English, Please

“English at this table, please,” was a comment that I recalled while attending this early morning meeting consisting of executives and major stockholders.

During this meeting, I had an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter sitting, facing directly me on the other side of the center of the conference table. Before the meeting started, I was having a brief conversation with the ASL interpreter using ASL, with no voice.

With both my hearing aid and cochlear implant turned on, I could sense that overlapping verbal conversations around the table had quickly ceased, while my peripheral vision inputs suggested some of the heads have turned to watch me.

Quickly scanning the table to my right and left confirmed that all eyes were on me. I knew instantly that everyone was starting to use their imagination in figuring out what was conveyed between the interpreter and me.

For example, the guy sitting across me, on the right, averted his eyes away while quickly attempting to fix the stubborn strands of hair standing up on his crown. Apparently he must have thought that both the interpreter and I were discussing this, thus attempting to correct this.

Simultaneously, the woman sitting next to me, slightly averted eyes in a different direction while making feeble attempts to cover the roots of her mane with her slender fingers as an attempt to conceal the discoloration, which indicated a poor dye job.

On one side of my peripheral vision, another guy sitting across from me to the left, quickly readjusted his jacket, which appeared to be small for his body frame.

Subtle behaviors around the table quickly became apparent that everyone was starting to use their imagination and feel conscious that I may be discussing their faults with the interpreter, and were starting to appear annoyed.

Upon quick assessment, an immediate rescue was necessary. That was when I started to use my voice and explained what I was discussing with the interpreter, which was my background.

Even my ASL has its own unique accent since “Olde ASL” was my first language at 6-months old, taught by my CODA (Children of Deaf Adult) mother with deaf parents, both whom attended the deaf school in another state around the beginning of 1900. Also, my sign language included some SEE (Signing Exact English), followed by modern ASL.

Oh. Everyone settled and returned to their normal selves around the table…

Everyone became assured that the conversation between me and the interpreter did not include their individual characteristics. Of course, had we done so, that would be unprofessional of both the interpreter and I, and this would go against the interpreter’s code of ethics. Also, this would go against my stellar reputation.

I noticed that everyone has relaxed, and shifted their thoughts to other things. Since then, I noticed that everyone had opened up to me, become warm towards me and began to trust me.

During another meeting a short while back, the official of that meeting verbally stated, while clearly enunciating the words “English at my table, please.” Everyone laughed when I found myself and the interpreter were the last ones conversing around the table and everyone was watching us. At first, I didn’t think this applied to me since my mode of communication was sign language. Quickly, I was astounded with this high-ranking official, and others around me respected ASL as established lexicon. It seemed like yesterday when ASL was yet acknowledged as a foreign language.

Upon adjournment of that meeting, during our hallway discussions, other professionals brought up a point, that everyone has imaginations which will be used to a certain length, in order to fill in the gaps and satisfy the unknown. Also since then, I’ve learned that I needed to include others within my conversations and allow them the opportunity to participate.

As mentioned within Col. Garrick Mallery’s address in 1881, as published in Science magazine, the richness of the information conveyed, through spoken word, or gestured via sign language has significant value between the conveyer and recipient. This referenced to the sign language among the American Indians.

This address was published within Science magazine in 1881 by Col. Garrick Mallery, who was Chairman of the Anthropology subsection of the A. A. A. S, during the Opening of the Anthropology Subsection within that year.

In summary, in order to have my input highly regarded among professional peers within professional organizations at this date, spoken English has been the most successful language for me to communicate with. Of course, any other language is excellent for establishing specific bonds within individual level while networking.

References:
ADDRESS OF COL. GARRICK MALLERY, U. S. ARMY, Science. 1 October 1881: 470-471. Accessed December 20, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/os-2/67/470.full.pdf?sid=71e45a06-6c3e-4ca8-993d-fcf14cf317d4

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My Wired Brain for Sucess Within Executive Management Level and Executive Board Rooms

“Sorry, I can’t really offer any suggestions; my brain is just not wired for it!” That was a note I received from a colleague this morning letting me know that I was in the right place, thus making significant contributions. This was music to my eyes as I read this note, in response to an action item that needed to be accomplished at this client company, which utilized my executive management skills. This was right up my alley, and my cue or “Batman” signal to jump to the rescue by chiming in solutions.

Also, this was not the first time I’ve received this type of comment or responses, which made me feel extremely valuable and cherished during the past 12+ months I’ve contributed to executive level management consulting since I relocated to Northern California during Fall 2011.

Suffice to say that I’ve become accustomed to solving complex problems, improving intertwined processes throughout organizations. The amalgamation of skills and background were built on my life-long history of problem-solving skills and process improvement suggestions and applications.

While growing up with a profound hearing loss, I thought that I would be stuck in first gear for the rest of my life. Instead, I quickly saw that there were many different options and avenues that could be explored in response to various types of adversities and vicissitudes. My first-hand experiences with these types of life-long situations, which I have improved and solved, have instilled an inherent need and strive to solve many situations and improve the quality of the processes within the organizations I’ve been at.

A recent on-line article by Ray B. Williams, “Wired for Success” pointed out that successful CEOs have “self-awareness” and make people around them successful. My unique perspectives allow others explore the options while thinking outside the box, thus helping the organizations and the teams shine within their industries. My approach, as a management consultant with profound hearing impairment, stems from various complex problem-solving experiences.

In my opinion, professionals with disabilities within executive management level and board rooms are in the position to prove themselves and demonstrate their track record, thus are wired for success. Over a century ago, the general public started to consider the value of contributions made by women, within societies, especially pointed out in the letter in Science magazine published in 1887. This letter was written by “L” and pointed out the valuable contributions of women by using examples of well-known contributors such as well-known female English authors and female Russian mathematicians.

Two decades ago, significant growth has occurred within the corporate culture, since women alone, have come a long ways in attempting to crack the codes of corporate culture as more women grow vertically within management positions, as described within Science magazine’s 1993 edition.

During the past several years, professionals with various diversities have contributed to the corporate culture as persons with disabilities have made significant contributions over time, and have proven themselves to be exceptional problem solvers.

Recently, we have both men and women, from various backgrounds, making significant contributions across the fields. Some of them may have a disability. In 2003 Science letter to the editor, Cooper and Seelman stated that “People with disabilities are among the lowest represented groups in science, engineering, and medicine.” This was nearly 10 years ago, and I’m pleased to have witnessed lots of positive changes that have occurred since them, which included having professionals with disability within executive management levels and executive board rooms.

According to the Department of Census, in 2010, 54 million Americans identified themselves as having disabilities, which is 19% of the United States population living independently. There are hundreds of specific types of disabilities, which can be placed into categories. Some of the types of disabilities are “visible” types while others are “hidden,” meaning that others can notice the assistive technologies such as wheelchair, crutches and other types of assistance such as animals, sign language interpreters.

For me, I wear a hearing aid and a speech processor for my cochlear implant, both covered up by my hair. My disability has not been quite visible within groups of others who can hear and speak effortlessly. When I speak out, others immediately notice my accent. A funny example occurred during a professional function that I attended couple weeks ago when a colleague asked me where I was from, since he was trying to match a country with my accent, in order to quickly build a common bond such as a potential visit to my homeland. I’ll save this experience for another article.

In summary, professionals with disabilities were able to succeed in the workplace, through perseverance and their unique problem solving skills, which have been adapted from years of practice. Professionals with disabilities have proven themselves and demonstrated their impressive track records. With assistance of executive coaches, professionals with disabilities can be successful in applying their own practical skills and ideas within management level, the organization can become successful. The inclusion of professionals with disability brings the true meaning of diversity within the board rooms and executive management levels, as I’ve recently experienced. Knowing that I’m wired for success, I look forward to many more years of continuing contributing my background and skills within the executive management level and corporate boardrooms for many years to come, and help the organizations grow and shine.

References:

Cooper, Rory A. & Seelman, Katherine D. Science 20 June 2003: Vol. 300 no. 5627 p. 1877. DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5627.1877a. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/300/5627/1877.1.full.pdf?sid=482ad334-c38b-4b4d-8de3-4c2f0b1fca1c

Culotta, Elizabeth. Women Struggle to Crack the Code of Corporate Culture. Science. 16 April 1993: 398-404. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/260/5106/398.full.pdf?sid=65a81f52-6a02-4cad-820f-db1e007fc916

L. Women. Science. 1 July 1887: 10 [DOI:10.1126/science.ns-10.230.10]. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/ns-10/230/10.1.full.pdf?sid=8b9c58bf-7f23-4157-a0f0-165cf234baf2

Williams, Ray B. Why Every CEO Needs a Coach. Wired for Success. Published online August 13, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201208/why-every-ceo-needs-coach?goback=%2Egde_2835253_member_183557891

Smart Management for Intelligent Future

Management can be fun, due to the interaction and leadership duties, albeit challenging at various levels.  An author (James, 2012) suggested asking direct reports three questions: how they expect to be managed, what specifics of management annoy them, and how to assist them with excelling within the workplace.  Based on the various responses and situation, there is no single prescriptive formula for managing direct reports.

In the world of Politics, Smart Power is a combination of both Soft Power and Hard Power.  Typically, Soft Power considers the history, culture, and diplomacy while Hard Power considers coercion and payment.

Smart Power was a term coined by Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Harvard Professor and former Dean of Kennedy School of Government, Joseph Nye, Jr.  In 2006, Nye stated that combining both hard and soft power with strategy is identified as smart power.  In order to be successful, we must provide what everyone want, but cannot attain without American leadership.  For example, in utilizing Smart Power, the leader must utilize a combination of tools of coercion and persuasion that includes diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural, depending on the specific situation (Etheridge, 2012 and Rooney, 2012).

Historically, America has been utilizing hard power within its dealings with foreign governments, which oftentimes lacked strategic visions.  In order to establish and maintain global political and financial stability, strategic visions are important in order to address both current and future challenges, thus incorporating soft and hard power into smart power (CSIS, 2012).

If this Smart Power is applied within levels of management within the industry, as it had been within the government sector, then the corporate environment interacting within today’s global and foreign markets replete with suppliers, distributors, external customers, vendors and other business relationships can be more efficiently utilized.  Also, the internal culture within the corporates can benefit from the application of Smart Power within the upper management levels.

The idea of extrapolating Smart Power into the industry, thus translating into Smart Management stemmed from an article in Science magazine that discussed challenges of Federal laboratories developing business commercialization relationship with the industry sector in regards to technology (Walejko, et al, 2012).  Oftentimes, this inter-sector collaboration faces funding and management challenges due to the variation within the strategic visions of both the industry and Federal lab.

Inter-sector relationships between the industry and government sectors, are observed for other purposes such as business liaison within various governments throughout the world.  For example, within medical device industries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the government agency for authorizing sales of approved devices within the United States and.  In order to be successful within the industries, professionals learned that it was best for them to strive to maintain positive working relationship with the FDA.  Positive relationships between industries and government sectors within other countries are also valuable.  For example, approved medical devices sold in other countries, Japan are regulated by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) while medical devices within Australia are regulated by Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).  Therefore, professionals can focus on managing the relationships intelligently, with not only the FDA, but with MHLW, TGA, and other foreign regulatory agencies.

In 1979, Harvard Professor, Michael E. Porter first published competitive interactions within the industry that led to workable strategies within various companies, such as Bargaining Power from Suppliers, Buyers, Threats of substitute, Emerging competitors, and rivalry among current competitors (Porter, 2008).  Also, if the competitive forces had become intense, then this would result into the companies investing large sums of resources to attract new customers with an advantage over their competitors, such as healthcare, airlines, and hotels.  In this case, the return on investment would be smaller due to the amount of resources input as compared with the new many companies such as soft drink, toiletries, and software, where an attractive return on investment has been larger.

Within today’s ever-changing and competitive environment, perhaps an addition to the corporate management formula can be a customization of management style through combination of both smart power and leadership, thus augmenting the current list of different Management Styles, such as Consultative, Aristocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Faire, Persuasive, Paternalistic, and Management by Walking Around.  Each of these styles has advantages and some downside, depending on the situation, thus smart management or intelligent management can successfully add portions of prescriptive management through interjection of bits of Smart Power into the mix within the corporate environment.

Perhaps in the future, there would be additional management styles based on the improvement within the human interaction and communication.  Additionally, scientific discoveries that lead to augmented understanding usually translate into enrichment into the human lifestyle, behavior, and interactions within the environment.  The smart management allows us to take the next step in moving forward with the growth in operating within today’s global markets that overlap with various sectors.

References:

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Smart Power Initiative Part of the: Archived ProgramsRetrieved October 28, 2012, from http://csis.org/program/smart-power-initiative

Etheridge, E. How ‘Soft Power’ Got ‘Smart’. New York Times, The Opinion Pages. Published January 14, 2009.  Retrieved October 28, 2012, from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/how-soft-power-got-smart/

James, G. World’s Simplest Management Secret. Published on Inc. on October 24, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/worlds-simplest-management-secret.html

Porter, M. The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review. January 2008 issue. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://hbr.org/2008/01/the-five-competitive-forces-that-shape-strategy/ar/1

Rooney, Katie. Clinton Vows to Lead Using “Smart Power” Strategy. Times The Page. Published January 13, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2012, from http://thepage.time.com/2009/01/13/clinton-confirmation-hearing-set-for-tuesday/

Walejko G & et al.  Federal Laboratory–Business Commercialization Partnerships. Science 14 September 2012: 1297-1298. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6100/1297.full.pdf