March 22, 2012 by Jackie Modeste
I participate in a lot of Blogs on Business, Education and International Relations. What’s always surprising to me is that people say the “same thing” repeatedly. We all want to be better and do better and we are looking for ways to achieve this utopian goal.
Oddly, I have found, business leaders (at least those who participate on the blogs I read) aren’t simply or exclusively profit-driven money fiends. The stereotypical 1% attitudes are missing. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some pretty nasty comments made amongst participants but they take the form of being sexist or elitist in terms of expressing educational or imagined intellectual superiority, not capitalist. While I’m tempted to begin a rant on the relationship between sexism, elitism and capitalism — I’ll refrain (for now) because I have more to say about engagement.
Engagement is understood as being vital to continued growth. I’ve written here about engagement pertaining to diplomacy and emerging markets. So, for now, I’ll focus on my observation on disparate entities saying the same thing but within their own circles, not across perceived (and so very real) disciplinary lines.
Take Jerry Weissman’s article, “When Someone Asks You a Question, Respond” for example. Jerry is frustrated with people not answering direct questions. I feel his pain; I mean, really, what gives? He uses a number of examples including some from the current US presidential race to finally tell us, “You must respond to all questions.” In “Education Keeps America Safe” Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein lament the lack of foreign language training in the US and using the case of Iraq note, “of 250 intelligence personnel, fewer than five had the aptitude to put pieces together to form a conclusion.” Peter Campelli finds fault in the US “plug ‘n play” approach to hiring. “Here” he says, “the story is about getting a ‘just-in-time’ workforce, finding the precise workers we need just at the time we need them but letting them go when our needs change and then replacing them with new ones.” International Education advocate Vincent C. Jonson recommends, “mainstreaming global and cross-cultural learning on all campuses across the higher education spectrum; making study abroad the norm, rather than the exception; and ensuring that foreign language instruction actually produces graduates who can effectively communicate in a foreign language” as ways to improve overall competitiveness, build a stronger educational system and prepare workers for meaningful participation in the global economy.
… but these people aren’t talking to one another.
No rhythm, no rhyme people. Each person is sending out a “call” for help but there’s no meaningful “response” and so no rhythm (or conversation) is created or sustained. Rice and Klein’s understanding of international education and foreign language training is related toJohnson’s and both are related to Campelli’s dilemma with “plug ‘n play” hiring because the goal is for all is to create a sustainable workforce, long term and there is much agreement on what is needed. Expanding globalization can lead to increased GDP and I’ll just bet expanding or deepening the integration between seemingly disparate fields can increase innovation and lead to, at least, increased GDP.
For all the talk of diversity and engagement, the rhythm section isn’t working together, there’s no collaboration just a lot of talk while each person plays solo. Call-and-response hails from the blues and shapes the jazz music we love to hear where instruments trade off on the melody. Call-and-response also shapes hip hop (S/O to C.O.D.E. Mizells blog) as is indicated in the rhyming pattern that creates the rhythm but I’ll let Ben tell you more about that. Know the culture people, no rhythm no rhyme…