“We were dealing with interesting cross-cultural and interpersonal dynamics, with some strong feelings that the others just ‘didn’t get it,’” says Robert Conradt, Product Creation Director for Men’s Performance Running for Nike. “We needed a program to address not only the differences between the various Asian cultures and American culture, but also the difference between standard business culture and Nike’s business culture.”
To bridge that gap, Nike decided to establish a program that enables footwear developers from several of its Asian footwear factories to spend time working directly with the appropriate designers and developers at the Nike World Campus in Beaverton, Oregon. The company also realized that it needed to find a way to help the Asian participants adjust to life in the United States.
Ann Marie has helped everyone involved draw connections between what they learn in the program and how to translate it into daily business practices, giving them tools and techniques to get things done better and faster.
“We’re seeing a lot more clarity around the U.S. developers’ written communications, with far fewer idioms and more care in defining what they’re asking for,” says Conradt. “They’re also picking up the phone more after learning that many of their Asian counterparts place higher value on establishing personal relationships in business.”
The highly interactive, hands-on program helps participants pinpoint some of the frustration and miscommunication that they had experienced in prior dealings. “Ann Marie is really helping us round out this cultural piece. She has great personal and professional insight, and she truly understands the issues involved,” says Conradt. “She’s the perfect package for us in terms of moving this project forward.”