News & Commentary

Global Business Speaks English

hbrHarvard University’s Tsedai Neeley, assistant professor in Organizational Behavior, says multinational companies are making English their first language – Airbus, Daimler-Chrysler, Fast Retailing, Nokia, Renault, Samsung, SAP, Technicolor, and Microsoft in Beijing, to name a few – in order to improve communication and performance across far-flung global operations.

Neely says that adopting a global language policy isn't easy - and employees aren't always happy about the new demands on their performance. Like it or not, however, English is the new lingua franca. To survive and thrive in a tough global economy, corporate employees need a common language. 

Neely discusses an adoption framework she’s developed to help international companies create “English-only” policies.

Read the Harvard Business Review article...

English ... the Official Language of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference

globeSpeaking the local language always helps, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg discovered when attempting Mandarin at a business conference in Beijing.

However, senior delegates at the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference in Beijing November 2014 didn't worry about perfecting their Chinese. English was the official language of attendees from 21 Pacific Rim member countries. 

English is now the shared language of popular culture and global business. By 2020, two billion people will speak English as a second language — including members of ASEAN, a regional grouping of Southeast Asian nations.

Andres Martin explains the situation for Time Magazine.

What’s Your Language Strategy?

Global teams cant collaborate if they cant communicate. Leaders cant manage if they cant understand what employees in other countries are telling them.

Language strategy is vital for global talent management. Companies can cultivate language skills by incorporating English training into their talent-development programs. Giving employees a shared language enables everyone in the organization to grow and prosper — and, makes it easier to develop junior talent instead of relying on external lateral hires

Robert Steven Kaplan, author of What to Ask the Person in the Mirror: Critical Questions for Becoming a More Effective Leader and Reaching Your Potential, explains.

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