Leadership Crossroads Newsletter

Book Of The Quarter
Dragons at
Your Door
What is it that gives China a strong cost advan­tage?  Is it sus­tainable?  Two busi­ness pro­fessors take a closer look at these questions.
(click title for full book review)


Video Of The Quarter
Understanding The Rise Of China
Author and Cambrige Senior Fellow Martin Jacques re­visits the ascent of the country as a world eco­nomic power.
(click title for full book review)


Quote Of The Quarter
When the winds
of change blow,
some people
build walls
and others
build windmills
[Chinese proverb]

Leadership Crossroads

is a competent resource for

  • Global Business Training & Coaching
  • Global Negotiation Training and Assistance
  • Global Project Management
  • Organizational Learning and Development
    across Cultures
  • Executive Coaching

Serving clients
world-wide since 2004

A complete book in a
FREE Android app:

Biz Anywhere

Biz Anywhere Android app

In Focus:  eLearning?  Really?  Must I?

How many online training events have you experienced? None? Seriously?

These days, eLearning is hard to avoid. Whether it is your company asking you to take a training, your brokerage telling you about new invest­ment options, your industry asso­ciation conduct­ing a remote meeting, or your own desire to develop yourself and learn some­thing new, some kind of online learning tool is usually involved in any of these acti­vities, from You­Tube videos to canned presen­tations, webinar soft­ware, or other online meeting tools. All of this comes under the um­brella of distance learning or ‘eLearning,’ the ‘e’ letting us know that compu­ters are involved.

Problem is, experience lets most people expect online learning to be boring with a big B. There is little fun to be had when you watch a PowerPoint presenta­tion on your computer, trying to follow a mono­tonous narra­tive while tempted to do some­thing more fun, like checking your email or social media news. Newer online communi­cation tools at least show you a video of the speaker, but that small talking head in the upper right corner of your screen hardly makes this much more exci­ting. Sure, class­room-style learning can be boring, too, but a lively trainer will make a diffe­rence here. But online?
My first e-learning expe­rience as a facili­tator came more than ten years ago, teaching a virtual class in an MBA program. Back then, online training was boring. Band­width was limited, down­load times were long, and tools for online educa­tion were poor. Accor­dingly, simple visuals plus (recorded or live) audio were all that eLearning had to offer. While people recog­nized that learning online had some advan­tages, like the option to access lectures and other mate­rials repea­tedly and at one’s own schedule and pace, the limita­tions that were inherent to those days’ techno­logy still made this way of learning pain­ful.

However, techno­logy and tools made great progress since then, enabling far more complex approa­ches to remote teaching. For my part, I also learned over the years how to facili­tate online learning in ways that are as rich and intense as any face-to-face training should be.

Personally, the strongest push came from a very large American client who insisted that we find a way to take a three-day training online that pre­viously took place in-class­room. Their issue, common across large multi­natio­nals, was that the groups and teams to be trained were distri­buted across several countries and time zones. The company was that much not worried about flying a trainer around: bringing all of these learners to the same loca­tion was what they consi­dered cost-prohi­bitive. Our answer was to employ blended online training, which typi­cally includes off­line elements (complex inter­active lectures, reading, etc.), team assign­ments where learners colla­borate in virtual teams, and virtual class meetings bringing every­one together online with an instructor. The concept worked extre­mely well and allowed training events that were simply impos­sible before. For instance, we had deli­veries of this training that in some cases simul­taneously included partici­pants living and working in 12 differ­ent countries.

Allowing geographically distributed groups of learners is only one advan­tage of this type of training: timing can be much more flexi­ble, too. Where possible, we try to structure such programs in ways that demand only 1-2 hours of learner time per day, a real benefit in today’s work environ­ment as people can still handle much of their normal work­load while conti­nuing their personal develop­ment.

When a large European client asked for a series of face-to-face training events across several countries, we con­vinced them to inte­grate an online component, with the primary purpose of helping parti­cipants become more comfor­table with online colla­boration, a growing need in their daily inter­actions. Exploring how online meetings can be both effective and fun converted several of the parti­cipants from sceptics to enthu­siasts!

Nowadays, eLearning can include video of whoever is speaking, switching automa­tically between all involved. Chat functions and drawing tools are ubiqui­tous and allow every­one to share opinions, question and comments whenever they want. Many other inter­active elements, such as polls, multiple-choice forms, self-assess­ments, and more serve to add further depth to the learning expe­rience. All of these options make it easy for facili­tators to design online learning that frequently involves and engages all of the partici­pants. In fact, eLearning events that do not include regular and frequent inter­action across the whole group in my view should be banned alto­gether.

Because of all the techno­logy changes and the result­ing options to offer a much richer online training expe­rience, I am convinced that more and more people will discover eLearning not as a cost-cutting tool, which it is not, but as a power­ful option for effective people develop­ment. The next time you attend a boring online event, make sure to tell the facili­tator that it does not have to be and challenge him/her to make it more interactive, productive and exciting. You deserve it!

This article is also available in PDF format   (requires Adobe Reader ).

How do you prepare for an international trip?
Which skills make you effective in global business?

Read an interview with Lothar Katz by Jan Daniel

Blended Online Training:     Working Effectively across Cultures

This highly interactive online training includes individual self-paced learning and webinar-style exchanges of experience with the facilitator and others in the class.   Check out our  module preview  to get an idea of how much fun online learning can be!
Working Effectively across Cultures
  • Can be spread over as little as two days and as much as two weeks.
  • Flexible schedules allow learners to get most of their normal work done.
  • Online access from anywhere facilitates multi­cultural learning.
  • Webinars can leverage client’s normal environ­ment.
  • Newsletter informs learners of next steps.
  • Password-protected site provides self-paced modules, course information, and additional materials.

Please  contact us  if you would like to know more about this innovative online training.
International Business
The Global   
Business Culture Guide
Negotiating International Business book

Kindle E-Book

The Global Business Culture Guide book

Kindle E-Book      

All 50 individual Country Sections from Negotiating International Business are available online for free.
Download Country Section PDF files now.

Lothar Katz

Lothar Katz is the founder of Leadership Crossroads.  He has helped many clients achieve productive cooperation across cultures and drive business success on a global scale.
A seasoned global executive, he regularly interacted with em­ployees, cus­tomers, out­sourcing partners, and third parties in numerous countries around the world.

Contact : info@leadershipcrossroads.com
Leadership CrossroadsSM, 2016

Global Business Practices:
Ten Tips for Doing Business in China
  • Timeliness matters considerably in China.  Being late for an appointment can become an insult.
  • Saving face, ie, talking and behaving in a way that others won't be embarrassed, is very important in everything you do.
  • Negative replies are considered impolite.  Instead, say "maybe", "we will consider it", or the like.
  • "That's not a problem" may not signal that there is no issue.  The term "problem" is commonly limited to really big ones.
  • The Chinese are very family-oriented.  "Is everyone well in your family?" is a good conversation opener.
  • Accept and hand out business cards with the utmost respect.  Always hold them with both hands and study them carefully.
  • Chinese names are generally given in last-first order.  Don't use first names unless the person offered it.  Use "Mr./Ms." or job titles ("Director Wang") instead.
  • Always consider that the influence of the party on business is huge.  Make sure you work through the right contacts.
  • In conversation, Taiwan is an ok topic, but do not refer to it as the "other China" or "ROC".  Similarly, say "China" but not "Red China" or "Mainland China".
  • Understanding native English speakers is a real challenge for most Chinese.  Slow down and try to speak using simple, short sentences.

Our newsletter is a quarterly publication about all aspects of International and Cross-Cultural Business Management.  The 2Q 2016 issue is on the web at
www.leadershipcrossroads.com/news_0416.htm.  Past issues can be found in our  newsletter archive.

If this issue has been forwarded to you, would you like to subscribe to it now?

If you are a current subscriber but you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, simply send a blank e-mail to unsubscribe@leadershipcrossroads.com.