Globalization has become the watchword in business as organizations, supply chains, data, and transactions cross borders, cultures, time-zones, and legal and financial frameworks. The term itself connotes an interconnected world economy. The idea is not a new one, but the degree of connectedness across space and time is likely the highest it’s ever been.
The counter-trend to globalization
That said, counter-trends have emerged. For years, Silicon Valley pundits, usually cheerleaders for globalization, talked about local as part of the social, local, mobile triumvirate. Many countries are returning to rhetoric of tariffs and are pushing back on global supply chains. Large companies even have commercials in which they bemoan outsourcing and hail the use of domestic employees. As one can see, all trends create opposition.
How we view globalization
At TimeXtender, we see things through the lens of optimism. As a global company, founded in Denmark and with very Danish sensibilities, we embrace our US and Asian employees with the same vigor and love that we do employees in Denmark. I’m a member of the Executive Committee and an American who was born to immigrants from India. In my own person, I represent elements of globalization. And in my role at TimeXtender, even more so.
We see the elements of globalization not as homogenization but a bit like tiles on a roof, imbricated in delicate and powerful synergy. We see culture as a powerful force for learning rather than as a series of differences to overcome. We try to learn from each other, to rejoice in the different approaches to the market, and to create a synthesis.
This element of our culture is key to our success. As we grow (and we are growing rapidly, having doubled in the last 10 months), we work hard to inculcate in all new employees the value of understanding the cultural differences and seeing them as a strength. When we need a particular approach to a large customer in Europe, we rely on our team with the relevant and textual experience to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with us. Similarly, we were getting a lot of inbound interest from the South Asia and Middle East region, so we set up hubs in Mumbai and Dubai in order to respect the needs of customers and to be local in execution but with a global flair. When we have a quarry in Asia, we go to these hubs because we understand that the situation is about delivering results to our partners and customers. We believe very strongly in putting the right person in the right job; this statement is not just about skills but about affinity, cultural knowledge, and the creation of a friction-free business model.
Seeing differences as strengths
People too often refer to cultural differences as impediments or blockers. With the bulk of our employees in Denmark and the US, we certainly could have challenges if we didn’t think about this differently. The work culture, from communication to timing to attitude, is different in these two countries. When I ask an employee how he or she is and I hear the word “okay,” I get worried. In the US, we are used to hyperbole, so people usually say “great.” In Denmark, the answer is much more matter of fact and honest: “okay” means “okay,” not “bad.” In Denmark, people don’t typically work the long days people do in the US. And guess what? They are no less productive, since they are more efficient and spend less time in the artifice of work that is so common in the US. I see these differences as strengths.
Interestingly, the TimeXtender employees in Denmark are multilingual. Most of the employees in the US are monoglots with the exception of the immigrants, many of whom speak three or four languages fluently. Despite the resurgent strength of nativism, how could any business person not see this efflorescence and diversity of skill as a plus? We do, and we will continue to.
Globalization is complex. And there are arguments on all sides of the issue. At TimeXtender, we embrace it deeply and think of it as a fundamental part of our credo.