Sunday, April 27, 2014

No email in the evening? Shocking.

This week Fast Company  ran an article picked up from The Guardian, The French Move to Protect Workers from After Hours Email”.

 It created quite a stir among readers who most often write about being overwhelmed by email 24/7 or eagerly read about others taking an “email sabbatical”.    It turns out that the ban will effect about less about a quarter of a million workers – not the entire French professional population and that France is not the only country to try to protect their worker’s evenings. (No email after 6:00 pm).  Germany has a similar law.

Taken out of context it’s quite amazing.  Legislating when people can send and receive email.  But legislation to protect workers from working too much, to insure there’s time to spend with families isn’t new in France or in Germany either.  There are strict limits on operating hours for retail establishments.  Don’t try to shop for groceries on or most anything else on a Sunday or most days after 8:00 pm.   No running into Ralph’s (a major grocery chain in Los Angeles) at midnight to pick up yogurt and fruit for breakfast.    

This legislation can be seen as a reminder to those of us focused on doing as much as possible as quickly as possible, who are excited that Amazon is moving toward same day delivery  so we can get what we want faster that not everyone follows that path.   In some places the emphasis is on people and relationships rather than schedules and tasks.  Something to consider as we plan our next business trip.  Maybe we should allow some extra time to have that lunch, dinner or a conversation with our colleagues instead checking our email and voice mail one more time.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Differences matter too

Last week I wrote about the idea of looking for similarities as a way to connect, develop an understanding and appreciation of places and cultures not our own.

This week it’s differences that are on my mind thanks to an article in the Globalist. (     “Russia and Europe:  Separated at Birth draws from Yegor Gaidar’s book Russia a Long View.   The article lists ten differences, economic and geographic , between Europe and Russia.  These are differences that shaped the attitudes, views of each other that are important to recognize as daily headlines shout out the tensions between the two.
To understand the events of today we often need to look backwards. What came before?  What led us to the opinions we now hold?  Similarities, differences, history.  They all matter.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pizza: Similar but Different

As we prepare for working, traveling and living  globally – finding ourselves in places new to us - we talk , read and ask about the differences we’ll find.  What will it be like?  How will people act? Dress?  Do business?  (Unless of course we assume everything will be exactly as it is at home and then the surprises begin.)

But we seldom start from a place where we ask – what will be similar?  – not the same but similar.  Justin Bariso’s  post “Becoming Multicultural – Learning How to Fish for Success  (  makes the point that that there’s value in seeing similarities in places that are not familiar.   For example, he notes that we all eat.    I’d add we may even eat the same things  - the similarities - and yet pizza at MammaMia in Florence  ( )is a different experience than pizza eaten in downtown Los Angeles at California Pizza Kitchen.(‎).  Similar but different. 

Looking for similarities offers us a way to feel connected, maybe offers a sense of comfort that comes from what’s familiar.   It can help us avoid being overwhelmed by the differences we see and experience in a new environment.  We can then move from seeing the familiar to noting the differences – comparing and contrasting.

It isn’t a matter of pretending that differences don’t exist.  Rather it’s a way of looking around, being curious, searching for a clues that can help us adapt and understand.  What unexpected similarities will you find the next time you are in a new place?  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Map You Love

It’s so easy to check into a hotel, pick up the paper map that they have for guests and head out to explore a new city.  But will that map really get you where you want to go?

I’d never thought much about it until last week exploring Rome with a friend, trying for find the apartment I'd rented for a visit in July.  Between us we had 3 books with maps and two copies of the hotel map. (Unfortunately my favorite Street Wise was no where to be found)

To our surprise each map showed a slightly different version of the city.   Sometimes the street we wanted didn’t even appear.  Sometimes it was shown but connected to streets with different names. Which one to believe?  Where to go?

Of course paper maps and ones printed in books aren’t the only guides to a city.  If you can get WiFi Google is there to help.  Or before leaving home download a map App that doesn’t require WiFi from the iTunes store.   We have choices.

But if you’re a fan of a printed map, happy standing on a corner trying to read names of streets  off the sides of buildings, then I recommend my favorite Street Wise maps.(streetwisemaps.comI love them for the reference list they provide of street names, monuments, places of interest that makes it easy to find what I’m looking for.

To find that one map that you like the best find one that you like for your city.  Does it give you the information you’d want as a visitor? If so, you may find that it does it for cities where you’ll travel.  Find a map you love and enjoy the adventure of discovering a new place.