I’m writing you from China where I’m first known as a foreigner, then a Westerner, then perhaps a Mexican and, if lucky, as Adrian. I don’t consider this good or bad, it’s just the way it is. As any other country, China has its own cultural nuances.
Years ago, when I got my first full-time job after law school, Celanese exposed me to the idea of thinking — and acting — globally. That was such a revelation. Until not too long ago, Mexican branches of foreign companies (Celanese included), like everywhere else, acted quite independently from headquarters.
Things have changed. Now, it’s clearly reinforced that Celanese is a multinational company. Still, to truly understand Celanese’s global nature, and perform your work accordingly, you need a certain mindset.
In Shanghai, I’ve understood that “thinking globally” isn’t a corporate trend, but a functional approach. It doesn’t stop at occasional conference calls with Dallas or being aware of the various country sites or that we sell products worldwide. To think globally means that, despite a language/culture barrier, I’m able to perform tasks, and deliver projects working in tandem with those in other country sites. I can only do that with shared objectives and working methods.
I’m also very pleased with how Shanghai employees are more culturally aware of Western countries, which has helped me “make connections” and get things done. Celanese, on its part, adopts those values as their own, using them in business as well as to ensure the welfare of both staff and community at, for example the Annual Dinner, or Sales Open-House.
As mentioned, in China I am recognized by many things before being known by my name. But not in Shanghai. Here my name’s Adrian, and I belong to a bigger team, a bigger family: Celanese.