Tag Archives: Multi-cultural communication

Truly Effective Workplaces…

31 Mar

Author Laura Liswood has just published a book titled The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity while Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work where she outlines what diversity means against the landscape of American corporations today.

While her posting today (Mar 31 2010) is found at the Women’s Leadership Exchange site: How to Create Truly Effective Workplaces for All, it quickly becomes obvious that her book covers a range of diversity issues including gender, ethnicity, belief systems, age, traditions, etc.

The Loudest Duck” looks like an insightful read on a topic that continues to gain importance as globalization increases.  I enjoy how Laura expresses herself in the posting above:  “What makes it hard for diverse companies to become, well, diverse? I saw a slogan that read “We hire for difference and fire because they are not the same.”

There are also references to related works:  “As Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book, Blink 16% of men in the United States are 6′ 2″ or taller but 57% of Fortune 500 male leaders are 6’2″ or taller.” Ms. Liswood’s book explores the rationale behind diversity initiatives juxtapositioned with the belief systems prevalent in American society and her views are likely to be featured in articles for months to come.  Should be interesting!

Have a good week!


Computer Engineer Barbie – you go girl!

11 Mar

Mashable.com published an article this week titled: Why Computer Engineer Barbie Is Good for Women in Tech  Computer Engineer Barbie

What do you think?

This article brought to mind an experience I had after I finishing a great presentation at a leading Software Technology conference a couple of years ago. A male attendee approached me to tell me how much value he had taken from the content and he admired my presentation style. “You remind me of that female lawyer in Legally Blonde” he remarked. I was stunned (which was not the reaction he anticipated) and he immediately continued with “That’s a compliment you know – I mean you remind me of her because you are a strong, professional, confident woman!” I took the compliment graciously and realized that my professional dress and demeanor is something in which I take pride – and fashion prowess doesn’t take away anything from being an intelligent female engineer!

I assert that the introduction of any fashion-conscious, popular doll (even the fantasy-proportioned Barbie!) which conveys the possibility of a career in engineering or computer science to impressionable girls – is a good thing. In fact, the more positive role models presented as an alternative to the plethora of fictional Snow Whites, Sleeping Beauties, Cinderellas or other fairy princesses, the better! Maybe we can even anticipate “Speaker of the House” Barbie, “Nobel Peace Prize” Barbie, “Research” Barbie, and “Major CEO” Barbie in the future…

Meanwhile, I’m supportive of the Computer Engineer Barbie and her power.  “You Go Girl!”


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.


Read Carol Dekkers’ other blog (Musings about Software Development) at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com

Copyright 2010 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————

Has the recession turned us all into salesmen?

24 Aug

Do you ever get the feeling like you are living in an unreal world where nothing is as it ever was?  If you do, you’re not alone!

Lately, more than ever, I feel like I must be walking around with a big “prospect” sign on my back because it seems like everyone I encounter tries to sell me something. Ok, that’s not quite true – I have good friends and family members who are consistent and true – but everyone else seems bent and determined to turn me into a sale.  I can understand how this backwards economy has turned most people’s sanity on its head with layoffs, foreclosures, get rich quick schemes, and MLM’s everywhere (Multi-Level-Marketing), but really, isn’t there a such thing as basic common respect and decency anymore? Continue reading

Networking and Cultural Intelligence – Necessary or Fluff?

29 Nov

Madrid, SpainIt’s been said that “walking into a room full of strangers” is today’s #1 networking fear, outranking the fear of death and the fear of public speaking which were formerly number 2 and 1. (According to Susan RoAne, networking maven and author of several networking books including Secrets of Savvy Networking and How to Work a Room.)Compounding the situation is the reduction in in-person communication caused by the increased use of internet and e-mails. (It is sometimes amazing what and how people will craft their words and send missives out into cyberspace when they are not face to face with their recipient.) The overall result from less person-to-person discussion is increased shyness and a decrease in ability to network with strangers in a social setting.

What do you think?
Has the internet caused us to atrophy in our social, face-to-face communication skills? Has it made any difference in your own social networking to be able to craft a difficult response to someone using email rather than speaking directly to the person(s) involved? Has the increase in multiculturalism in the workplace had any effect on our ability to communicate and connect with one another?  Where can we find the answers to the most important multicultural team questions?

As the world becomes flatter and flatter through outsourcing, offshoring, and the increased migration of professionals between countries, how are our project teams dealing with the many diversities and soft skills that are critical to success? Is there an appreciation that networking and cultural intelligence skills can be gained through knowledge transfer and practice – or is this all considered fluff?

Would you be interested in attending a 2 day networking and cultural intelligence workshop for technical professionals in January 2009 in Tampa, FL? If so, please send me an email to dekkers@qualityplustech.com.

Have a good week!
Carol Dekkers

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker.  Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event?  Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit www.caroldekkers.com for details.


Read Carol Dekkers’ second blog (about Software Development) at http://caroldekkers.blogspot.com.

——Copyright 2008 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ————————————

Interesting people are interested in people…

21 Oct

I’ve started to realize more and more that there are fundamentally two types of people in the business world: people people, and non-people people. Allow me to explain:

People people are those people who are genuinely interested in others – and the three dimensionality of their interests, their passions, their hobbies, their loves, their lives as human beings, and then there are those who are interested in others only as a means to advance their own agendas such as making a sale, finding a date, moving up in the company, etc.

I’m one of the former group – a people person, which, given my background as a mechanical engineer and software developer, is somewhat of an anomoly. When I was in engineering school, I served as a volunteer for the students’ union orientation committee where a group of us would “host” a group of out of town (rural) students for the weekend in the dormitories and tour them on campus, introduce them to cafeteria food, and provide information and lectures on the logistics of student life and university procedures. My engineering colleagues were astounded that I’d spend my free hours doing something so mundane as meeting and greeting new students – especially when it didn’t guarantee any favors on campus or increased grades. “Why would you bother spending a weekend touring around new students with those social science people only the students union?” they’d ask incredulously. No answer would resonate to their satisfaction – but the truth was that I simply enjoyed getting out of the engineering building, meeting the others on the orientation team, and meeting newcomers to the university. No reason other than expanding my own knowledge of cultures and people in general was why I volunteered. And, to my engineering buddies’ chagrin, it was fun!

Since those long bygone days, I’ve had many occasions where well meaning colleagues have suggested that I could better spend my time “courting” the higher-ups rather than the secretaries when I am at a social gathering. The truth is that networking to me is meeting and greeting everyone at an event – not just those who can advance my career. One co-worker asked me point blank a couple of years back why I would ever take the time to coordinate and arrange an “adhoc” dinner for people at a conference (i.e., anyone who wanted to go to dinner signed up on a sheet of paper and then we made reservations at a local restaurant) – especially when it might not lead directly to a new contract or offer of paid work. I was the one who was surprised by his question – I never realized that I should only talk to people who could provide me with a direct benefit.

Yet, I’ve come to realize that this separation of people types is incredibly common – even amongst those who are considered to be great networkers (those who can really “work” a roomful of strangers). Those who are non-people people will typically approach only those people who they have already researched beforehand, or who they might want to ask out on a date. I’ve witnessed this as recently as last week when I attended a major technology group event in my local area, and the head honcho (who happened to be a single guy in his 40’s) would only approach good-looking women to talk to. Those of us who had knowledge or could have advanced his career were second rate citizens to this guy. Yet there were others in similar positions who took the time to approach everyone equally and talk to each person who attended the event (which was to solicit volunteers for upcoming school programs). Those who were truly interested in other people were the ones who I found the most interesting at the gathering, yet I am quite sure that both types (as opposed to those who don’t go to networking events at all) do quite well despite their interest in people.

I, for one, just find it incredibly interesting to learn that there are so many truly different people one can meet by simply being interested. To me, the most interesting people I meet are interested in people. Maybe it’s true what they say after all – we tend to like people who are most like ourselves. So is it any wonder that people people like people people?

Have a nice week!
Carol Dekkers
———–COPYRIGHT 2008 Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED————————

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