On training global professionals
I am working on developing a certification programme for professionals who have to work outside their countries, or, in an industry which needs constant global interaction, with customers, colleagues or investors.
In a way, this is U-Aspire 2.0. We did develop something like this, Global Business Professional programme, which was built around global business strategy and intercultural competence. This time around though, I am looking at a slightly different audience. This would be less about strategy and more about everyday competence. Besides, this would have more focus on practise and interaction and less on 'knowledge'.
When I worked on this last time, the programme was designed to be blended, with a component delivered face to face. Because of this, and because we wanted to fit this around certification frameworks, we went on to define learning hours and outcomes etc. I now understand, with the work I have done since then, that while all of these things sound like common sense, they make programmes more and more content driven. However, 'global competence', if there is such a thing, is a dynamic and open-ended thing: In fact, one could say that all that's needed is open-mindedness, patience and respect, but more than anything else, situational adaptability alongside integrity is the key. This is hard to capture in the straight-jacket of learning outcomes and session plans. Hence, I am back to the drawing board again.
There was a model I used before: That being global is about intellectual, psychological and social capital. To be global, one must know about different cultures and customs (intellectual), have an understanding of different cultures and open-mindedness (psychological) and have friends elsewhere (social). But, again, while this sounds like common sense, this is elitist and leaves no space for the beginners in globality. It is basically saying that to be global, one has to be global, which makes no sense. Particularly for me, as I actually never left my hometown until I was 30 (and most of my education was in the vernacular too) but since then living a very different life. The point is, everyone, can be global - and enabling that is the great opportunity.
What I am trying to do now is to go outside the narrow confines of business training and expand the conversation about culture, history and language. There was an unspoken assumption that I made last time: Creating a quick and easy route to create Global Business Professional stood on the assumption that business is perhaps the same everywhere. It was basically about a Western certification for all comers, a top-down, monochrome affair. This time, I am trying to approach this differently. The idea will be to create this more open-ended programme for people who are looking to find their ways, with different strands and options to build their networks. And, yes, there will be more connections with the wider world than just connecting with a few people doing online classes from their desks in England.
So less content, more connection; less business, more life; less training, more talk; less of a process, more of an invitation to network; and, finally and importantly, this is less likely to be 'global', which itself is based on a flat-world assumption and more about getting to know a particular culture/ people. I am also reversing my focus - this is not about Indian graduates trying to figure out how to work with Americans but rather for use of Western graduates to know about the world that they didn't care much for.