I am currently in Chennai, India on a trip to see Sify eLearning team in action. While it is great to meet the people behind some of the wonderful work I have had the pleasure of demonstrating to customers, it’s been a great learning opportunity for me on the impact of globalization.
Steve Jobs has a powerful impact here in India even though his products don’t command the same market share as elsewhere. In one of the meetings, the first thing we did was a one minute prayer for Steve Jobs. India seems to be lot more integrated into what’s happening in the rest of the world than we perceive it to be.
Smartphones and cellphones are pervasive in India. Blackberry, Android, Nokia and several cellphone companies fight a pitch battle in the print and electronic media. If you have to deliver training to your employees in India, consider pushing training content through smartphones. In fact, Desktop based internet access may be less prevalent than Smartphone based internet access.
Those who adapt to cultural differences thrive and those who don’t miss out on opportunities. I see people from all over the world in the airports, offices, local malls and restaurants. My office in India happens to be in a tech center that houses several IT Services companies and there is no dearth of visitors from outside India. Traveling to India is not for the faint hearted. There is an assault on your senses the moment you land here. Culturally, there is very little in common between the western world and India. Are you ready to look beyond the differences? Are you equipped to deal with the challenges of dealing with a different culture?
And finally, Indians don’t have the luxury of being polite. Hyper competitiveness is the name of the game in every walk of life. Traffic lights are just suggestions, queues are for losers, and getting things done is all that matters. People don’t hesitate to work late into the evening and during weekends. Most of them are happy to have a livelihood and don’t bother complaining about the workload.
Companies would do well to understand what drives the economies of Asia and Africa. These are the economies that are increasingly contributing the raw materials (including people) that drive the global economy. Enterprises that expose their employees to these dynamics, learn from the experiences, and adapt to changes will thrive.