Esti (f) is Global Training Manager for a Israel based global firm with 8000 people employed worldwide. Well, to be more accurate, Esti had this position. She was “let go” after a two week long global training program (held in Singapore) for two levels of mid level management failed miserably.
5 things happened that caused the session to fail:
1) The folks who came from Asia (34%) felt totally overpowered by the Dutch, Israelis and Americans who were constantly asking questions and not respecting the lecturer.
Lesson: Not all people learn the same way.
2) Lots of “fun” was factored into the two week session (like swimming, hiking); the resistance to take part of the 7 folks from more conservative cultures (Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia) was not expected and caused a unspoken row.
Lesson: Going into a pool to have a dip is not shared by all as being fun.
3) Many of the US and Canadian lecturers asked the audience questions directly, and caused a huge loss of face in 3 cases when 2 of the more senior people who were asked did not know the answers.
Lesson: No learning can occur when people lose face.
4) It was “suggested” that cell phones be turned off, not required. The Indians and Israelis were constantly texting and taking calls.
Lesson: No mobile phones is a must. Not on mute-no phones at all.
5) One very important session given by a leading Israeli scientist had “required reading”. When the lecturer discovered that 4 (out of 30) people had not prepared, he said, “Well you SHOULD have prepared”. And then he gave a 20 minute break for participants to do the reading, which caused many folks to “check out” and not return after the time which had been allotted for reading.
Lesson: Castigating people, and then showing consideration (a very Israeli characteristic) is not a universally shared trait.