My clients are competing globally. They’re experts in their fields, such as global sourcing, energy exploration, government relations, or caring for international patients. They are among the best in their chosen industry and have been well-trained to do their jobs. However, they are not experts in the areas of international protocol or cross-cultural relations and that is negatively impacting their ability to do their jobs. That’s where my expertise comes in. In addition to years of research, education, and training, I have well over 10,000 hours of hands-on experience in the field working with foreign government officials, coordinating meetings and events, and building relationships around the globe.
What are the major challenges my clients are facing?
While each client has a unique need, over the years I have found that most clients come to Garza Protocol for one of five reasons:
They’re hosting a very senior international client or foreign government official, such as an ambassador, cabinet level minister, or president. They understand that in addition to the usual logistics involved in the planning and execution of the event, there are also many cultural and diplomatic nuances that can impact the project’s success. Our clients know that Garza Protocol’s many years of experience managing visits and events, working at the highest levels with officials from every corner of the world, coordinating with the U.S. Secret Service, the State Department, local authorities, and international security agencies, allow us to anticipate most problems that may arise. They are confident that if a difficult situation does occur, we will be able to address it quickly and quietly. Knowing the protocol details are under control, they can then focus on their key business objectives.
Whether here or abroad, our clients are engaging with people from all corners of the globe, and they’re finding that cultural differences can create business challenges. In some cases, this has already cost them a deal or delayed a project. In others, our clients are trying to avoid or minimize problems in advance, and make their teams aware of potential pitfalls in new markets. Today’s workforce may be managing a global team and conducting conference calls or video chats with people in different countries and different time zones. They may be meeting with foreign government officials, or entertaining high-ranking business clients from unfamiliar cultures. Our increasingly multicultural society means that employees must be comfortable working with colleagues and clients from many cultures and many countries. These duties all require skill sets that aren’t usually taught in engineering programs. Most business schools didn’t offer “Small Talk Around the World: What to Say and What to Avoid.” This is where Garza Protocol Associates comes in. We provide the training and hands-on exercises that give business leaders, and even government officials, what former Secretary of State Clinton called “Smart Power,” so they can understand cultural differences and build relationships with people who think and act differently than they do, and ultimately work more effectively together.
Clients also call because they need a relevant, interesting speaker for a conference or event. Someone who will do more than just share a few entertaining stories, which I have, but will also engage with the audience and provide solid educational takeaways. The lessons I’ve learned can help your guests apply various aspects of protocol, corporate diplomacy, and cross-cultural intelligence to succeed in their work. My presentations are tailored to your specific audience, time constraints, and objective.Another reason clients come to us is a desire to better reach out to the community — typically the international community — and develop a strategy for “corporate diplomacy.” Harvard professor Michael Watkins defines corporate diplomacy as the role senior executives play in advancing the corporate interest by negotiating and creating alliances with key external players, including governments, analysts, the media, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Garza Protocol Associates works with our clients by carefully studying and if necessary, defining their global business objectives and capabilities. Then, we develop a strategy to identify key stakeholders, define specific objectives for each, develop a detailed plan to meet those objectives, and work with the client’s team to execute the plan. These clients thereby build long-term relationships that benefit all parties involved.
One more need shared by many of our clients is to help their employees develop a more professional image and etiquette skills equal to their business expertise. They recognize that etiquette skills aren’t generally taught in school or covered by corporate training programs, yet they are essential for success. Knowing how to make small talk, conduct a meeting, dress appropriately for any occasion, and navigate an important business meal can make a real difference in how an individual and his or her organization is perceived. New forces are also at play: new technology brings new etiquette dilemmas. Garza Protocol gives targeted, practical, and strategic guidance to groups and individuals while engaging participants with interactive exercises.