Monday, October 09, 2006

"A dragon floundering in shallow water is teased by the shrimps" Part 2

(English translation of September 28th posting)

As I said previously in Part 1, my colleague wanted some advice to help revitalize his stagnant career. So I asked him point-blank: "You are a global trotter who can call anywhere home. Haven't you considered going else where or even returning to where you were born and raised?" He responded: "I left my village feeling that the world would be my oyster and that my career would have no problem flourishing in Canada given my experience. My relatives and friends had a big going away banquet for my family and they were proud of me. Now, look what is happening today. My career is in limbo and I don't know where to go from here. It will be a great loss of face for me to return home. Besides, my wife has a fairly good job and boss and my son is working hard at school. My current plan is to stay put. The most important things are to resolve my adjustment problem and to understand what are expected of me at the workplace." Upon hearing his response, I recognized he was a practical, down-to-earth person who was willing to learn. So I offered him the following advice:

Thinking processes: In this multi-cultural society, diversity also means there are different ways of thinking and expressing oneself. For example: Person A may first identify the issue at hand, analyze the situation and options, and then end up with his/her conclusions; while person B may start with the conclusions first, then substantiate them with a few key rationales and illustrations. However, person C may start with a long context piece from a seemingly abstract angle, then add in all kinds of research and anecdotes to the main theme or issue, and then come up with some diagnostiques, observations, and/or remarks. Now imagine if the three persons are not knowledgeable of the others' thinking processes. What do you think the chance of them working well together? Person A will probably accuse B of jumping to conclusions without a complete analysis. B will rather hear A's bottom line instead of having to put up with the drawn-out analysis. Both A and B may find C too abstract and wish he/she would go straight to the point instead of beating around the bush. On the other hand, C may feel A and B are superficial people who only address the symptoms and are not able to objectively see the big picture and to fully comprehend the context and the concepts of the underlying issues.

Before I could continue, my friend hit me on the shoulder and exclaimed: "I understand exactly what you are saying ! You are talking about the English, French and Chinese people !"

< Stay tuned for Part 3 >


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