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India, Nigeria, Leadership and Management. Lessons from Dr. Chaz Austin – October 28th, 2022

Dr. Chaz Austin

Dr. Chaz Austin, with his decades of experience, describes many keys to working with executives in two major countries. “Structured like a brick,” India is a very top-down, hierarchical business structure in which “kissing up to the boss” is the main way to gain titles, gain promotions, and gain more money. Unlike a participatory “humanistic” structure which welcomes ideas from any level, Indian business in general does not encourage ideas from below and has very few opportunities for women at senior levels, except in nonprofits. Nigeria has a similar management structure and is more open to women but confronts embedded corruption, bribery, bureaucracy, and politics. Nevertheless, Dr. Austin presents a young, dynamic, Nigerian agribusiness company, Zambara, that is working to break this mold. Regarding leadership, companies worldwide that have women in senior positions generate more profits and companies that embrace all kinds of professional backgrounds at their senior levels succeed better.

Highlights:

Different social media methods

Different cultural approaches used with students

Gender differences in cultural practices

How the feat of family embarrassment stops entrepreneurs

Nigerian Business

Dr. Chaz Austin Bio

Dr. Chaz Austin holds his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. For the past 20 years, he has worked with private clients all over the world, advising leaders and managers on how to be more effective, and how to use social media to reach their target audiences. He is currently Chairman of the Advisory Board for Zubara Logistix and Consultancy in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, and in early 2022 taught Leadership & Strategy in the Liverpool Business School’s Global MBA Program for the upGrad online educational platform in Mumbai, India. Topics included: Ten Well-Known Leadership Styles, Business Strategy Frameworks, Managing Cross-Cultural and Virtual Teams, and How to Solve Problems. He also trains workers how to market themselves in The Gig Economy. Dr. Austin has been a college professor for over 20 years, teaching a wide range of courses in business, leadership and communication. Since 2017, he has been teaching branding and self-marketing courses he designed, based on his second book, for Los Angeles Pierce College. Connect with Chaz: TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3gf1kK3iLc Leadership Coaching Two books on self-marketing, treating yourself like a business and behaving like an entrepreneur: https://amzn.to/2XAoIsH https://amzn.to/2XuDn8I A series of three courses he wrote and teaches for LinkedIn Learning: CREATING A CAREER PLAN http://goo.gl/IFMDCj SUCCEEDING IN A NEW JOB https://goo.gl/lYxRSH TRANSITIONING OUT OF YOUR JOB http://goo.gl/YtWBkr

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Full Transcript

Hello everyone, so a sign in China that said, in both Chinese and English, “Dying right here is strictly prohibited.” It’s very useful to know. One can regulate where one dies when in China, I guess one can do that.

So, today’s guest is Doctor Chaz Austin.

Dr. Chaz Austin holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. For the past 20 years, he’s worked with private clients all over the world, advising leaders and managers on how to be more effective and how to use social media to reach their target audiences.

He is currently chairman of the Advisory Board for Zubara Logistics and Consulting in Port Harcourt, which is in Rivers State, Nigeria. In early 2022, he taught Leadership and Strategy at the Liverpool Business School’s Global MBA program for the upGrad online educational platform in Mumbai, India. It’s quite a mouthful. 

His teaching included ten well-known leadership styles, business strategy frameworks, managing cross-cultural and virtual teams, and how to solve problems. He also trains workers to market themselves in the gig economy. 

Dr. Austin has been a college professor for over 20 years, teaching a wide range of courses in business, leadership, and communication. And since 2017, he’s been teaching branding and self-marketing courses that he designed based on his second book and teaching at Los Angeles Pierce College. 

Welcome. We’re delighted that you’re with us.

Thank you, Philip. It’s wonderful to be here. Thank you very much.

So perhaps you could tell us a bit about how you got into international business, especially in unusual countries such as India and Nigeria. Many foreigners focus on familiar countries, such as Europe and perhaps East Asia, but yours are a bit more on the unusual side,

A couple of ways. When I teach people how to brand themselves, one of the main focuses of the courses that I teach is using social media and how to use it effectively to reach a target audience, so I have to walk the walk. 

I show them what I’ve done on social media. My platform of choice because that’s where the business is, is LinkedIn, so that’s one way I’ve found people from all over the world who’ve been private clients whom I consult with their companies, and I also, as part of that, have three courses on LinkedIn learning that I designed and teach on how to find, keep, and leave a job. I’ve gotten people all over the world who send me to fan letters regularly about how effective this has been.  And that’s what’s brought business to me as well. 

And then, through personal referrals, I do leadership coaching for people, and they have colleagues all over the world, and it’s one of the lovely things about the Internet. We know there are a lot of downsides to it, but one of the lovely things is that I get to connect with people all over the world and coach and counsel them. So, these are the ways I’ve started to reach out. I was going to say, people are reaching out to me, and they see our expertise. They see our background. They see all the people who say good things about you, would you be willing to work with us and help us or help me?

That’s marvelous as well. That’s the way LinkedIn should work. It’s great. 

So, you mentioned social media as one of your areas of expertise, of course. Are social media methods different in different countries? We do it one way in the United States, then you do it in India. When you do it in Africa and when you do it in Asia, do the methods differ?

I discovered that I do not see different methods.

I do not have a caveat to that, which is a regret of mine. I can only reach people who speak English, that’s the most widely used business language on the planet. So, I get people from Africa, India, Asia, etc., everywhere but especially in South America. But they have to speak English.

Right? 

One of my great regrets is that that’s the only language I’m fluent in. So, my courses are only in English, and it’s a huge market, obviously, and I’ve been getting royalties from this for years from my three LinkedIn learning courses. But it’s restricted to people who only speak English.

Well, as you know, we have a 30+-year-old language translation agency and one suggestion would be to translate your social media posts into other languages, something we certainly do. And as you know, our listeners can certainly do the same thing to expand their global presence as well.

My parents were from Europe. My father was German, my mother was Belgian. She spoke six languages in Belgium, across the street from Holland and another street from France. So, she spoke six languages. But because they were Eurocentric when I went to school to study languages, I studied German and French, which are great.

And I now speak restaurant English, German, and restaurant French. I can order in a restaurant, but beyond that, I can’t do business.

Hindsight is our only perfect science. If I had to do it over again, I would study for the American market, Spanish, and for the international market, Mandarin. So, I don’t know either of those languages, but that’s what I recommend to clients, younger clients, and students of mine.  That’s what you want to focus on if you’re going into business. It can expand your reach, and it’s distressing to me that over a billion Chinese people cannot access my work because it’s not in Mandarin.

Well, we can always remedy that, but that’s a separate discussion.

Yes, a good idea.

From your knowledge, for example, when you do social media in India, do they modify the way the posts are written to have different appeals, or is it done in the American style?

It’s done in the American style, and I’m not concerned about the cultural differences in terms of language, because people will reach out to me because they need my help. And they will push through whatever cultural differences there might be in the language. This guy is a true expert at what he does. We need his help in our leadership area for a company or as an individual. 

I just got an email this morning from someone who said, “Could you give me a bid for your services? I live in India and I’m relocating to Ireland. And I need some and need some career advice.” This kind of thing happens all the time. 

 My best example of how global everything has become is a client I had a couple of years ago. He was Italian. He studied at the Thunderbird School as you did, and he was living in South Africa and looking for a job in Kuwait. It’s a lovely thing to be able to help people when they’re not so concerned about cultural differences. I believe I have certain credibility because I’m an American and that does have some cachet in the world that this guy could help us.

I’m thinking of the poor Indian who’s moving to Ireland. Depending on his accent, Indian accents can be very thick and hard to understand, and Irish accents, to me, are the hardest English accents to understand. So, you know, I’ve studied eight languages, so I feel bad for this poor guy. 

This guy and the Irish can misunderstand each other over a beer.

Right exactly

And they’ll figure it out. It’s business; they’ll figure it out.

Right, and they can always use hand gestures if needed, or body language. Yeah, that’s what’s wonderful.

Which is more important than anything else. That’s one of the downsides, frankly, of working virtually in the body. You can’t quite gauge the body language. 

When I taught it to upGrad in India, that was a bit of a problem, but the accents and the lighting were so bad on the Zoom calls I couldn’t see the students. The Administration didn’t realize how difficult the accent was for me to understand. Trying to listen through the electronics was a bit of a problem, nothing for me replaces face-to-face, but if I want clients all over the world or continue to have clients all over the world, it’s the best I could do. 

My company in Nigeria wants to fly me out. They’re not quite there yet, but they’re getting there.

When you teach the students in India, did you find any issues arising from cultural differences, different cultural understandings, or cultural issues that arose?

Yes, I did. But one of the problems with this organization was that I was not onboarded properly.

The feedback I got from the students was, “This was enormously valuable, what you taught us in the presentations you did. What we were here for was to learn what the subject of our master’s thesis should be.”

 They were all going for their MBAs, so there was a disconnect between what they expected and what I was delivering. What I was delivering, they told me, was of value. What they wanted was not what I was told that I was supposed to deliver, so that was a cultural issue where I never really interfaced with anyone at a high level in academia and that was a problem and that some of them were upset. Not at me but upset at the fact that this isn’t what they paid for. 

Of course,

The other thing about India was they’re kind of corporate. It’s stuck in the 50s compared to the US. It’s very much about the title. It’s very much about kissing up to the boss and moving up in the organization. That’s what defines you as a human being in the business world over there, and they had a lot of it. 

 They had communication problems in their respective companies or organizations where someone who was in a supervisory position over them would come in and change the rules or hire people that they didn’t know about. They were not as advanced in terms of communication. They were stuck with their supervisors, so they didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to offend because it could cost them the promotion that defined them, which is why they were getting the MBA, because that would mean they could now go to the CEO level.

So, it’s very much of a top-down management style.

When I talked to them about different leadership strategies, this was very radical for them. 

The leadership strategy I espouse is more of a humanistic approach where you don’t play if you’re the boss, you don’t play boss; you don’t have to; they know that. That you work as part of a team. This was a foreign concept to them. They just don’t. That’s the boss, that’s what the boss says goes, and I want to be the boss.

Do you think they would implement a different management style whenever they got to those higher positions?

No. I think it’s embedded in the culture. I think change If it ever came, would come very gradually and would take decades, and you know, as we see in the US, if you do good, you do well. You do well, you do good. That means empowering your people and communicating with them, and not lording it over them that you’re the boss. It means your revenue increases. 

They’re just not there, and I can’t break down. I could not break down that wall. The best I could do was offer them some alternatives. Maybe in the future, you can look at this. I’ll plant a seed when you are a CEO. Maybe you can loosen things up a little and listen to the people that work for you, who, in some cases, Steve Jobs said should be smarter than you are and very often are, and get your ego out of the way. They’re a long way from that, unfortunately.

So, if the lower-level Indians had an idea to present to their manager that maybe contradicted what the manager thought or the direction the manager thought they should go, would the lower-level Indians present it or just keep quiet?

They would keep quiet. I’ve written about this a lot. To me, a leader is a good leader. Effective leaders are gardeners who create a safe space and nurture their people, but for them, it’s not a safe space. They’re not going to stick their necks out because it will cost them the promotion they want, so it very much is toeing the line and being a good boy. Good girl.

Right, exactly yeah. Was there a gender issue that you could solve?

You know, just like you anticipated what I was going to say. It was, I would say, 98% men. Women just aren’t much of a part of the corporate culture. The few women that were in the force and I had about 120 students in the course of four days. I would say maybe 2% were women, and they worked in the nonprofit sector. They couldn’t seem to get into the corporate world because they were told that’s not what women do in India. And that bothered me, being a feminist, that bothered me a lot, but I can’t change the culture. All I can do is introduce some concepts and hope that they adapt to something in the future. 

One of the other Indian business structures is family businesses: the brothers, the sons, and the nephews tend to work in the family enterprise, whether conglomerates or enterprises. And if you’re the son of a sister, for example, if there’s a founder who has sons and daughters and you’re the son of the daughter, you can continue to work in the company, but you will not have the same position in the hierarchy. Did you find that to be true?

That’s the way it works. There are a myriad of reasons why they don’t leave. I mean, you don’t want to leave your homeland. If you’re looking to move up in the corporate world, and I’d recommend this to some of them, you need to leave India. Because it’s just, it’s too old-fashioned. It’s too structured like a brick. You cannot change anything, so if you want to make it, you have to go somewhere else. 

Yes, so learn the language of whatever country you’re moving to, and they’ll be more open. That’s why so many of them are looking at America. They’ll be more open to a woman in a position of power. But they’re frightened and they want to make it. So, their families are proud, which means working at a corporation in India.

There are many female doctors in India, especially medical doctors. So, I assume those were not the kinds of people in your class

No, these were people whom I wanted. I want my MBA so I can be a CEO.

Right, OK

That’s the stamp of approval that gave them that credibility that made the difference for them. What’s my thesis topic? I didn’t know I was supposed to give you one. I’m sorry. I thought I was supposed to teach you something.

Well, that disconnection. I don’t think it’s necessarily cultural, it’s just the way academia seems to work sometimes.

Unfortunately, yeah.

I consider that there are four types of enterprises: private, public, nonprofit, and academia. Academia is often on a different planet.

Yeah, as a friend of mine said, he worked in politics and American politics for years. He said there’s politics, and then there’s academic politics and another level down in the circle of hell, yeah.

Right. 

I forgot about politics. That’s the fifth one, I guess. very fascinating.

One of our previous guests mentioned Indian entrepreneurs, which you may be aware of. I’m not sure if you are, but I’ll ask anyway. Families prefer that their children go into existing businesses and do not become entrepreneurs, because if they fail, that can be very embarrassing to the family. And you found that to be correct also?

Yes, the hope for everyone in business is money and when I teach my courses, I say that it’s all about the money. That’s to get them interested. It’s not. It’s about contributing to the greater good, which I know is what you’re about, but the money gets them into Yes, I agree. As such, in Indian societies, they don’t want to be embarrassed by someone who starts a business and fails, which looks bad for them. For the family.

However, if there’s enough money in a tech start-up, for example, they’re willing to take that risk of providing the child who started the business or invested in the business makes big money. Then it’s OK, but

As a result, as a second job in a way. You made the money in a previous job, but now you want to invest.

Yes, yes, and technology is huge in India, right? Go for it if you think you can start a tech company and be as successful as some of these billionaires. We’ll give you that and then the family will be proud of you.

Right exactly

Uhm, tell me about this company in Nigeria that you’re part of and about Nigerian business, from what you’ve observed.

This was a perfect example of the power of social media. A gentleman who heads the company, Mr. Promise Zambara, reached out to me. A few years ago on LinkedIn, I had no idea who he was. He said, “I’m impressed by your background. I would like to talk to you.” This was even before he’d started the company. We had developed an online relationship, and I would give him advice. He respected my background and my accomplishments, and I was happy to help him. I’d like to contribute to other people. And then, when he formed Zambara he asked me to head up the advisory committee, which I was happy to do. 

We had a seminar a few weeks ago, and I gave a presentation about leadership. He asked me to do that, and there were quite a few people in attendance, and we just had a Zoom call yesterday. He and I had a consultation, and he said we were starting to get some business from the seminar, which was great, so it’s been a real joy to help them with their businesses and agribusiness. And there are some severe problems in Nigeria about that, and he’s looking to address them, again, not only to make money but for the greater good of the Nigerian people.

That’s wonderful. What else are you involved with besides just him as the CEO? Are you involved with others in the company? And have you interacted to understand their business practices and how they might operate differently than we would?

Yes, we’ve had some Zoom calls together. I’m about to get on their WhatsApp app and start to consult more broadly with some of the people that are running things. in the company, not just promise a great name.

Mr. Promise Zambara.

He is a wonderful guy and, with great positive energy, wants to do some real good. So, I will be getting more involved with the company and other seminars are upcoming. That promise will be fulfilled, and I’m sure I will participate, probably with. More presentations Yes, yeah, so I’m getting more involved with the company, which is nice.

What issues have you found so far? Management and leadership styles as well as operations and marketing may be affected by what they might do differently than we would in the United States.

It’s Africa. There’s a lot of corruption in the government there. There’s a lot there; bribery, for example. even more so than in other countries. Unfortunately, there’s a history of that.

So it’s creating allies in the government, in business, and in education. That’s my main thrust, in terms of advising them, is to build up their name. As a result, business, and government support, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are drawn to them. “We like what you’re doing. We found this article. We saw this when Mr. Promise Zambara was just being interviewed. I just posted it on LinkedIn yesterday. and we want to start doing business with you. We want to support you,” but they are fighting. It is very interesting to see how bureaucracy is not the most efficient. 

So that’s a real problem. They have to face the fact that they need to create allies in the government, and I will help with that.

So they need to create allies in government, but those allies might expect bribes or commissions or fees or whatever one wants to call them.

Yeah, just like in the US or anywhere else in the world. It’s more embedded in the culture, unfortunately, that’s how they’ve operated for many years. We’ll see when that happens what people in the government might expect in return, but the problems remain severe. Zambara offers some real alternatives here and some real solutions to help grow the company and grow its hybrid business sector.

What is he doing differently that other Nigerian companies are not doing?

We’re defining that. They have a better perspective, I think, than other companies; they’re more forward-looking than other companies. They’re young, they’re new. And they’re saying this is what our business can provide to deal with the problems by offering solutions to the problems that are besetting Nigeria in the agribusiness sector. 

So, I think it’s a fresh approach. It’s a new approach that the people who promise to surround themselves with are young and energetic, and they see a future for Nigeria. I’m enrolled, and they’re starting to enroll other people on the ground in Nigeria and Africa who believe in what they’re doing. I believe that this is the future and that this company will be one of the leaders.

It’s marvelous. One of the major obstacles in Nigeria, as well as throughout most of Africa, is infrastructure. You’re getting the farm products from some rural villages to, let’s say, the cities and the major cities in Nigeria. Lagos is on the coast and upcountry, of course, it’s very rural. Abuja, the capital, is sort of in the middle of the country. But you know the roads, the railroads, the trucks, the potholes in the roads. These are all obstacles. And refrigeration. These are all obstacles to moving any kind of agricultural product. So, what are they doing to combat those or to overcome those kinds of issues?

Or they’re well aware of having to live through it all the time, so that’s where the alliance has come in. With business, with NGOs, with other businesses of academia, because if the infrastructure isn’t there and it doesn’t improve, there’s not much they can do. And I trust them. 

They are aware of this. They live there; they know what’s wrong or what’s missing, and they are addressing that. It will be a slow build, but I believe in their vision and I’m happy to do everything I can again. My main focus is to draw attention to them so that other people in the sector, probably only in Africa, will say we should do business with these people. We have the same vision, so if we align with each other, we can improve things together. So, we’re working on that.

Have you gotten involved at all in products to produce, price, or market? 

No, not my area. I’m advising them. I don’t have to be on the ground. Yeah, that’s me. I know they’ve got that covered. I’m well aware of what needs to be done. I have a contextual perspective, let’s say, looking at it from a broader picture, and I think that’s part of the reason they brought me on was that I’m not from Africa, but I can see more of a global initiative, more of a global perspective and help with that. But in the day-to-day, agribusiness is not my area of expertise. Leadership is advising leaders.

What is the management structure of that company? Is it similar to India’s or is it much more open and progressive?

It’s because it’s new, and I think this is something new. Thank you. I’m going to stress to them that they don’t get too structured or too corporate. Right now, it’s about eight people, I believe, and they’re adding all the time.

So, it’s small.

So, it’s time. It’s very small. If they start getting bureaucratic, that will slow things down. Look at India as an example. They’re young, lean, and very energetic, and they want good things for their country. And this is how they’re addressing them. I promise, I will keep them on track. Don’t get too big and don’t get too corporate or bureaucratic: Stay lean, stay hungry, and let’s bring in the business.

Well, and let’s also not become super top-down, where you don’t welcome the input of the lower managers and the lower-level executives.

Yes, that’s the humanistic approach I take, and that’s why I was glad when they did the seminar. They had me speak about leadership and how to do this and how to nurture your people. You’re nurturing the land. Nurture your people as well, and slowly bring on new people.

Right.

And listen to them. You know, so often you work in a company and the boss says, “my door is always open,” but you walk in with a great idea, and you walk out like a flat tire because they don’t want to hear what you have to say. “I’m the boss. I know”, just like I’ve known people. I had a colleague of mine who said, “Yeah. Leadership, yeah, leadership means you do what I say. That’s very 19th century OK. Does it work as effectively as actually listening to that? So, I will constantly be on them, so they don’t fall into that rabbit hole where I am now the President. I am the CEO. I’m making the big bucks and you will do what I say. That is corporate suicide.

Well, I don’t know if it’s suicide. A lot of companies that are extremely wealthy and effective have a model, and it’s not the best approach in terms of fostering all the ideas.

Yeah, and I think that Nigeria needs to not do that. 

Yes, I think great companies have been very successful with that, but if you have to deal with all the problems you have to deal with in Nigeria with the infrastructure and the politics and so on, you need to stay lean and not be corporate and be open to ideas because the problems are so horrific that you need every fresh idea you can get and put those into practice to change things.  They have to change the culture of the company. which takes years and decades, but I’m sure they’re going to help do that.

It’s incredibly encouraging.

Yes, yes, yeah.

Are there women in the company?

A few. 

More than just secretaries?

Yes, a couple. Most of the people that attended the seminar were men. America is a little ahead and women are more involved at senior levels. So, the rest of the world is a bit backward in terms of giving women an equal say, right? Uhm, that is something. Frankly, I’ve put it on the back burner for now. I don’t want to throw too much at them. They have too many new ideas, but eventually, I will push that to them and they’re getting this. If and when they watch the podcast, they’ll know what’s coming. It’s going to recommend more women. But what’s been shown is that the more women you have on boards, the more profitable the company is. So, that’s something in the future that they need to look at, and I’m going to encourage them to do that, and they can be the leader. One of the leaders in Nigeria or Africa, or both, encourages women to not only participate but to lead as well.

As you may have read, I used to live in Southern Africa and in the company I worked for, which was run by a Brit, I was shocked that they called… This was the days before the Internet, so they had Joseph, who was a scooter boy, and Margaret, who was a tea girl. A scooter boy was someone who delivered messages and papers from one office in town to another office in town and so forth. And I said, “Joseph is not a boy. He’s probably 20-something or 30-something. He’s a messenger. So, let’s call him what he is, and Margaret is 40-something. She’s not a girl, so let’s call her a tea lady and give her some dignity. Within a few weeks, everyone had started doing that. 

I don’t know if it lasted beyond my tenure there, but I was quite surprised. First, I was surprised that that’s the way it was when I came in. And you know what? I’m happy people were able to see that there are other ways of looking at situations.

As always, money is the hook. And that’s how it will get you to bring more women on so that you will make more money. History has shown that the more women you have in leadership roles, the better you do.

So, I’ll take politics completely out of the equation. More women, more money, more interest in making money. Yes, we’re business-savvy. This is what you do. OK, so you need to push past whatever sexism is limiting you because there’s more money at the end. If that’s the hook, they will get past that and they’ll see, oh, this works, plus we have a different sort of energy here. That’s why they were smart enough to bring, you know, a white American in there. A different sort of energy? Well, let’s expand that some more. And bring in more women. 

People talk a lot about diversity. Diversity is not just people of different races or people of different genders to me. That’s necessary and required as far as I’m concerned, in the 21st century. But I’m into diversity, to point out for example, if you and I have a company and we have people from different cultures, different races, and so on, but they’re all engineers, we’re going to get an engineering perspective. So, you start with all the different kinds of people, but then you have an engineer, an operations person, a finance person, and an artist so that you have people in your company and people running the company, they come from different perspectives. They see things differently.

Right. 

And a lot of companies have that problem where there’s the same sort of thing. In Boeing for example, it’s either engineers or accountants. That’s it, that’s the way they work. Real diversity 2.0 is having a myriad of perspectives that I’d never thought of before. I’ve never seen that before. That’s what you want and if you’re running the place, you need to be open enough to say that never occurred to me. That’s a great idea. Let’s do that now. I’m still the boss, but I don’t have all the answers. It’s collaborative, and that’s how our work is done collaboratively, and that’s how I’m coaching people. That is how I am coaching the people who are running Zambara.

Yes, that’s wonderful collaboration, without having a strong ego, without needing recognition yourself, and without promoting your ego.

Yeah, and my wife is a Freudian analyst, and I’ve learned a great deal from her and the way corporations work. They’re modeled after how they modeled their families. 

If you grew up in a family and it was a traditional family, and you had the father and the mother and the children, the father, and the mother, if you then take that 20 years later in a corporate environment, the CEO is either Mommy or Daddy. And the children are all the workers who were trying to curry favor with the CEO. 

And if all you know in terms of management skills or leadership skills are, I’m going to govern as my daddy did. I’m the boss. You do what I say. You have that old-fashioned model, yes, but if you get rid of that, I’m going to take the model and say OK, I’m in charge and I have to make decisions and I have a vision, but I’m going to work collaboratively. It’s not top-down. Yes, I ultimately will make the decisions, but I’m going to get input from everyone in the organization because they know things I don’t. They say things I don’t. 

But it’s fascinating when you look at how corporations are modeled after families, and you have, as a colleague of mine – a therapist – said, “It’s just kids on a playground in suits.” How come my office is bigger? How come his office is bigger than mine? How come I don’t have a computer as big as he did? Go to your room and chill. OK, let’s take a timeout and they’ll behave the same way. 

That’s why some of the most effective office managers in recent history have been women who’ve raised children. Because if you’ve raised children, you can manage the children in suits in the organization who come up with this kind of stuff. It’s like I’ve done this. They’re 5-year-olds, and if you stop treating people like that and you stop playing Mommy or Daddy, it’s much more effective and more profitable. Again, back to the money. You’ll make more money that way. Oh OK, now I’m paying attention. I draw on the whiteboard a big dollar sign at the beginning of my courses and say this is all the courses are about. I got their attention. That’s the first step.

That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we close?

It’s been a pleasure, and I now know better. I have spoken with you about what you do. And since I work globally, you are now a resource for me for my clients. Until we get to the point where we have an instantaneous translation in every language, that’s a dream. I look forward to the day when I can converse with anyone in any language. But until that time, what you’re doing is an enormous service of value to people, and I will make a call on you.

Thank you. And by the way, there are many apps that do instant translation and interpreting, but those are primarily for travel or lower-level daily activities, not for business, not for technical subjects, or politics or something high level. Of course, if you make the mistake of using those apps for purposes for which they were not intended, you will get very comical and sometimes very embarrassing results.

Yes, I know.

As I showed in the very beginning with the lovely sign in China that said, “Dying right here is strictly prohibited.” I’m sure that was directly translated from something. Thank you. So,  this has been a wonderful session with Dr. Chaz Austin. I hope you will all join us next time for another edition of Global Gurus and stories of international business. Thank you.

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