Most countries are quickly turning ‘nationalistic’ these days. We see in social media of all geographies, the passions are rising. The soldiers of the respective countries are remembered and celebrated lot more. I also see posts like – while-brave-soldiers-are-dying–we-live-in-comfort-doing-nothing.There are many more similar ones. This gets loudest on days of national importance… like Independence day in India.
What does patriotism mean to employees and managers of global companies? Do they do anything at all to serve the country? This post is an attempt to put this in perspective.
I have seen people from at least dozen countries working on global corporations. While we do not talk about domains like politics or patriotism, I can see how they contribute to their respective countries. Also the glimpse of the patriotism is seen in the way they talk about the positive side of their respective countries.
How exactly do they serve their country?
First, Just doing the job: Sounds trivial?
1. Imagine this. At the least, you would earn some money and pay taxes. The remaining money too contributes to the tax collections downstream. Where else would money come from, for military spending?
Also in place like Bangalore India, just doing the job, pay huge taxes while getting not even a road to reach office… Quite a patriotic thing to do !
2. If you are into creating products or services which solve some of the local problem, you are already a commendable patriot. Most businesses already do. It makes the country worthy of defending.
3. The power is in knowledge. Most modern jobs involve either learning or training others. What people learn while failing and succeeding, the mental journey of getting things done is enormous asset. The skilled manpower is leveraged by smart governments.
Second, Fighting for Investments:
One common knowledge is that investments bring in jobs and uplift economy. The companies and the employees pay taxes. Further, whatever they spend thereafter gets further tax revenues. In layman terms, this money is used in social welfare and military spending.
Many middle managers across the world fight for budget for their countries. All companies do their strategic planning on business goals. Accordingly they make decisions on strategic investments. The middle management works really hard to drag more and more investments into their portfolios. They put together compelling proposals on how they could deliver on business goals, if the investments are made in their location/organization.
Needless to say – this is like war for investment. I have seen that this bottom up push works wonders for the countries. I have NEVER seen this appreciated by larger society –
- The heroic stories are buried under the net of company confidentiality.
- These are complex games and it is hard to visualize the heroism by masses.
Third, Creating/contributing to Local Ecosystem:
Ecosystem is often under-appreciated term. Many developed countries have excellent ecosystems which impact the whole world be it in engineering, banking, tech etc. For example, Germany has engineering ecosystem.i.e. there are many things necessary to create good engineering products. There is talent, vendors, customers, funds, production, distribution and many more. Likewise, countries like India, regions like East Europe have R&D and IT service ecosystem. China has manufacturing and value engineering for anything and everything.
Beside, this also helps in local entrepreneurship. India has IT oriented startups riding on outsourcing business. Germany has many supplier startups which thrive on main automakers. This gives unparalleled muscle to the local governments. What soldiers in borders can not achieve, sometimes could be accomplished by the soft power of these.
US government controls decisions of Lockheed Martin regarding selling F-16 planes. China could use currency devaluation as a weapon, given its manufacturing ecosystem.
The power of goodwill is another under-appreciated factor. With people-to-people contact coming from global corporations, the impressions about common people are formed/corrected. These propagate in societies of respective countries, in media and hence it influences the way governments deal with other countries.
I remember one European woman who had ‘bought’ all of the media’s negative stereotypes of Indian men, without ever meeting actual people. She was overwhelmed to see the ‘normal’ people and after few interactions, she developed very positive opinions. This has multiplier effect and helps the country.
The same way the negative behaviors create such a lasting damage. I had to face many hurdles in business just because most Indian employees they met earlier, did empty talk with no commitment to fulfill the promises. The casual attitude towards time management, boasting without competencies etc made it worse. This forms the opinion internationally and has disastrous impacts. Unfortunately these are never quantified and hence never discussed. When it comes to patriotism, it is too boring to talk about routine stuff. Unfortunately, it sounds cool to talk about martyrs than to talk about sustainable small improvements.
I hope I am making some practical points about routine work….
The work of ordinary employees and managers has profound impact on the country, often not appreciated. I am not even talking about the corporate social responsibility or entrepreneurship. Just talking about mundane things and how they impact your country.
You probably are doing lot for your country. When you go to work, I hope you have some good reasons to stay inspired.