Chad Fowler describes the problem:
What I've noticed since coming back from India is that in America we are
so focused on ourselves that we don't even take the time to learn about our
teammates from other parts of the United States. What's the special food in
Minnesota? What do Arizonans do on the weekends in their nonexistent
winters? The United States is a diverse place, and we don't even bother to
learn about our own diverse culture, much less the cultures of people on
I don't want to get into the merits of whether or not Americans are inward-looking and selfish. The
important part here is that as the world becomes smaller, nation-states are losing importance as
cultural and political boundaries, and we're increasingly exposed (and exposing ourselves to) new
people from unfamiliar places. We can choose to embrace this, or fight it.
It's pointless to fight it
You can try to change the world. Or, you could think of changing yourself
Luckily, it's fairly easy to turn this to your advantage: just show people that you care about them
, not just colleagues.
If I have to depend on someone to get something
done for me or to deliver a piece of software that I have to successfully
integrate with, I'm going to have much better luck if that person feels I
respect them and if they respect me. Would you respect someone who
wouldn't even bother to learn how to pronounce your name?
If you show your teammates that
you are interested in them as people, you will form tighter bonds and, on
the whole, do better work.
On the contrary, you could be an ass - perhaps without even realizing it:
As I got to know our team members in India, I often heard them say that I
wasn't like the typical American manager. When I asked what they meant,
those who felt comfortable enough would say, You actually take an interest
in us. Most of you are just angry and short with us.
I had a
fellow student at school say the same thing to me. He asked, "Are you natively American?" It was
eye opening to think that he had been treated so poorly by other Americans that he had to ask me if I am one
Incidentally, this is a
tactic in getting anyone to like you generally, so if you have friends, you don't
need to learn any new skills. In this case, it may be even easier because you know
tons of things exist that you don't know about them: just pick a
couple and ask about them. All Chad
had to do was say "Hello, my
name is Chad" in their native language.
It's about making a
small effort, that's all.
This week marks the end of the Save Your Job series
at least as
following each chapter of Chad Fowler's book, My Job Went To India
Why? Well, because it's the last one in the book. I'll still post to that category as
things come up,
but it's not likely to be weekly.
This is a
book that, in my
opinion, is a
must-read for software developers, and it's so short you can read it
multiple times - to remind yourself as
you slip back into old habits, or to reinvigorate interest in goals
you set for yourself in times past.
In any case, I hope you've enjoyed the weekly series, and more than anything else, I hope you got something
useful from it. It was useful to me!
While I thoroughly enjoyed Chad's book, I must say I'm glad to be done with the series. I've been wanting
to free up some time to do some more technical things, like playing with my
new Arduino Diecimila
Hey! Why don't you make your life easier and subscribe to the full post
or short blurb RSS feed? I'm so confident you'll love my smelly pasta plate
wisdom that I'm offering a no-strings-attached, lifetime money back guarantee!
Leave a comment
There are no comments for this entry yet.
Leave a comment