Being Bilingual Leads to Better Business Decisions

People fear losing what they have. At least that’s what a recent study showed. Loss aversion can lead to short term decision making that leaves no regard for long term outcomes. The mindset, however, is not permanent. By adopting a second language, the same study demonstrated that people could overcome their natural tendency to see only short term profits.

Loss aversion simply means that someone is more concerned with what they may lose, as opposed to what they may gain. In everyday life, this may lead to a little frugality, but when it comes to an organization’s finances, fearing risk could lead to poor investment decisions. Luckily, a study from the University of Chicago revealed that these tendencies could be averted by learning another language, providing even more reason to invest in a Business English training program for your organization and staff.

The advantages of a second language
Risks are required to succeed in business. That doesn’t necessarily involve jumping at every possible opportunity that comes your way, but you can’t expect to excel if you’re doing things the exact same way as every other business in your respective industry. The greatest gains come at a risk.

Research from the study revealed that by adopting a secondary means of communicating, subjects were more likely to take chances promising a long-term gain at the cost of a possible loss. In one of the experiments, which involved betting on simple coin flips, researchers discovered subjects who were explained the experiment in their native tongue would only take the risk 54% of the time, while those listening via a second language would take it 71% of the time.

In a statement to the journal Psychological Science, the study’s authors are quoted as saying that despite subjects understanding the words they were being told; their emotional responses to them were muted because of a less biased understanding of the language. Working in a secondary language, like Business English, people are less emotionally tethered to what’s being said and, as a result, they tend to look at things more analytically.

The point of thinking long term
Regardless of where your business is operating, whether it is limited to a single market or across the entire international stage, your strategy should always be sustainability. Short-term investments and decisions can certainly bolster immediate numbers, but they come at the cost of long-term viability.

Having a long-term outlook seems like an obvious move, but modern business trends have helped to push companies away from this school of thought. The Friends Provident Foundation found that nearly 80% of chief financial officers would prefer to sacrifice future economic value if it meant satisfying their investors in the now. Unfortunately, while the benefits of short-term investments are quick to fade, their impact remains and can lead to wider, irreversible consequences.

The growing competitiveness of cross-border economics makes long-term thinking less of a suggestion and more of a need. However, the barriers to attaining such a mindset are so deeply ingrained in our psyche that it’s hard to make a decision without first weighing the myriad of factors that shouldn’t really be considered in the first place, like how others will interpret the move. A second language helps to remove that road block.

The objectivity afforded to a person working in a second language can be applied beneficially throughout the gamut of business functions. Having an analytical perspective helps leadership and staff make decisions that will support the company’s structure, reinforcing it so that your business can remain successful not just this quarter, but in the next and the next. Business English will help give your employees the long-term outlook they need to keep your organization competitive.


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