James Wight is the Head of R&D in a San Francisco based software company.
James has all his remote site managers in town for a three day planning session.
Igor heads the Ukrainian site, Jean-Jacques heads the French site, Haim heads the Israel site and Oya heads the Japanese site.
The US based senior VP of HR, Valery White, asked to address James’s global team. As Val spoke, James took a call to distance himself.
Valery made 5 points.
- There is a need to use politically correct terminology: chairperson, not chairman; parenthood, not motherhood; utility, not man-hole; sexual labourer, not ho-ho; not BC but BCC.
- Managers should not smoke with workers in front of the offices on the sidewalks, to avoid giving a poor leadership example.
- Terms like Mister, Sir or Boss are not aligned with the egalitarian culture of the company.
- HR is your business partner. There is now a call center in Tirana Albania at your service.
- Even within an office, all emails need to be in English only. In the dining hall when a corporate guest is present, only English should be spoken, “in the spirit of one company”.
After 20 minutes, Valery took a short “bio-break”. When she returned, no one but James remained. They were all still out on the sidewalk smoking and James was still on his call.