Being a management consultant is not easy, not even in the possession of two decades worth of operational experience accumulated in multinational environments. In my case, these two decades were spent in business service centres, which has given me a sort of worldview – a type of takeaway that tells me how business „should” be done, processes be approached, and stakeholders be dealt with. I successfully integrated this worldview into my business through myself, because of which I can attest to the fact that I can provide services of undisputed quality as a consultant in my field. I, however, recently had a chance to get to know a different world.
In the past, I have had the honour of working in various projects concerning Hungarian SMEs, but approximately half a year ago I also had the honour of joining a management consultancy organisation that includes top leaders of large companies and multinationals. Because of my membership in this very organisation, it has become possible for me to become acquainted with several actors in the Hungarian SME sector, as well as to become familiarised with the colourful world of said industry. This sector proved to be a wildly different world – essentially an alternate dimension – with the fundamental goals being the same, but the attitudes, methods and circumstances being vastly different. Nevertheless, just as I had once managed to embrace the multinational service centre industry, I succeeded in getting to know the Hungarian corporate environment as well.
I was not the only one who was granted exciting learning-and attitude-altering opportunities by watching the two worlds “collide”. Several of my currently ongoing projects are addressing the collision of these two worlds – it is as if we were watching in real-time how two people, possessing vastly different language and cultural backgrounds, strive to communicate with each other in one universal language. It can be stated that amongst the long-term goals of many local companies, cooperation with large, multinational companies is present. The companies in my projects have reached a level both from a professional-and skill standpoint that would permit them to realise that goal – however, what happens when a local firm lacking the experience of dealing with multinational companies tries providing services to international clients?
This is where the titular „Interpreter” comes into play – an expert who has „seen” both worlds and understands the fundamental differences between such company cultures and operative processes. Finding such an individual is no easy task. For the sake of the project’s success, the „Interpreter” mediates, manages conflicts and proposes solutions. Since this expert knows both sides, he/she can identify the underlying motivations and causes that the intrinsically different parties would never be able to recognise in one another, nor tell each other. Our company can assure the success of the project by acting as a bridge between worlds, soothing the differences between them.
Communication between the two worlds can often be made more difficult by one party having a preconstructed, false view of the other. Such perceptions stem from harmful preconceptions, for example, a resource with ties to one world not being able to fit into another (essentially being incapable of doing so), or one party never being able to accept the way how another does business in general. If we were to surrender ourselves to these harmful preconceived notions, the mobility between the two worlds would be even less than it really is. For such firms, one of the first steps of gathering positive experiences would be the hiring of a common „Interpreter”. I and my team have been to both sides, so we can handle both types of clients, which in turn results in satisfactory accomplishments both for our clients and for us as well. It is important to remember that it is not always the other party that is „incompetent” – sometimes all it takes is a little help to understand each other.