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Achieve Success Through Diversity: Watch

Social awareness is an ability to empathise and view the world as others do, and anticipate how people experience some situations differently.
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Achieve Success Through Diversity, with Hector Ruiz, CEO, Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions The importance of globalization in any business has been probably underlying and put under a magnifying glass over the last 20, 30 years or so quite a bit. And it’s not surprising because, you know, when you think about it, the U.S. is only five percent of the world’s population or less. The market in the U.S. is somewhat saturated in many respects, and the things that – you know, there are only so many cars you can sell in the U.S. So it’s become critical to every American company to be aware of the fact that the key to future growth is being to be a successful multinational, a global company.
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Principles for International Success And so because of that, what we’re finding out – and we have found out now for several decades is how critical it is for all corporations to have an awareness and an understanding of what is it that consumers and customers around the world think, what they like, their cultural habits, how they behave. And to be able to do that, companies need to have a diverse workforce. It would be very difficult to really get an understanding of how your product is going to appeal to someone in India, for example, if there is very little understanding of what that market is, what kind of things people do and like. Build a workforce that includes people with different perspectives.
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The importance of having a diverse workforce becomes really critical for the success of any enterprise. And when people use the word diversity, often it tends to focus on people of color and right next to that they focus on gender. But it really is, to me, it’s a very broad definition of diversity is that just having people that think differently. It just so happens that if you’re black or brown you may think differently than if you’re white. So to me it goes beyond just color and race or gender because of the fact that because of the way people grow up – their cultures, their religion, their surroundings, their family – they think differently.
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And it’s really very, very important to understand that. A good example of that – I’m gonna use an anecdote – is that I was running a communication business for Motorola when I was part of their management team. And we had hired an advertising company to advertise our products. The particular product we were advertising was a pager. Many of you listening probably have no idea what a pager is because the world has changed. But for those of you who still might occasionally visit a hospital, you’ll see doctors still wearing around these little black devices which are called pagers. But they used to be actually a consumer product.
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People - teenagers were using it a lot and what it allowed you to do is you page somebody. You get a page and you see a message. You read it. There was no two-way communication, but you got a message. It could be your wife is paging you just to tell you that she loves you or something like that. So we put a campaign to try to penetrate the market in China. This was back in the late 80s, early 90s. And the campaign was, is a young family rushing to the hospital because the wife is about to deliver a baby.
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And how happy he was that he had a pager that had allowed him to be there because he got paged when his wife went into the delivery process. So we felt pretty proud that we had come up with this very nice advertisement and commercial, only to find out that the Chinese people were offended by it. The reason they were offended by it because in China they have the one-child policy and so it’s really hard for a family to have children. If you have one, that’s it and all that. So there was a resentment and a pushback because we had not included a diverse thought into the creation of this advertising campaign.
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Had we included people that were locally from China, they would have told us, you don’t do that. You know, this is not gonna work. And it really taught me a hard lesson because it’s something I should have known better, especially me who had came from another country and another background that I should have been more sensitive to that. So it is really critical, and that’s just a small example. It applies to so many other things – how you speak to someone, the colors you use, the phrases, how you refer to them. All of that is incredibly important. And that intense need to have diversity in the workplace is incredibly important for the success of the business.

At its core, social awareness is an ability to empathise—to view the world as others do, and anticipate how certain situations may be experienced differently by different people, based on the sum of their experiences.

Previous steps offered strategies for tuning into differences related to things like personality and style. In these steps, Advanced Social Awareness, we go a level deeper, and examine demographic differences like ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, etc., what’s sometimes referred to, in sum, as “diversity.”

Hector Ruiz rose out of poverty to lead a Fortune 500 company. As a person who grew up in another country with a different background, he is acutely aware of the importance of diversity in the workplace. In this lesson, Ruiz details some diversity-based business principles for international success.

In this step, Ruiz explains a mistake he made while running a communications business for Motorola. In order to promote a certain consumer product in China, Ruiz and his team put together an advertising campaign they were proud of, only to find out that the Chinese people were offended by it. “It really taught me a hard lesson,” Ruiz says, “because it’s something I should have known better, especially [as someone who] came from another country and another background.”

Principles for International Success

  • An awareness of what customers and consumers think
  • An awareness of what customers and consumers like
  • An awareness of customers’ and consumers’ culture and behaviour

Build a workforce that includes people with different perspectives.

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