Business is full of sporting metaphors and as far as the VICI language Academy is concerned the multilingual example set by Arsene Wenger truly sets the standard that businesses should model themselves on.
Arsenal’s signing the wunderkind Mesut Ozil has gone on record saying it was the Frenchman’s fluent use of the player’s native German that persuaded him to join the English club.
Certainly the international flavour of many premiership teams must place challenges on managers who are no multilingual, or even bilingual; relying on the players to speak English is fraught with the risk of miscommunication.
In fact Wenger could have spoken to him in French, German, English, Spanish, or Italian or with a good command of Japanese!
While few businesses will have the international make up of a premiership team or the multilingual dexterity of Wenger, even a soupcon of international flavour could create challenges if the right people are not able to speak the relevant language – whether it is a foreign worker learning English, or English workers learning a foreign language.
Speaking to a group a schoolchildren, Wenger explained how growing up in a small French village had inspired him to want to learn other languages – not least English as he wanted to play football.
He told them: “It is not only that you speak well, the language; I felt when you get deeply into a language you know more about the culture and you understand better people. Because the language, the way the sentences are built has a very big influence on the way people behave and you penetrate much more the way people think and the way people behave. I felt every time I was in another country and I started to learn the language, I didn’t speak perfectly the language but I always felt I understood them more.”
During the speech Wenger explains how he insists on players learning English and explains while the body language of the game helps, it is communication that is fundamental and the first thing to go when the team starts to lose.
Could the same be said of your business? If you are muddling along and hoping for the best with staff not all speaking the same language then you could be heading for an own goal! What will happen when the pressure is on? Or when the team are not winning?
If you have international employees or are planning to employ foreign workers do come and talk to use at The VICI Language Academy in Newbury and discover how our unique approach to ensuring good communication whether its speaking English or another language is already helping businesses improve their performance.