Three Rules for Global Meetings

Here a few rules for international team meetings, especially those that take place in Asia.

1. Don’t spend  time talking about how great your country is, and the way it’s done in your country. It interests you more than anyone else, and it doesn’t really help that much.

2. Try the food.  All the food. If you don’t try it, at least move it around on your plate.  Don’t say you hate it.

3. Give the Asian local people a chance to talk too!! They may not be as assertive as you.  And English may not be their first language, so they may hesitate in talking up.  That doesn’t mean they don’t want to participate.

I thought everybody knew these, but it’s clear not everyone does.

I’m in a hotel lounge now and there’s a very loud team nearby.  I can’t help but notice them.

Their conversation is basically going like this:

In country X, we do it this way and that’s best.

If I lived here, I’d have to import a case of  stomach medicine.

We do’t do it this way in country Y.

In our country, we don’t ever wear shirts that color.

The Asian guys on the team haven’t said a word.  And they’ve been meeting for more than an hour.

I think they’re all nice people, but the meeting seems to go nowhere.

Every now and then, the “boss” announces a decision and everyone agrees.  [They want to talk about other stuff anyway.]

The disagreement will come later.

No, I’m not going to go over there and say anything.  It’s their team after all.

But if you’re on a global team, think about what you can do to make it work, really work. It has less to do with theory than it has do with will.  The will to make it work.

And if you’re the leader of a team, set some guidelines before the meetings begin so everyone can contribute.  Great leadership, after all, comes from great decisions.

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