The Economic Times on Sunday – January 8-14, 2012

On my flight from Delhi to Chennai, I picked up a local news paper called “Economic Times” which I never read before. Maybe because it was a Sunday issue, the paper contained less serious news on business and economics and more light articles about the work life, which you would normally find in a weekly magazine targeting for young business professionals. The selection of the topics, I thought however, symbolized unique characteristics of the Indian workforce very well. Here are some that I found interesting:

Don’t Lie on Your Resume

The first interesting article is about the fake CV. According to their research, 11% of resumes in India has some degree of fantasy in it. Most common trick is to inflate your past accomplishments, such as tenure, position or salary. The article warns you that, by fabricating a better career on the paper, you are actually risking your career, as you’ll be severely penalized when caught. And interesting figure is that, although the 11% in India seems high, Singapore has 35% and Hong Kong even has 47% of fake resumes. I don’t know if that’s true, but I will ask when I have a chance to meet with someone from Hong Kong or Singapore.

How to Say No

Another interesting article tells you how to say no effectively. As you may have heard, Indians are known for their hesitance to say no. When working on the global settings, this attitude gives them both strength and weakness. The strength is to win the contract over their global competitors. When I was a customer, Indian vendors were more willing to accept my requirements – deadline, cost, resource, etc. – than their American competitors. The weakness, on the flip side, is to fail to deliver what they agreed. They say yes when they should say no, and it turns out to be unachievable at the last moment. It’s great to know that Indians understand their weak point and trying to overcome it.

Performance Evaluation Tips

The last article of my interest was “how to crack your appraisal in three months.” As most Indian companies have the fiscal year ending in March, now we have only one quarter left before the performance evaluation. Among the expats, Indian employees are known for tough negotiations at the appraisal.  This is a challenge for those from weak negotiation culture like Japan. The article advices you have a fact-based discussion, instead of pushing, pleading, or bargaining. This is especially true when you have a foreign boss, who don’t share the same cultural value and context with you. Now I look forward to March when I have to go through the same process with my Indian boss and my Indian team members (and you know I’m from Japan.)

Today’s Lesson

The Economic Times is the most circulated business newspaper in India (but not published in Chennai.)

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