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Working with a global perspective
Global companies such as Apple Inc., Intel Corp., and Motorola Inc. have had to learn to lead and manage a global workforce. Thanks to industry advisors like Marian Stetson-Rodriguez, they have been able to create effective teams across time zones and language barriers.
Stetson-Rodriguez, an adjunct professor at SCU, teaches graduate-level courses that help students learn to manage and be effective members of global teams. "These are people already in management or aspiring to management," she says. "They have to learn to get things done through other people to accomplish their engineering goals." The ability to work with a global team, centrally or virtually, is "a competency necessary to succeed in Silicon Valley," she says.
Using real-life issues from her corporate training background with Charis Corp., Stetson-Rodriguez's course covers culture-specific information on how trust is built throughout the world. Trust, the most valuable asset for any team or individual, affects every aspect of a project from planning through execution, and perceptions of trust vary tremendously between ethnic and corporate cultures.
To create a high-functioning team, "you cannot only focus on the task," she advises. That can be difficult in a results-driven culture, but miscommunication affects the bottom line and a team's ability to foster trust for the future.
Stetson-Rodriguez says that the majority of her students were not born in the United States. "They realize Santa Clara values what they bring as international people. It gives them a voice and visibility."
Students who come through these classes are better prepared to motivate others and encourage accountability, making them stronger leaders and better engineers. And, Stetson-Rodriguez notes, mastering these skills saves time--the most valuable commodity of all.
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