Friday, 22 February 2013

Dysfunctional Culture

Name and Shame, a UK tabloid tactic, is now being used by the UK government. The dark side of culture - creating mob rule. The UK plans to name companies that avoid tax. But isn't it counterintuitive for a healthy nation to harm its citizens.

Columbus, Named and Shamed Around the World!
I often hear the idea that it's the system and that's not about me. I've created more than one system and I work in a leadership field where I discuss how to create a healthy work and national environment.

My advice to the British government is to look at the outcome in its culture of a shame-based system. Controlling people through shame damages them. The businesses the British government want to shame probably need a combination of hard-business skills tailored to a small-business environment and personal leadership skills designed to help them decision-make in a way that maximizes their ROI.

Systems are meant to be open and change and grow. Closed systems decay. If you want to create a great system then you need to understand all the elements and then design an elegant structure. The purpose of a system is to support the people.

You can't make people proud of enforcing rules when the outcome is damaging. There are very large lessons from history about this and people who make history should be wary of making these mistakes.

Making the system support people is central to the debate on immigration. The people who face deportation suffer under a system that doesn't represent people, but has a life of its own. The Australian government should let a Scottish couple who built their lives in Australia stay. They want to, and isn't that important? It seems ridiculous to apply statistical analysis tools to create the stats.

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

#globalhub lite: The Pulps

How do you judge a great book? By the binding! Hemingway's expat days in Paris found him in a resale market for French and English books. The French bookseller found it difficult to judge the quality of books in English because the sign of a good book in France is binding, but all the books in English were bound and poorly.

Pulp magazines started in the late 1800s and were targeted at literate lower-class readers. The name came from the type of paper used and the style of story.

One of the great ways to get to know another culture is to read comic books. Translations of comic books into other languages can be an easy way for you to familiarize yourself with the culture you are living in.

There are always stalls in markets that resell books. If you have bare bookshelves when you arrive in another country, you can always head to the local market and pick up some cheap fiction to stock your shelves and read on those nights when you have nothing to do.

This week's #globalhub lite is about pulp fiction and the different comic/dime magazines and novels that make up the genre.

Q1: Which country has the best pulp fiction? #globalhub

Q2: Do you read comics in another language? #globalhub

Q3: Do you have a favorite pulp hero? Old and new. #globalhub

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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Cookalong: Cock-a-Leekie Udon

RSVP for this event
Japanese food is to our generation what Italian food was to our parents. It is now so popular that you can order Japanese ingredients in supermarkets. 

My husband took me out for my first Japanese meal in New York. My favorite hand roll is spicy tuna, but I feel the call of Udon and often order it when we order for delivery.

There are similarities between Japanese and British cuisine. They are both island and have fish diets, but more interestingly the Celts have used seaweed as a part of their diet too.

How Do I RSVP for the Cookalong?

You can see, hear and chat with me while we cook together using Liveplate Video Chat. To get access to the video chat you need to RSVP by creating a liveplate.com account (you can use your Facebook account) and clicking on the RSVP (this event) button. Once you have RSVP'd you will see a Join the Event icon. On the day, use the icon to join the Liveplate Video Chat.

Cock A' Leekie Udon Recipe

The name of this dish is a nod to my heritage. A traditional Cock A' Leekie doesn't have noodles, is made with a whole chicken, and is flavored with traditional spices and prunes.

The star of the dish here is the crab. I like it because it is a meaty fish, very flavorful, and is something you don't have everyday.

The recipe and preparation is part of the video chat, but here is the recipe if you want to try it yourself.

Ingredients Preparation
1 teaspoon of Five Spice (chinese spices) 1. Pour olive oil in to the pan and heat.
Sprinkle of dried seaweed (to garnish) 2. Saute the shallot, leeks, prawns and Chinese Five Spice together.
1  dessert spoon of olive oil 3. Add the chicken stock.
1/2 pound of shelled prawns 4. Add the udon.
2 shallots (halved) 5. Bring to the boil and simmer until the udon is warm.
1 small tub of white crab meat 6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with the dried seaweed.
1 packet of udon (large Japanese noodles)
1 cup of chicken stock
1 small leek (chopped into 2-inch strips)
Family, places and...
By Sharon Lorimer

Check out the recipes by clicking on the book link above or visit the liveplate site.

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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

UK Stocking Up on Garlic and Stakes!

When you live in another country you can become the target of racism. It can be personal, or it can come from a government.

An expat twilight zone
It is important that you don't dismiss the threat you are under. Psychological warfare is dangerous and it can create a climate of hate that leads to racist attacks like the attack on Romanians that happened after the UK leaked a negative ad campaign designed to discourage Romanians from living there.

Where Can I Get Help?

When you are abroad and a government targets you or your country, it is important to ensure your personal safety. Contact your embassy for information about what you should do and whether the country is still safe for you.

If you are in a war zone, you may need to leave, but you might be in a country that's experiencing development and you may need some protection. If you are a high-profile citizen, or in an high-profile job, then you should contact your company/government and ask them to organize a bodyguard.

If you were on the ground in Afghanistan people would believe that you felt threatened, but it might be more difficult to get your company's HR department to understand and believe you. You need to use a more military mindset under these circumstances. Don't be too naive to believe that a government wouldn't target a country and don't be too shocked to respond to aggressive citizens who want to hurt you and your family.

Establish Regular Contact with Your Relatives

Your network at home is important at this point. Call them and tell them what is happening to you. You should also make sure that they can contact you when they need to. A news report of an attack will probably upset them and you should be prepared to let them know that you are OK.

How Do I Handle Work?

It may also become difficult for you to discuss the attacks at work. If your manager is from the country that you are working in, he or she might be unsympathetic to the threats you feel and may respond aggressively to criticism of their nation and your unrealistic expectations of inclusion.

HR should be the place that your concerns are heard and you should approach them for help. Before you meet with HR document the problem and work on framing the information in a way that shows your commitment to your assignment and lets them understand that you need support.

Before you bring up the situation at work, consider the culture in your company. Some companies don't handle requests for help well, they make judgments on you based on the circumstances and can reason that although you aren't creating these problems that it only happened because you were there.

If you are caught in the crossfire, why not spend some time comparing the British vs' Romanian dark sense of humor. 

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

#globalhub Feb: The Great and the Good of Leadership

Leadership is a term that makes us think about powerful people, but people who go on international assignments know it's part of their day-to-day lives and how good you are at it is a predictor of your success. 

When you move your family abroad it takes leadership to create a new life, manage the move and  transition into another culture. At work there are new challenges to understand and requirements on you to create opportunities for growth. Changes in your way of life challenges your identity and makes you reflect on the person you are and the way of life you have.

World leaders can set the tone of countries and the beliefs of a leader can make a huge difference in your life. Countries that welcome immigration and global talent open up trade and innovation between nations, countries that close borders and scapegoat people from certain countries damage the relationship between nations and put up barriers to growth in their local economies.

Join the #globalhub chat today at 4pm EST @globalhub1.

Q1: What is your favorite leadership success story? #globalhub

Q2: Which leaders have more impact on your day-to-day life, the political leaders in your home or host country? #globalhub

Q3: Local Heroes. Describe the character traits that are admired in your local community. #globalhub

Q4: What cautionary tale do you have about leadership? #globalhub

Q5: Are there opportunities for cross-border leadership in your company? #globalhub

Q6: How do global leaders use HR in your company? #globalhub

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