“Speak Up and Say No!”

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By Julie Peachey. Cross-posted from the Center for Creative Leadership

A colleague recently put me onto the notion of the ‘Power Distance Index’ or PDI.  I immediately was intrigued as I thought this might help explain some of what I had experienced while working on an organizational transformation project in the Philippines the past 3 years.  When I first started working with the organization, the project team that had been put together by the senior leaders would sit silently while visiting international consultants asked questions to prod feedback and input into the various tasks at hand.  Why wouldn’t they talk?  Was it English?  Filipinos would joke about getting a ‘nosebleed’ if they had to speak too much English.  Was it that they simply couldn’t think for themselves?  I racked my brain endlessly thinking of ways to get the local team to think critically, voice their ideas, and participate in the development of the program.

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