Banyan’s Casebook Nov.2017-Awareness

1st November 2017



In today’s world where we operate within a global economy the need to have a level of awareness both generally and culturally can be a great asset.

Our case study deals with a scenario where a person’s skills are put to the test.

John is a highly capable technical engineer whose career track record to date has been outstanding, in his early thirties he was about to embark on his biggest challenge.

He has been assigned to take on the challenge of leading the building of, a brand new manufacturing facility based in Singapore.

In his previous assignments within Australia, he had been accredited with getting things accomplished within timelines set by his employer.

John was to take up his appointment at short notice due to the resignation of another senior engineer.

The existing staff was to be a combination of Singapore nationals, Malaysians, and visiting immigrant works from Myanmar.

John always professional and diligent had already prepared work schedules and time frames before his arrival into Singapore.

Before his planned first meeting on site he has requested his local counterpart to gather all staff connected with the project to discuss what he expected of them and to reveal the time schedules.

Little time was spent with the company’s local manager discussing the project and the environment, he did not see that as a priority.

John was a natural goal setter and did not spend much time with relationship issues, his driver was completing the project quickly and efficiently.

His address was short and blunt with a rather elevated tone in its delivery, the workers nodded and smiled and he went back to his hotel that day with the impression it had gone very well.

He could not have been so wrong, over the next few weeks deadlines came and went and the project slipped behind its planned delivery dates.

John’s demeanor became rather dark and he was prone to displaying acts of public displeasure, his frustration increased as he was getting less and less traction in his requests for action. The option for the workers to do overtime was not taken up, quite a development in that country.

Matters came to a head and another experienced engineer was urgently despatched from Australia to assist John to resolve some of the problems.

So what could have caused this situation to develop and lessons to be learned?

1) His company appeared not to have assisted with country orientation.

2) He did not seem to take the time to understand the cultural diversity present.

3) Public displays of anger were unwise, some cultures feel threatened.

4) His focus appeared to be built around his goals and not how he could best use the resources around him to achieve those goals.

5) No attempt was made to form a close relationship with his local manager in the early stages.

* Disclaimer
Please be advised resemblance to any persons contained in these scenarios living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

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