If you've read any of my previous blogs, you know that I feel strongly, passionately about the financial benefits companies can have from cultural diversity. I also feel that for most U.S. companies doing business in Mexico, they simply do not understand how cultural diversity is hurting their sales and revenues in Mexico. And I'm not the only one telling this story.
Ruben Navarrette Jr., a Harvard graduate, is a syndicated columnist whose editorials can be found in the Sunday "opinion" section of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other leading U.S. papers. An author, radio talk show host and guest on CNN and CNBC, Ruben was recently acknowledged by Hispanic Magazine for his accomplishments. I have to share his most recent article from August 19, 2007 entitled "Embracing diversity will reap big rewards".
Ruben tells of how a few years ago when addressing a group of business managers he didn't launch into a talk about diversity. He felt that it was long past the time when diversity needs to be defended as being a vital part of a company's business strategy. He wrote, "We need to make the case that we shouldn't have to make the case - not in an era of globalization and expanding international markets."
I agree entirely with his comments that with the changing global markets, cultural diversity should not be an afterthought for businesses but rather part of their company strategy. Every company should have a diversity strategy just as they have one for marketing, advertising, sales, etc.
The idea of diversity shouldn’t be a stand alone item either. Diversity should be integrated into every area of a business especially for any firm doing international business. A company can have the best service or product, but that won’t matter if the receptionist is rude to a potential client just because they speak with an accent.
Unfortunately, many U.S. businesses still see diversity as something to look at only after every other area of business is working smoothly. This means never taking action toward diversity. My opinion is that diversity is still something that most U.S. businesses feel is only for the largest multi-national companies such as Microsoft and AT&T. And unlike Microsoft and AT&T, these businesses are not only getting their lunch eaten but sadly, they still don’t seem to notice or care.
The question I got from Ruben's article is “What’s taking so long?!” Many companies need a reality check into what’s happening with business both in and outside the U.S. I applaud my readers that either have established diversity as an important piece of their business strategy or that are working toward making it so.
To those companies whether in the U.S., China or elsewhere that still feel that diversity is optional, I can only say, "Hold on tight." It's going to get a lot hotter in the international kitchen, and many companies may find themselves getting burned.
The Mexico Guru
Want to receive information on doing business in Mexico directly to your In box? Subscribe now at Marketing To Mexico.