A wholly new kind of training

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A wholly new kind of training

Today, becoming a “total communication package,” also called TCP, is not an option but a necessity.

The use of vocabulary, the articulation of speech, the design of strategy, body movement, the use of the eyes and hands to persuade an audience - these are skills possessed by one who has become a TCP.

The 21st Century’s business opportunities and partnerships are formed in an increasingly complex and smaller world. In this millennium, understanding the mindset, lexicon and mannerisms of international businesspeople and investors plays an equally important role as statistics, profit margins and financial ratios of global business.

We are witnessing a grand shift of economic and technological power from West to East. Consequently, Asia’s business entrepreneurs, particularly Korea’s, have assumed more aggressive and adventurous roles as global business rainmakers, interlocutors and trendsetters.

Nonetheless, with considerable differences in business cultures between the East and West, Korean businesses aspiring to expand internationally continue to face challenges. To overcome them, today’s success-oriented Korean entrepreneurs must have the ability to execute three managerial-leadership functions: To effectively lead knowledge workers, to innovatively market and sell using various technological platforms and to dynamically communicate in a multi-cultural setting.

Alas, there exists a training and development dilemma in Korea. The importance of training is understood but not the administrative boldness and budgetary sacrifices it takes to effectively design and execute world-class international training programs. There are obvious reasons for this dilemma, which include financial constraints, language differences, a lack of qualified trainers and highly vertical local bureaucracies. The not so obvious reasons are in the intricacies of Korean culture - that sense of ppali-ppali urgency coupled with the complex dynamics of balancing kibun (feelings) and nunchi (emotional intelligence).

The 21st Century needs leadership styles that stress empowerment, mentorship, coaching, self-realization, serving, team-building, creativity and innovation. This symphony of leadership styles is what it takes to lead the knowledge workers of today who want more than a salary and an office cubicle. Today’s workers will question, create, and - yes! - sometimes destroy if not led well thanks to the power of technology. In this century, one must be an expert in each of the leadership styles, but one must also know how and when to switch from style to style to lead knowledge workers in a multi-cultural and globalized setting.

Which brings me to the Social Power-Integrity Nexus, or SPIN. SPIN is the mastery of cross-occupational and cross-cultural communication skills that adds clarity, transparency and accountability to our global business transactions. It is multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural. Being an expert TCP is a prerequisite to becoming a SPIN Master.

In principle, SPIN is based on our greatest human value: Social Power, the human face of power, that gut feeling and judgment we have through acquired intuition, experience and wisdom that have passed the test of time. SPIN is the ability to think things through and act correctly and consistently in the office, at home and abroad. SPIN, in my view, provides the 21st Century leader with that keen sense of timing and ability to utilize the appropriate leadership style at the right time, allowing the leader to maximize opportunities, bolster trust and inspire creativity.

Koreans should commit to a mindset that encompasses passion, determination, will, innovation, flexibility and ability. Sounds familiar? It should: These leadership traits were the very essence of what it took for Korea’s past leaders to build this great nation.

They call for a type of leadership and social capital that can optimize on the potential benefits of what I call the “3-ET” - Energy, Environment, Economy and Technology.

Korea needs a mindset that enables its leaders to effectively select, balance and mix leadership styles according to the challenges of today’s hyper-competitive global business environment. The sound of quality human resource development in Korea will be heard around the world. The sound of ineffective training echoes as a very loud, one-handed clap.

*Joseph Cabuay is an associate professor for international business and global affairs at Hanyang University in Seoul.
By Joseph Cabuay
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