This past Monday, my department was blind sided by a meeting scheduled for us by our illustrious Sr. VP of Global Support, to train us on how to work with our Indian support engineers. Lucky us. Cultural Diversity Training for the whole of the business day on Monday.
Mind you, we have been working with the Indian group for about 4 years now, and have moved past most of the large hurdles that come with working across such different cultures as American and Indian. So why is it we need this training now? Shouldn’t we have received this training 4 years ago when we were just beginning to work with them??
Well, regardless, this training wouldn’t have even helped back then. The primary issue we all had with this “class” was that the “instructor” seemed to be pushing the idea that WE had to bend over backwards for our Indian crew so as to not offend them and make them feel wanted. Christ, when did we go back to 1969 San Francisco??? And why weren’t there free drugs passed around in this meeting? They sure would have helped…
The training, after the initial 3 hours suddenly began to feel like a Nazi propaganda machine trained on reprogramming our “Aggressive and Cold” American methods to tip-toe around the Indian crew. No give and take here. No no no, just us being presented with a “MUST CHANGE YOUR WAYS” message.
Fuck that. I have a fairly decent world view, and often times a mind more open than is healthy, but I stand firm in that I will not begin to make MAJOR reversals of MY culture to cater to our Indian crew. This is business people! Asking about family and religious holidays is simply inappropriate in professional business communications. And I ain’t wavering on that. If the Indian crew sees me as “cold” and “unapproachable”, so be it. I’m sure people HERE in America see me that way too. I care. I get my job done, and damnit I do it well.
We had a number of other issues that just smacked of one-sidedness in the training. But I won’t bore you all with the laundry list. I did, however, find it amusing disturbing that the trainer (a consultant by all intents) DID NOT HAVE HER OWN LAPTOP TO USE FOR THE PRESENTATION! It seems to me that if I didn’t have the tools to do MY job, I’d be fired. How the hell can she be a consultant and give PowerPoint presentations without a laptop?!?!? We actually had to set one up for her and TEACH her how to use it… and she’s been doing this for 15 years!
I actually found I have a worse attitude now than prior to this “Diversity Training”. More harm was done by this, in creating a larger gap between our two groups, than had ever existed previously (including the point when they had come on board 4 years ago and I lost my job to them…). Not to mention, a good portion of the material could be seen as just offensive to any culture.
Do yourself a favour; if you hear that Cultural Diversity Training will be presented at YOUR place of work, do all you can to contract the plague or chicken pox or leprosy to get out of it. Trust me it will be worth your while to do so.