The Hidden Value of Immigrant Professionals
Migration, as old as humanity itself, is an evergreen issue. Immigration is a big issue in every part of the world. The value of immigration to any receiving country is in leveraging and integrating the immigrants who are already within its borders – 260 million worldwide – 45 million (about the population of Spain!) in the US alone.
America is the largest nation of immigrants, is the most dominant economy in the world. One in eight Americans is an immigrant. Many technology and scientific institutions that propelled the US economy were started by immigrants. Can you imagine America or Silicon Valley without immigrants? The US government does not have programs to integrate and leverage immigrants. It is up to individuals, organizations and communities to assist and leverage the immigrants. Organizations, communities and countries are losing billions by failing to leverage the unique value of immigrants.
“Immigrant professionals are not problems to be managed; they are assets to be leveraged.”
Current diversity and inclusion efforts focus on minorities (based on sex, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation), not on immigrants.
Fitting in: Well-intentioned leaders of organizations, communities, governments and immigrant support groups help immigrants to ‘fit in’ and assimilate. Others focus on external aspects of immigrants like culture – food, clothing, the arts, etc. Some people consider the immigrants as liabilities and focus on getting them to assimilate and become insiders – or get rid of them.
The ‘fitting in’ paradigm presumes that the dominant culture, whether in an individual, organization, business, community or nation, has the right answers and knows the right way. Forcing immigrants to assimilate into the ways of the dominant culture often results in incremental improvements while businesses, communities and countries seek game-changing radical innovation.
“Immigrant professionals are catalysts for change and innovation, wherever in the world they are.”
Every one of us has a certain mindset – shaped by our environment, upbringing, culture, education and experiences. Immigrants are naturally bi-cultural – they have double vision. That is why two people looking at the same incident have different perspectives. Scientific research has shown that individuals with a bi-cultural mindset – being able to look at a situation from two different perspectives – are more innovative and make better decisions. It is the practice of, “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” If a different perspective is useful, why would you ask immigrants to ‘fit in’? If you have a team of locals and immigrants looking at a problem, the naturally bi-cultural perspective of immigrants provides an advantage over a purely local group. They can make businesses, communities and nations more innovative and vibrant.
“Immigrants have double vision.”
Thinking outside the box: Leaders frequently urge their followers to ‘think outside the box’ and organizations spend billions hiring outside consultants to bring outside perspectives. Immigrants are natural outsiders who can ‘think outside the box’. Both leaders and immigrants frequently fail to tap into the outsider role of immigrants. Businesses, communities and nations can become more innovative by leveraging immigrants.
“ImmigDiversity leverages the strengths of immigrants and non-immigrants to propel organizations, communities and nations.”
A particular group of immigrants that works on high-value activities are immigrant professionals. They are self-selected, educated, driven and persistent – people like Elon Musk (Tesla), Sergey Brin (Google), Satya Nadella (Microsoft) and Dara Khosrowshahi (Uber). 33 of 85 American Nobel Prize winners since 2000 are immigrants. They can play the role of catalysts for radical innovation, providing a HUGE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE to businesses, communities and countries that leverage their unique mindset. Immigrants possess many more inherent abilities not tapped by most people, organizations and countries.
“Diversity is the art of thinking together independently and then acting in unison.”
I have an eye-opening keynote on the hidden value of immigrants which is based on the 75+ interviews and plan to interview over 150 people for the book. Among the people I have interviewed several world-renowned experts on culture and mindsets – Sir Richard Lewis (Lewis Model), Prof. Gert Jan Hofstede (Cultures & Organizations), Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille (Culture Code), Dr. Linda Brimm of INSEAD (Rise of Global Cosmopolitans), Dr. Bruce Lipton (Biology of Belief) and Dr. Ellen Langer of Harvard (mother of mindfulness and mindsets). Business leaders I have interviewed include Dr. Vinod Dham, father of the Intel Pentium chip, Mick Farrell, CEO, ResMed, Jorge Ferraez, President & Publisher, Latino Leaders magazine, Desh Deshpande, member of the MIT Corporation, Hadi Partovi, founder of Code.org & Sunil Gulati, former president, US Soccer Federation. THIS TALK IS NOT ABOUT THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION OR A DEBATE BETWEEN GLOBALISM AND NATIONALISM.
I am currently co-authoring the book, The Mindset of Successful Immigrant Professionals, with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith (www.ramviyer.com/books/immigrant-mindset).
My speaker website is www.ramviyer.com.
I have an eye-opening keynote on the HIDDEN VALUE OF IMMIGRANT PROFESSIONALS – download keynote sheet here.
Are you an immigrant wanting to raise your personal brand?
To raise the profile of immigrant professionals, we will publish over 100 interviews on various podcasting platforms including iTunes, and highlights of the interviews as articles, tweets and posts on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
Do you want your immigrant journey published as a podcast on social media alongside over 100 immigrant professional luminaries from across 25 countries – including Nobel Prize winners, CEOs, leaders, experts, entrepreneurs, techies and non-techies?
If you are an immigrant professional interested in being interviewed for the book and having your interview and insights be among those of the luminaries, you can learn details of the offer and sign up at https://www.ramviyer.com/immigrant-podcast-listing-offer.