Just got back from Amman Jordan and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. While there I recalled a speech I heard over 15 years ago from a Swiss professor on International business. What she said was that we should focus on the similarities around the world vs. the differences. At the time, this sure seemed like counter intuitive thinking as I had always been told that doing global business was about the differences. Over the years, and this past week it occurs to me that she was right on target. Talking about selling and negotiating in any other country is slightly different versions of the same discussion in the US.
The more profound thing that hit me this week was the similarities we have as people. From taxi drivers in Amman to radio hosts and business owners in Kuala Lumpur, the conversations I had brought me hope for the world. Every person I met was respectful of religions, countries and cultures of others. Their concerns and desires were the same as ours; lead a good life, do good business, be a strong parent or role model and leave more good than bad when it’s all over.
I think one thing that could heal the world is if everyone could travel and simply talk with and get to know one another on the street, separate of the filters of news and other talking heads. When we can see for ourselves, we see that we’re all more alike than different.