Vibrant Gujarat 2015 has been a privilege to attend and has exceeded expectations, really showcasing India’s strength. Interacting with the US, UK, Dutch, Russian and other Australian delegates, there was resounding praise for the event co-ordination and content. It was a World Class event, world-class food, hotels, transport, and customer-service. Above all World Class content with World Class speakers. This event instilled confidence in India’s capability and facilitated real business conversations to boost economies. Gujarat’s slogan: India and Heart, Global in Spirit, encapsulates this sentiment.
Did I achieve my three objectives? Yes I did. Here is a snapshot:
Objective 1: Explore opportunities to meet Australian, Indian and South African business contacts.
This objective was well met with Indian and Australian relationships forged. I was fortunate to be in meetings with Indian Ministers interested in improving BPO performance and being at the heart of first impressions of India, from Australian firms contemplating BPO. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to network with South African delegates – there were only two in attendance compared to 450 Australian delegates. Surprisingly, there were no dignitaries represented, even though South Africa was a partner country. What a missed opportunity for South Africa.
Objective 2: To observe how leaders interacted Cross Culturally
There was a treasure box of diversity at the Summit to observe leaders formally and informally. There were so many observations – I will have to write a separate blog to share them. Overall, in formal contexts Western leaders tempered their directness and were more flexible with issues like delays, communication barriers etc. immersing themselves in an Indian context. Indian leaders were more outspoken and engaging with Westerners matching their need for information and clarity. In less formal contexts (which were generally more operational business focussed), guards were down and Western and Indian leaders behaved more typically to their cultural roots. More on this within the week!
Objective 3: To observe the reaction to Ms. Anandiben Patel (Chief Minister of Gujarat)
Heartfelt congratulations to Ms Anandiben Patel, CM of Gujarat. She excelled with her team to pull of a World Class event and numerous Western delegates expressed their support for her as an Indian woman Chief Minister. Despite speaking mainly in Gujarati she managed to connect with international guests with a strong team behind her, two of whom I met: Chief Secretary, Mr Ajay Bhadoo. and Mr B.M Pani (International Relations). I was fortunate to meet her twice, once in a meet and greet and in another in-depth meeting with the AIBC delegation. In those meetings, she recognised woman entrepreneurs, was interested in whether we gained from the Summit and welcomed Australian knowledge and partnership.
More during the week detailing first hand highlights from speakers and cross-cultural observations.
Div Pillay is a cross cultural expert and Co-Founder of MindTribes – a 2016 Telstra Business Award Finalist company that improves cross border performance by realigning people to the foreign cultures in which they work.