The premier (Article I -in this series) left off with an example from my Russia experiences and observations of how not educating yourself in history, cultures and manners could and will get you expelled from a country! The two salesmen in the first story were real senior level people, oblivious of any international business education and responsibility for their failure. Their company hopefully learned from the Russian expulsion and quickly instituted a change that would better prepare their management and employees for international business. Remember one simple thing; "if it were easy...everyone would be doing it right!". You can not successfully perform International Business (IB) without cultural preparation, readiness education and practice...before...you go! All of the stories presented in the six part series come from my direct observations and experiences while working on multi-company programs or significant business negotiations in each country.
Our next example comes from South Africa where a multi-company program was responsible for surveying land to build an operations center, establish support services and assure security measures. So what went wrong in this seemingly simple task? Simply --untrained, un-managed youth! More specifically, young employees sent away for possibly the first time in their lives, to a foreign country, without any senior management, or corporate training, nor cultural education or strict observances corporate policies. The issue -was not only intoxicated in public- but causing a car accident while driving in the same condition which sent one of the local people to a hospital with a serious injury!
This accident should have never happened. Police were called and once again certain US workers were expelled from a country, heavy fines, restitution and allowances were paid upfront and now qualified replacements had to be made to continue the project. The cost was over $600,000 to fix! The three expelled employees action had a continuing effect on the firm and the mature business responsibilities, between legal and binding parties, than the young technicians fully appreciated. If the incident would have caused a death or permanent handicap, the entire company would have been expelled after massive sums of money and restitution deemed appropriate was paid and jointly closed. If you think about it, for smaller companies this would have immediately shut down the firm or caused a bankruptcy. The eventual newspaper article reference worldwide alone would have caused priceless long term damage.
So, as you will come to learn over the final next 4 installments, International Business (IB) is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly nor without the right education and assurances in place, and in practice, to make all your experiences a growing and rewarding calling. It is always worth it to do things right!