Diplomacy Training for Corporate Executives
Washington, DC Sept. 22nd, 2007 ---- The older members of the political, diplomatic and "Movers and Shakers" social circuit will agree with me that the vast majority of younger professionals need training in social skills, and diplomacy. Life isn't all about playing football, or trying to ram a Filet Mignon down like a super sized burger, or chug-a-lugging beer any more. Sadly many new managers and negotiators, especially in the high tech industries haven't been told of what constitutes bad social behavior.
What went wrong is the question from many senior social diplomacy advocates. Well the answer, besides the Bush Administration of Aggressive Social Cavemen is the end years ago of compulsory military training. All of the upper ranks had basic training in social skills, an introduction to social hierarchy, and how to move up that social pecking order. Military life provided "Dining in" nights and most future leaders had to be exposed to that culture. After compulsory training ended there was a slow decline in diplomatic behavior as the pool of trained talent dwindled. Today most of the older mentors have retired, and the volatility in industry and commerce has pushed younger, and cheaper candidates into upper management. They had little competition and oversight with entertaining and for a brief few years it really didn't matter if you knew how to act in public, or in business entertaining, the explosive growth in technology fuelled a demand for products. Buyers tolerated bad behaviour from sales and company representatives.
Today the world is a vastly different place, and traditional cultures such as the Chinese, and Indian have become dominant in many fields. The more traditional cultures are sick and tired of American vulgarity, and Microsoft trained Geeks in ripped jeans and message bearing T-Shirts. Wealth is migrating to a smaller and smaller group, and whilst the unwashed masses may like to idolize drug induced bad behavior of pop and sports stars, these really wealthy people are becoming more and more conservative in their dealings with the world around them. True the highly publicized antics of the nouveau riche may be the fodder of gossip columnists and TV gossip shows, but in reality they play a role, and are just as demanding of standards of people who serve them as anyone else.
In business the rapid increase of Corporate Diplomacy brings with it a whole library of unwritten conventions to establish and maintain order and social rank. Those with power, money and clout do not see themselves on a level playing field with the masses, who contribute to their wealth, but will never be allowed to share it. They quickly learn that holding on to the billions of dollars, and corporate power means playing in a whole other league. They may have earned their billions by being a pizza eating, coke drinking geek in their garage, but they quickly move into the big boy's league and move with others in the same comfortable club. The ability to operate in this exclusive corporate level is a requirement for entry.
Today the need for discrete training for Corporate Diplomacy is essential, and in a world where support from Governments is declining, and with Bush appointees positively negative, corporate executives are shouldering the burden of diplomacy. As more rules, regulations and oversight come down from Washington, DC this need will grow.