Indian day to come Patience is key In India, you will loose your mind but you will also find the way… Listen with your heart Share Knowledge & experience about how to get the best out of people You will not change them. Adapt yourself or burn. Nothing is more important than relationships. Nothing. Everything is negotiable
  13. 13. What next? Join “Chennai Expats Expertise” Group on • Post any questions? • Share your initiatives and best tips! • Share any good articles that you found in the newspaper. • Forward the group details with your friends and colleagues! We are happy to welcome in the group any working or trailing expats here in Chennai. So spread the word!
  14. 14. Spread the word! And stay in touch chex.expertise@gmail.com

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