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I currently run a facility of about 20 people, all of whom speak english as a second language, if at all. While I am rather proficient in spanish, I do come accross some difficulties expressing finer points in spanish. Perhaps, however, the most difficult problem I come accross are the cultural differences at the work place. A great podcast would be discuss how to confront these language bariers, especially in regards to reveiws and one on ones. For example, something I have noticed in my organization is that if I give praise for a good behavior the very next day no one is doing that good behavior. Is this a cultural issue, a language issue, a people issue or a managment issue?

Mark's picture

Bradley-

It's in the queue. We struggled with the issues of everyone always saying, "yes, but that doesn't work in MY culture..." but we believe we have a serviceable approach.

Mark

bradleymewes's picture

It is a tough situation when cultures don't mix. However, I feel that often times that is just an excuse or a crutch to lean on both for employees and managers, e.g. the employee looks at you like you're crazy and says "sorry boss, we just don't do that here" because they don't want to make the effort to change and the manager when confronted with difficulty says "oh well, I guess they just don't get it--they're all backwards anyway" because they do not want to tackle the challenge. Jack Welch discusses this very same topic in his books, and his response is, in traditional Jack Welch fashion (and I paraphrase), is to not allow or condone this behavior, but to emphatically state "well, this is how we're going to do it from now on". But going forward in such a brash manner can backfire on you as well.

I was listening to the member's only Podcast the other day on Resume's and you had mentioned that you service a client in Australia who runs a manufacturing facility and that the owner and prodcution manager have resume's on hand. I found that very interesting and can relate. I run a 20 man collision repair facility in Southern California and other than myself and my office manager, no one has a resume on hand, especially not the owner! It got me thinking about not just ethnically cultural issues, but also industry culture. I was wondering, did you see industry cultural resistance to your ideas there, e.g. "we're just a manufacturing facility, we dont' have time for the fluffy corporate stuff"? I tend to see that a lot at my facility.

I also want to say thank you for all of your great advice and direction. It is bizzare to say, but your podcasts (and by extension you) have become a mentor to me. You are someone whom I can turn to for advice when I enconter a difficult situation. I am continually impressed by your advice and depth of knowledge and am awestruck by your commitment to the members of this site. I don't know how you manage a full time day job as well as run this site AND reply to so many posts an email. Truly impressive.

Brad

Mark's picture

Brad-

Thanks for your kind words.

And... this IS our day job. We've quit our other jobs - Manager Tools is our company and sole source of income.

Mark