Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Way Forward

The Financial Times (www.ft.com) published an article recently titled Fifty Who Will Frame a Way Forward. Fifty people from around the world that they identified as leaders toward our future. Politicians, bankers, investors, heads of institutions economists, industrialists, representatives of media and academia. Some names were well known, (Barak Obama and Angela Merkel) others not so familiar (Lous Jiwei and Michel Pebereau). You can find the list at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2fe0826a-0dac-11de-a10d-0000779fd2ac.html.

While the list is interesting what I believe is most important point in the article is the reminder that it is networks, connections and links between individuals and institutions that will lead us forward. Isolation on any level will not work. Our futures depend on our ability to connect with people everywhere.

Once you understand that reality then its time to think about building the networks. It seems simple but sometimes it isn’t. Differences in business culture can limit our possibilities. Errors as seemingly small matters as knowing when to drink your wine at dinner, how to greet someone, and what time is “on time” can create friction and misunderstandings. Each culture in each country is unique. Differences occur in daily activities as well as in patterns of management, style of negotiations, the pace of activities.

To build networks, connections critical to our futures, spend some time learning about the varied definitions of how business is conducted, the culture that shapes the behavior you can observe. Be seen as knowledgeable, polite, linked to the world. Be prepared to be successful.

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