One of the themes that comes up often in our work with globalizing businesses is the importance of creating a “soft” infrastructure that supports effective global teams. By soft infrastructure, I mean things like global team communication processes, employee orientations for new countries/cultures, knowledge repositories, online employee directories, city guides for visiting employees, etc. These kinds of internal processes and tools can help any organization run more smoothly, but they really have an impact when you have employees from different parts of the world with very different expectations and contexts, and there is no opportunity for sharing info through informal “water cooler” conversations.
An example are these tips for first time business travelers to India, which I first wrote for my colleagues when I worked with Kanbay (now part of Capgemini). Like many of their American employees, I had never been to India before going to visit our company operations there. Despite having traveled widely, and having spent some time getting advice from the more experienced “India hands,” I was still sometimes challenged and mystified. (Of course, I later moved my family over to Pune for a year, but that’s another story.) If you’re making your first trip to India for business, I hope you find these helpful.