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Synopsis

This high tech semiconductor chip manufacturing plant on the border of California and Mexico was in serious trouble.  Its reputation had been tarnished, its image seriously damaged, and its future uncertain due to the plant’s lingering quality and delivery issues. The corporation was on the verge of losing one of their top customers due to the Mexican plant’s performance. Change was needed and urgency was the order for the day!

This true story describes how the author, a born and bred U.S. citizen, was cast into a new unfamiliar and uncomfortable environment in Mexico with the task of leading the operational transformation of a large Mexican maquiladora plant, whose output controlled the majority of the company’s revenue.

Without knowing the language, customs, or traditions, Karl Mentzel shares his real life experiences over a three-year period in Mexicali, Mexico, a city of one million people, as he is confronted with the challenges and differences of two countries and cultures.

As the only U.S. resident citizen in a plant of over 2,000 Mexican national employees, he describes his team’s extraordinary journey that led them from a marginally performing plant to one that achieved national recognition as the country’s top maquiladora, after being selected to receive the highly coveted National Export Award personally from Mexico’s President, Vicente Fox.

Throughout the book, he draws upon the values instilled in his upbringing and from his past experiences and mentors and describes how they so significantly influenced his leadership in this extremely challenging role. Mr. Mentzel conveys the disciplined and radical changes and initiatives that were launched to enable the successful transformation, while maintaining respect for the team’s cultural values and differences.

Crossing the Cultural Border is a must read for any business person entering a new country or culture to effectively lead and transform organizations.

 

 

 

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