From the President – Richard Sampson
No matter where, people are generally the same
Depending on your views toward travel, I’ve either been very fortunate or very resilient. I’ve either been blessed with the ability to see far-off places as part of my work duties, or I’ve been saddled with the burden of leaving home. While there definitely are times I’ve felt the latter, the former is more often true: I’ve been honored to travel to meet the global demands of my position.
In recent years, slowed only by pandemic, work has taken me to places including Singapore, South Africa and Dubai. I’ve spent more time in training centers than on Great Walls or in shopping districts, but I’ve also found time to sample locale cuisine, learning about my international colleagues and experience at least a small slice of their lives.
One thing I’ve learned from my travels is what travel teaches us all: No matter where we roam, people are generally the same. We all love our families and friends, we work hard to meet our responsibilities, and we strive for professional acceptance, recognition and advancement.
That’s what makes training the great equalizer. When a classroom door opens – in person or virtual – everyone is a blank slate. Sure, they’ve brought their own experiences and ambitions to the table with them, but they’re all there to learn from you, and they’ll get back what they contribute. Seeing that change take seed is one of the not-so-secret joys of being a trainer.
And that’s the same everywhere. We might be developing leaders in Mumbai, onboarding talent in Lisbon and managing coaching from Vancouver, but the goal is shared: to educate, to develop, to bring growth to both careers and bottom lines.
That’s not to say we don’t have our differences, of course. What’s innovative and new in one place could be business as usual in another. What’s a challenge for some could have been a solution for others. What’s customary for some of our colleagues could be an unlikely approach for others.
That’s typically where the main challenge of global training comes in … creating the equalization that gives everyone the fair chance to succeed. That’s why we as trainers communicate, share and learn from one another. By knowing the regions we’re working with, we can best incorporate local learning styles and special needs and avoid the sometimes-hidden pitfalls. (We’ve all heard the one about the innocent “thumbs up” being viewed differently by different cultures … it’s a cautionary tale to do your homework, even on the little things.)
Once again, LTEN is here to help. For this special issue of LTEN Focus on Training magazine, we’re turning the spotlight on global training. In these pages, global trainers will share their thoughts, advice and tips on topics as diverse as leadership, challenges, communication, workflow and virtual training. I hope you’ll leave this issue with some new inspiration to make your job easier.
Of course, it’s nice to embrace our differences and celebrate individuality, but it’s also nice to notice the advantages of having shared goals. The overseas office may seem a world away, but when we see those colleagues are partners on the same journey, it makes it easier to connect and learn from one another.
Enjoy this issue please, and even if you’re not leaving the office anytime soon, let me wish you safe travels. We’re all on a journey – all of us, everywhere, throughout our careers. Sometimes, we end up in places we didn’t expect.
When that happens, it’s very nice to have company. So maybe I will see you in the Delta Sky Club!
Richard Sampson is president of the LTEN Board of Directors and vice president, global training & development, global commercial operations, for Cepheid. Email Richard at email@example.com.