Many languages - but the same messages

So, I just returned from an amazing 16-day journey, literally to the other side of the world.  We helped our client with two advisory board meetings - one in Istanbul for the European market and the other in Dubai, addressing the needs of the Middle Eastern and Northern Africa markets.

What I found absolutely amazing is this:  There were 17 countries represented at the European meeting and 11 at the meeting in Dubai.  The issues they faced in their respective organizations transcended geographical boundaries.  In fact, in our post-meeting survey, many indicated that one of the best outcomes of the meetings for them was the opportunity to discuss common issues and then to bring ideas and potential solutions to the host organization.  It's one thing to have open dialogue between company and advisors when everyone speaks the same language, but clearly another to have such valuable communications when there are so many cultural and linguistic barriers. 

Another observation is that it's human nature to view certain cultures through jaded lenses, those imposed upon us by the media and close-minded acquaintances.  But the value of truly understanding other cultures, both personally and from a business perspective, is beyond comprehension.  The people I had the good fortune to meet from 28 different countries made my journey the exciting, enriching and fulfilling trip that it was.  I wish everyone had the chance to learn from as many different cultures as I have.  

In closing, I would just make this recommendation.  Because the world has become a much smaller place because of the global business climate that has evolved in recent years, take some time each week to learn something about international business.  It will not only serve you well, it's really quite exciting.

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