Gone are the days when offshore capabilities were set up to cut costs. Today, Global Capability  Centers (GCC) have proven to provide value-added services, including centers of excellence (COE).

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), a nonprofit organization and trade association that focuses on the technology industry in India, is quoted as saying,

“GCCs are now focusing on high-value tasks such as developing intellectual property, growing expertise around developing technologies, establishing COEs, and fully taking control of vendor management.” 

The Hindu article on GCC quotes Bansi Phansalkar, VP, Global Engineering & Country Leader, Caterpillar India, and says, “Phansalkar points out that perhaps 15 years ago cost arbitrage for an MNC was a big thing. ‘But we have gone past that; we now lead the company in many areas. In terms of the value that we bring, cost is no longer a discussion. Chennai is a mini-Caterpillar for us. We can see the entire company, have access to all the company’s information and a big advantage of this is that people can cross pollinate, exchange tech, talent and solutions. So, that’s a huge advantage for a centre like Chennai which is now quite mature,’ he elaborates.”

The heightened expectations for GCCS are coupled with some unique challenges. 

Culture: GCCs operate in environments that differ from the parent entity. Many situations can lead to misunderstanding and poor efficiencies if not handled correctly.

Language: While most of the world speaks English, and can engage in business communication, the level of proficiency can be different, leading to frustration.

Geographic Separation: When teams are spread across the globe and working hours vary, communication gets harder since you cannot have face-to-face, impromptu meetings

image3

Challenges in GCC include culture differences, language barriers, and geographic separation

The success of a GCC depends on the people at both the parent company and the GCC. There are several attributes and skills that can help elevate the capabilities of staff.  In this article, we discuss three of them—intentional listening, empathic curiosity, and confident humility.

"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person."

- G.K. Chesterton

Intentional Listening

Effective workplace communication is vital to the success of a business. We rely on it to collaborate, get work done, celebrate successes, deal with crises, and build relationships. 

The article “The State of Workplace Communication In 2023,” from Forbes, says, “For over 40% of workers, poor communication reduces trust both in leadership and in their team. Remote workers were more affected, with 54% reporting poor communication impacts trust in leadership and 52% reporting it impacts trust in the team. For on-site workers, poor communication did not impact trust to the same extent, though it still had a big impact: 43% reported trust in leadership was impacted and 38% said trust in their team was affected.”

GCCs and the parent companies have the additional burden of culturally diverse staff, language, and time-zone differences. Given this, improving the communication capabilities of both the parent company teams and those in GCC can make or break the business.  

When discussing communication, we emphasize how to speak and write well. Yet, listening is the most important communication skill one should develop to improve communication.

Demonstrating attention through body language, facial expressions, and active listening

When we engage in a conversation with a colleague, often, we are impatient to get our thoughts across. This results in not paying attention to what the other person is saying. Instead of understanding the response, we are busy thinking about what we can say next. This results in miscommunication and loss of trust.

Be intentional in your listening. Triple-A Listening―Attitude, Attention, and Adjustment―introduced by Walter Pauk and Ross Owens can help learn effective listening.

Attitude involves having the right frame of mind to listen. A positive attitude and an open mind facilitate listening to absorb what is being said.

Attention means being fully present in the situation without any distractions and giving it your 100% so you don’t miss anything being said. Let the speaker know you are paying attention with verbal and non-verbal cues such as eye contact and nodding your head.

Adjustment involves the willingness to adapt your thinking to what the speaker is saying and follow the conversation flow.

Attitude, Attention, Adjustment

The 2018 Harvard Business Review article “Why Curiosity Matters” quotes the results of a survey of 3,000 workers in China, Germany, and the United States and says, “We found that 84% believe that curiosity catalyzes new ideas, 74% think it inspires unique, valuable talents, and 63% think it helps one get promoted.”

Curiosity is also one of the essential attributes for those who work in culturally diverse teams, as is the case of GCCs, to achieve success. The curiosity trait is vital for both the parent company staff and those at GCC.

Having an open mind is essential when you work across culturally diverse teams. Curiosity helps develop this mindset by helping one understand the beliefs underpinning cultures and avoid stereotyping and making assumptions.

Asking questions is fundamental to enhancing knowledge. Curiosity prompts one to ask questions to bring clarity to communication. It also shows interest in what the other person is saying and helps you develop rapport. Asking questions is a positive attribute and does not reflect negatively on an individual’s competence. DON’T feel shy about asking questions.

Relationship excellence comes about when one is genuinely curious about those working with them. You convey that you care about different perspectives by showing interest in cultural differences. Empathic curiosity, in particular, helps you genuinely care about other people’s feelings and enables you to put yourself in their shoes to empathize.

When your native language is not the same as the person talking, which is often the case when a GCC staff converses with someone in the parent company, and vice versa, it increases your attention. Don’t hesitate to repeat what you heard and ask for affirmation. If needed, ask the person to speak slowly.

Empathic Curiosity

The 2018 Harvard Business Review article “Why Curiosity Matters” quotes the results of a survey of 3,000 workers in China, Germany, and the United States and says, “We found that 84% believe that curiosity catalyzes new ideas, 74% think it inspires unique, valuable talents, and 63% think it helps one get promoted.”

Curiosity is also one of the essential attributes for those who work in culturally diverse teams, as is the case of GCCs, to achieve success. The curiosity trait is vital for both the parent company staff and those at GCC.

Having an open mind is essential when you work across culturally diverse teams. Curiosity helps develop this mindset by helping one understand the beliefs underpinning cultures and avoid stereotyping and making assumptions.

Asking questions is fundamental to enhancing knowledge. Curiosity prompts one to ask questions to bring clarity to communication. It also shows interest in what the other person is saying and helps you develop rapport. Asking questions is a positive attribute and does not reflect negatively on an individual’s competence. DON’T feel shy about asking questions.

image2

Asking questions and having an open mind to absorb and assimilate more information

Relationship excellence comes about when one is genuinely curious about those working with them. You convey that you care about different perspectives by showing interest in cultural differences. Empathic curiosity, in particular, helps you genuinely care about other people’s feelings and enables you to put yourself in their shoes to empathize.

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.”

Humans are born curious and grow up with great questions about their surroundings, such as in the above nursery rhyme. Watch the kids―they can’t stop asking questions. As we grow old, we stop for fear of being considered ignorant. You can get back to being curious when you decide to be open to new information.

To develop curiosity, observe your behavior when you meet someone for the first time. Do you ask them questions to help you learn more about them, or do you talk about the weather? Or worse, talk about only yourself? When someone comes to you with a problem, do you help them by engaging in a question-answer session to help find the answer? Of course, you would want to avoid being nosy by being genuinely interested, showing respect, and honoring boundaries.

Get into the habit of asking questions and actively listening to develop your curiosity.

Confident Humility

Collaboration with the parent company and within itself is critical for the success of GCCs. Innovations flourish in such environments.

One of the most important attributes necessary for collaboration is humility. Coupled with confidence, it can bring about success in all activities, whether it is a new product introduction, troubleshooting challenging issues, or dealing with crises.

What does it mean to be humble while at the same time being confident of your abilities?    

In Wharton@Work Nano Tools, Dr. Adam Grant, the well-known organizational psychologist, says,  

"Confidence and humility are often seen as opposites. But if you reflect on the leaders you admire most, chances are that they embody both of these qualities in tandem. I call it confident humility. Confident humility is being secure enough in your expertise and strengths to admit your ignorance and weaknesses."

image4

Awareness of strengths and weaknesses, confidence in one’s won strengths and humility to work on the weaknesses

We live in a complex world where none of us have all the answers. However, each of us has expertise in specific areas. We can achieve success if we acknowledge this and approach all challenges with a mindset that invites collaboration.

More often than not, confidence is abundant, but humility needs development. You can develop humility on the pillars of self-awareness, gratitude, integrity, learning, and listening.

Self-awareness is looking at yourself objectively and understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, passions, aspirations, and emotions. Self-aware people are not afraid to accept that they don’t have all the answers and ask for help when needed.

Gratitude helps you see the world as an ecosystem where success is not just due to individual effort but because others contributed to it. Writing a gratitude log with specifics a few times a week can help you grow your humility. In addition, please share your appreciation for others with them periodically.

Integrity helps you admit your mistakes and helps your colleagues see you as authentic.

Continuous learning keeps you humble because you realize there is so much you don’t know. It requires epistemic curiosity, the desire to learn and understand.

Listening is another pillar that helps you to be humble because it focuses attention on the speaker.

Thriving in GCCs

GCCs have challenges that go beyond the usual organizational ones. Specifically, dealing with cultural differences, languages, and geographic separations creates additional difficulties in achieving success. GCCs succeed not only because they have technical proficiency but excellent soft skills to overcome organizational challenges, along with the teams in the parent company.

Shantha-May

Dr. Shantha Mohan

Software Engineering Leader, Author, Mentor

Author Spotlight

Dr. Shantha Mohan is a mentor, project guide, and an Executive in Residence at the iLab, Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Before that, she was a global technical leader and entrepreneur, co-founding Retail Solutions Inc., a retail analytics company. She also has over 20 years of experience focused on mission-critical systems to support semiconductor and other high-value-added manufacturing. 

Dr. Shantha is a three-time author, has authored Roots and Wings – Inspiring Stories of Indian Women in Engineering, and has co-authored Demystifying AI for The Enterprise – A Playbook for Business Value and Digital Transformation. Her newest book, Leadership Lessons with The Beatles: Tips and Tools for Becoming Better at Leading, was published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis in May 2022.

Join the Thought Leadership Journey

Subscribe to newsletter Cover

Request Submitted

Your request for account deletion has been submitted. We will process your request shortly. Thank you for using our service

ISO 27001:2013

Overview

ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is a security management standard that specifies security management best practices and comprehensive security controls following the ISO/IEC 27002 best practice guidance. The basis of this certification is the development and implementation of a rigorous security program, which includes the development and implementation of an Information Security Management System (ISMS) which defines how RapL perpetually manages security in a holistic, comprehensive manner. This widely-recognized international security standard specifies that RapL do the following:

  • We systematically evaluate our information security risks, taking into account the impact of threats and vulnerabilities.
  • We design and implement a comprehensive suite of information security  controls and other forms of risk management to address customer and architecture security risks.
  • We have an overarching management process to ensure that the information security controls meet our needs on an ongoing basis.

RapL has certification for compliance with ISO/IEC 27001:2013. These certifications are performed by independent third-party auditors. Our compliance with these internationally-recognized standards and code of practice is evidence of our commitment to information security at every level of our organization, and that the RapL security program is in accordance with industry leading best practices.

SOC 2

Overview

SOC 2 compliance is a set of standards that organizations use to ensure the security, confidentiality, and integrity of their systems and data. SOC 2 compliance is often required by organizations that process or store sensitive data. RapL has compliance with SOC2 Type II report.

Thanks for your application

We appreciate your interest in RapL. If you are selected for an interview, we will contact you shortly.

You'll hear from us soon

We’ll be in touch via email or a brief phone call.
During the week, you’ll hear from us within 24 hours and if it’s a weekend, we’ll follow up on Monday morning.

If you have a question, please feel free to email at hello@getrapl.com