Being in two international business classes at Chapman University, I have learned a lot and my perspective has developed into a new direction. Some of the valuable lessons I have learned are: being culture sensitive and adaptive, being open-mind, thinking out of the box, and having the courage to go wherever opportunity appears.
Being culture sensitive and adaptive is not only a requirement but also a powerful mean for any business leader to be successful in the global business. Apparently, many people couldn’t survive in the global environment because they cannot handle with all the cultural conflicts. At the end of the day, you must find yourself comfortable and engage with the local culture because it is your new home. Understanding the differences and respecting the local culture is necessary, but getting involved and excited about the culture can bring your more benefit and eventually help you to win friends and customers. I still remember the story of a guest speaker, who came to our class to share her international experience. She had a difficult time to get the business deal with some Chinese customers. However in one of the party with customers, she accepted the invitation to drink a glass of very strong Chinese wine. The result was very surprised; she got the business deal the day after the party. It is not because Chinese people like to drink, the underline reason is that they valued her courage to take such a difficult task supposed to be for man and her willingness to mix with the collectivity.
Having an open-mind and out of the box thinking can help you to overcome many dilemma. When we live in another world, our perspective needs to be more opened and flexible to the local context. Things which are considered unethical and illegal in US can be acceptable in other countries. Using child labor, for example, is acceptable in many developing countries and third world countries. Instead of forcing the local manager to strictly follow the ethical standard of US, the leader can think differently. Considering the fact that many families are extremely poor because parent are disability and cannot get any social benefit, therefore letting the children to work to support the family is the only choice. Giving the kids the opportunity to work in the factory is still much better than for him to get on the street to sell the lottery ticket or polish shoes. Many street kids are taken advantage by bad people to sell drug, beg for money, and robber tourisms. With creative ideas, business leader can think of way to improve working condition for kids and have education programs for kids at night to train them become a future employees for the company.
Doing business global is not without challenges. However, a true global leader is the person can overcome the fear and see the opportunity behind the challenges. Taking these into the global SWOT analysis theme, I believe that these characteristics are the real strength for an international businessman/ businesswomen who want to capture the opportunity of the global market.