Next month I am giving a training on responsible business leadership for entrepreneurs in Asia. As some of you may know, I like to think about what kind of audience I have for every different training, and I tailor my course for that specific group of students. In the past, I was a lecturer in Indonesia and I would teach each lesson twice to the same students: first time, I would give them the general scope, and at the end of the lesson, wait for their reactions and questions, their comments and (b)latant heresies… In the following week, I would teach them the same scope but with a tailor made focus on their interests and their challenges.
My biggest challenge for next month’s trainig is that my students” DO NOT want to contradict anyone, especially not anyone in a superior position. A common challenge for westerners teaching abroad! Here are my 3 top tips for teaching CSR in Asia;
- Relax, you are the teacher! See yourself and present yourself as a teacher and your audience will act upon this; in Asia teachers are held very high and students are trained to listen well and be a good student. But be aware; if you treat them as students, they will prepare WELL for your lesson and WILL read all you give them to read beforehand. So be well prepared, and enjoy the fact that your audience is willing to listen to what you say.
- Respect your host country, you are a guest. The underline for my training next month is: ‘Mistakes from the West we can learn from’. I delibarately take all examples of bad leadership from western companies. In this way I show that I do not want to discuss other people’s faults, but just the flaws in my own culture. I am only a guest in another country and there is very little you can say about the mess in a host country, if anything at all, if you want your audience to keep listening.
- Don’t teach them a lesson. This comes very close to what I said earlier, by taking only examples from your own background, you can show them not only how to repare mistakes. By acting out that you want to show them what is going wrong in your own country and culture, you are acting out humility, reflection and self- criticism. And that is the real lesson you want them to learn: to be able to be self- reflective of their own culture, and start acting upon it.