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Leadership

Center for Military Readiness Names New Vice President

June 10, 2006 | By | One Comment

As George Bush started to run for president, the story is told about Dick Cheney and his work to help find a Vice President. Numerous talented candidates were evaluated. But none were quite as good as…Dick Cheney.

(Cheney did this before. Dick Cheney says that he set up an exploratory committee for Lynn as she was looking for a husband.)

So I followed the Vice President’s example when Elaine Donnelly asked about hiring staff to help her at the Center for Military Readiness.

I volunteered to set up an exploratory committee and helped evaluate candidates. There were many outstanding contenders. Not-so-Secretly, I wanted the job.

And you can’t beat the Cheney model.

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Jack Yoest Appointed Vice President

of the Center for Military Readiness

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2006

Contact: Elaine Donnelly (734/464-9430 ) or Jack Yoest (202/215-2434);

Website: www.cmrlink.org

Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, is pleased to announce the appointment of John “Jack” Wesley Yoest, Jr., as Vice President of CMR.

Mr. Yoest will represent the Center for Military Readiness in the nation’s capital, and will work with Pentagon policy makers, legislators, and the media on wartime military personnel policies of concern to CMR. He will also be involved in research and production of CMR Policy Analysis reports and publications, and will manage initiatives in development, marketing, and new media on the Internet.

Donnelly predicted that the expertise and vision that Yoest brings to the new position will heighten the organization’s presence and influence in Washington D.C., and further extend the organization’s reach into the ranks of active duty men and women worldwide. “Jack’s abilities as a writer, successful entrepreneur and business consultant, plus his military background, will help CMR to increase awareness of policy decisions that affect discipline, morale and readiness, especially in time of war.”

Mr. Yoest has started successful manufacturing and software businesses, advised non-profit CEOs on fundraising and strategic direction, and has consulted with domestic and international companies in the fields of high technology, biotechnology and medical devices. He served as an Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources during the administration of Virginia Governor James Gilmore. He was Chief of Technology during the Secretariat’s Year 2000 (Y2K) conversion, and was a key advisor on the state’s website development and policy construction for electronic commerce (e-business).

Mr. Yoest earned an MBA from George Mason University and completed graduate work in the International Operations Management Program at Oxford University. A former Captain in the U. S. Army and son of a 30-year Navy submariner, Yoest served in combat arms and on the U.S. Armor and Engineer Board, which directed research and conducted testing with night vision and electro-optics.

His articles on business, military, and social/cultural subjects have been published in National Review Online, The Women’s Quarterly, and Small Business Trends, and syndicated by the Scripps-Howard News Service. Yoest resides in the Washington D.C. area with his five children and wife Charmaine, who is Vice President for Communications at the Family Research Council.

The Center for Military Readiness is an independent, non-partisan public policy organization, founded in 1993, which specializes in military personnel issues.

Center for Military Readiness P.O. Box 51600 Livonia, Michigan 48151

Phone: (734) 464-9430

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The press release was picked up by The Washington Times.

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Mudville has Open Post.

Bribery as a Cost of Doing Business In Washington, DC

May 30, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your Business Blogger

with back office hardware

Bangalore, India In India it’s called “Speed Money.” In Mexico it’s call “Facilitation.” In China it’s called a “Relationship.”

In the US of A, it’s called a “Bribe.”

Except in Washington, DC, where it’s called “Love.”

Frank Robinson, an Inspector for the Washington, DC Department of Transportation was caught on tape asking for love; asking for a bribe. According to The Washington Times, May 25, 2006:

Mr. Robinson: You want your permit right away, right?

Contractor: D*mn right I want my permit.

Mr. Robinson: You need to love me, baby, you need to love me. I did my part; you didn’t get no fines or anything.

Contractor: Give me a price. I got to talk to my people about money. Tell me how much.

Mr. Robinson: What you think man? If you had somebody …watch something so you didn’t get a $2,500 ticket?

Contractor: Frank, I need a price.

Mr. Robinson: Give me $500.

Sounds much like doing business in a Third World Nation. Or maybe it is. As Washington, DC has often been compared.

Your Business Blogger once had a boss in the medical device business working the Washington, DC hospitals. He advised me on how to deliver “the gratuity” which was usually in a brown paper bag, to the key influencers and decision makers. My boss was a pro. He directed me to give the goods only after the contract was signed as a “reward.” Rather than before the signed order.

The “thank you” was a box of donuts.

A difference of degree from $100K Congressman Jefferson received as a “gratuity” I suppose.

As Your Business Blogger consults with international clients, particular attention is paid to the difference between a gratuity and a gratuity.

And I would lecture smugly on the superiority of God-fearing English-speaking Capitalists (that’d be us) ruling the world.

(Test: Find something in your house made in China Syria.)

People always ask, “What is the main difference in business between USA and [country X]?

The short answer is that North America has trust as then central tenet of business. The Puritan Work Ethic. I would advise, discreetly, that Americans expect an honest deal. The rest of the world expects to get screwed.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

The North American flavor of capitalism makes the most money and leaves the best taste. Even with an occasional rotten apple in Your Nation’s Capital.

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Al D'Amato, Leadership and the Courts

May 29, 2006 | By | No Comments

A few years ago Your Business Blogger would occasionally share an elevator with then Senator Al D’Amato (R-NY) where he had a hide-a-way of some sort. He was Senator from 1981 to 1999 until losing to Charles Schumer. D’Amato was personable, for a New Yorker, I suppose.

Al was willing to work the small things, like most of our legislators. But not the big things. Big things expected of leaders.

Senator Al D’Amato (R-NY) had such attention to detail to the everyday needs of his voters that he earned the not unkind moniker: Senator Pothole.

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Senator Al D’Amato

Power, Pasta and Politics

While the Congress has devolved into a low-level constituent service provider, the Courts have evolved into legislative law givers. Our elected officials will fulfill our every request — save make a difficult decision.

They are all Senator Pothole now.

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Fixing Potholes

Need a road repair on your street? Can Do — call your Senator. Vote on abortion? Can’t be done.

Fix immigration or fight a war? Not today. Congress does potholes and potshots.

Professor of Law, Lino A. Graglia wrote in the Wall Street Journal, that our very system of government has been changed by activist judges. While our legislators are busy with pork-barrel politics, our judges are running the country:

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Lino Graglia

The battles in Congress over the appointment of even lower court federal judges reveal a recognition that federal judges are now…our real law makers. . .

The problem is that the Supreme Court justices have made the due process and equal protection clauses empty vessels into which they can pour any meaning.

This converts the clauses into simple transferences of policymaking power from elected legislators to the justices…

And it’s not clear the legislators want policymaking power back.

Political Scientist, Hadley Arkes suggests in his book, Natural Rights and the Right to Choose, that coddling the voters will ensure re-election. Making hard voting decisions will alienate some and might cost a election. Congress would rather the Courts make controversial decisions and take the heat — judges have tenure, anyway, so who cares? Congress would rather just stay out of the kitchen.

Potholes, yes. Abortion, no.

D’Amato is capable of some big decisions. He dumped his first wife — the mother of his four children.

He is a managing director of Computer Associates and doesn’t appear yucking it up on Imus anymore. In business he’s got real decisions to make these days.

Real leaders make the tough calls.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Cross Post from Reasoned Audacity.

09 May

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Job Interview: 3 Questions for Your Prospective Boss

May 9, 2006 | By | 4 Comments

In your job search you are prepared to answer many questions.

But there are questions you should be prepared to ask. Questions for your possible new boss. And not just the trite and true, “Tell Me How You Came To XYZ Corp.” My questions are to (dis)qualify him. You may not want to work for him. And if you really, really need the job, you at least won’t be blind-sided.

1) Love. Does he love me? I was humbled to have Jesse Brown, the former Veteran’s Administration Secretary for Bill Clinton, as a business partner.

“Does he love me?” was Jesse’s one rule for taking on a new client or a new job. “If the love’s there, all else will fall in.” Look for; get the feel for the love. Yes, yes, I know it’s an emotion. But so is misery. Look for the love.

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The Honorable

Jesse BrownJesse was an honorary campaign manager for the Al Gore presidential race. Which meant he was a $100K contributor. And could have any job he wanted. So I asked him why he gave the money, he wasn’t going to take a position in a new administration. “I wanted to help my friends get jobs.” He didn’t need anything for himself; he sincerely wanted to help others. Including me. And no, I was not about to take any Gore job. Please. But he could have made it happen.

2) Strategy. What would you do if you hit the lottery? Or the IPO is successful, the rich uncle dies. What would your potential boss do if he had a sudden windfall of piles of cash? I asked that in a job interview and was surprised. The hiring manager leaned back, and with a far away look in his eye talked about opening up a marina. His big dream. His big dream was not in that building and I wasn’t a part of it. I didn’t feel the love.

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JJ Abrams with Tom Cruise

Credit: Stephen VaughanThe right answer is seen in JJ Abrams, the director of Mission Impossible III with Tom Cruise. He was recently asked what he did with all his money and about his work,

Next up for Abrams is a “Star Trek” movie, now in pre-production, which will unleash his inner geek as never before. He’ll also be working on “Lost,” trying to ensure the show doesn’t splinter into so many directions that it chokes on itself or stops moving.

There’s not a lot of talk from him about downtime.

Asked if he has any plans for his money, he seems confused.

“What money?”

You know, the money you get paid for all this incredibly lucrative work.

He thinks for a moment, then tilts his head and points to his locks.

“Hair care,” he says.

The reporter’s question was met with a joke. JJ Abrams really didn’t think about the money, didn’t think about the stuff it could buy. Or taking long vacations. He was consumed with his passion of making movies. The Love.

If you had the wealth of Solomon you should be doing exactly what you are doing now. The right answer from your potential manager is, “If I struck oil in my front yard, I’d still be doing what I’m doing now.” And he is really saying, “I love it here and so will you.”

3) Tactics. What classes are you taking now? Continuous learning is, well, continuous. Life-long-learning is the hallmark of leaders.

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Benjamin Franklin“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” said Benjamin Franklin. An outstanding prospective boss is reading a compelling book, just finished a seminar on international business etiquette, or studied parallels on initiative between business units and military units for a board presentation.

Education and continuous improvement is the one thing every boss should care about.

I was surprised to learn this.

Your Business Blogger once acted as the COO of a Fortune 350 size organization. In my first meeting with the human resource directors, I asked them what was the one thing our employees wanted.

I thought it would be more money. More time off. Vacations days. Sick leave. The typical union demands.

Nope. The nine HR professionals, who happened to all be women said, unanimously, education. More budget and time for improving knowlege, skills and abilities. More opportunities for studies and credentials. (Then they’d clamor for increased pay based on increased efficiency. Clever buggers.)

So we opened attendance for adult education programs at local universities and community colleges. And squeezed out budgets for fancy business consultants to teach advanced management skills. Everyone was happy. Our employee retention rate improved.

If your new manager doesn’t care about adult education for himself, he won’t care about it for you.

So you are now armed with three qualifying questions to test your next boss. Or try them on your current boss if you are looking for an excuse to leave. But get a new job first.

And let me know how it goes.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Jesse Brown passed away almost 4 years ago. I still miss him. My inaugural post was dedicated to him.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Starbucks Coupon from China, Redeemed in Maryland

April 5, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Starbucks in China A well meaning friend gives me a gift certificate from Starbucks. While we were in Shanghai.

So I pack it home, thinking I would attempt to redeem in the US of A, then blog bad when Starbucks shirks.

[sigh]… lots of bad things to say about the liberal Starbucks. But not this time.

So. So me and my older boy barge into our local Starbucks, it was close — they built one in my front yard — and bark to see the manager.

A pleasant young lady, the smiling shift leader, the liberal-chirpie-communist looks at my certificate.

The traditional Chinese calligraphy is difficult to understand; the only thing legible (to us) is the Starbucks logo.

“I demand redemption,” I’m a-smirking.

She doesn’t stop smiling. Looking at the certificate, although confused, she says, “Yes.”

I’m crushed.

I give her the Full Disclosure about Your Business Blogger bashing Starbucks. I ask her a few questions.

Meagan, from Texas, was transferred with her Navy husband to Maryland.

(This is the only way Maryland gets any jobs. The only way Texas loses any employees.)

Anyway, I ask her why she took my scrip from Shanghai. “It’s our ‘Just Say Yes’ program. We want to make our customers happy.”

A simple procedure, a simple policy. The bigger the company, the broader the audience, the simpler the sound bite.

Not unlike Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” Meagan’s “Just Say Yes!”

Revealing a positive attitude and an effective training program. Starbucks will never need Your Business Blogger consultant. Not that they’d ever ask anyhoo.

I don’t think Meagan is a communist. Or even a liberal, married to a Navy guy from Texas and all.

We redeem the coupon for a creme based yummie frozen chocolate chip 12 oz for The Dude to celebrate his home run.

We leave happy. Darn it.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

So why boycott Starbucks? Following is a cross post from Charmaine from last April.

Color-coded Shopping: Starbucks, Out! Dunkin’ Donuts In!

As reported by Brenda Goodman in one of my favorite lefty business mags, Fast Company, there’s a new source for color-coding your shopping and coordinating your voting and your spending habits.

Check out www.choosetheblue.com and www.buyblue.org: they’ve compiled the data on how corporate PAC’s and corporate leadership contributed in the last election cycle.

There’s bad news for conservative coffee drinkers: Starbucks, 100% Dem!! And what’s this betrayal from Bed, Bath and Beyond??

Sorry buyblue guys, you heard it here first: this cuts both ways.

No more Starbucks for this girl!

Is this what’s behind the left-wing war on Wal-Mart? Hey, two sides can play this game. If Wal-Mart or Sam’s don’t got it, we don’t need it — (with apologies to Garrison Keillor).

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(For more on political color, see here: conservatives are the new progressives. . .)

Update 18 June 2005: Patterico’s Pontifications reviews the high cost of coffee: See-Dub: A Little Lattetudinarianism, Please

Update: Sean at The American Mind reminds us that coffee cost is de minimus. See Coffee is a Drop in the Bucket.

Update: Daniel W. Drezner questions assumptions in coffee cost in Which editor at the Washington Post owes Blaine Harden money?

Update July 13: AttaBoy points to a lefty humorous site where Starbucks is loved and WalMart hated.

see Basil’s Blog for a picnic.

03 Apr

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Savage Places Second in the Cal Ripken Tournament

April 3, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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Savage Spirit, Maryland

Championship First Runner-Up

Cal Ripken, Opening Day Tournament

2006, 11u, years old and under

Vince Lombardi once said, “The Green Bay Packers never lost a football game. They just ran out of time.”

Coach Scott Grebenstein must be saying the same thing. Running out of time and innings in the final championship game Sunday afternoon with the Maryland Cardinals. Score: Savage behind Cardinals, 11 to 12, to place second.

He led the Savage Spirit baseball team this weekend on a series of wins and a “slaughter rule” upset over the Maryland Mud Hens.

It started Friday nite. Your Business Blogger packed up Charmaine and the Penta-Posse into the monster SUV for two nites in Aberdeen, Maryland. Home of the Cal Ripken Stadium complex. Opening Day Tournaments.

We saw old friends from Charlottesville baseball allstar days. Charmaine teared up. Not me. Although it was windy andblowingdustgetsinyoureyesandwateruptogetdustout.

(Hint: moving 11 times in 15 years of marriage is too many good-bys. Too many hellos.)

Anyway. The team played well. The Dude played well.

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The Dude pitching

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Wind up

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Delivery: 3 up, 3 down

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The Dude can hit The Dude got his first over the fence home run on Sunday.

Congratulations Savage Spirit on a great season’s opener!

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Thank you (foot)notes:

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Cal Ripken Baseball

Media Alert: Jack On Small Business Trends Radio

March 7, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Small Business Trends

Forbes Winner Your Business Blogger will be discussing Top 10 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make with Their Employees.

Hit time is Tuesday, March 7th at 1pm EST.

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Anita Campbell

Live.

Visit Small Business Trends and click through the microphone at top right.

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Small

Business

Trends

Radio

The award winning Small Business Trends is hosted by Anita Campbell. Her collaborator is Steve Rucinski at Small Business CEO.

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Small Business CEO, published since May 2004

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Small Business Trends is sponsored by Six Disciplines on www.business.voiceamerica.com. Safe for workplace listening.

Strategic Resources for Non Profits

March 2, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Peter Drucker

courtesy: Claremont Peter Ferdinand Drucker passed away November 11, 2005. But his work and frameworks will serve management for some time to come.

Your Business Blogger was recently asked for resources to outline a strategy for a non-profit. Nothing beats Drucker:

The Five Most Important Questions

You Will Ever Ask

About Your Non Profit

Organization

1) What is our business (mission)?

2) Who is our customer?

3) What does the customer consider value?

4) What have been our results?

5) What is our plan?

One of the sharpest business minds I’ve ever worked with, Leon Masiewicki, Ph.D., a former McKinsey consultant, expanded Dr. Drucker’s questions with a list of his own:

1. How do you define your business?

2. Can you describe an ideal customer? Can you describe a bad customer?

3. Who are your competitors? Why are you better? What advantages does your competitor have? How do you stack up on the cheaper/faster/better scale?

4. What growth rate are you anticipating for the next three – five years? Why?

5. What are your three/five year profit projections? Why?

6. What are the organization’s plans for expansion/New Markets/Products/Manpower/A Physical Plant?

7. How do you measure quality? What was the rate of quality improvement in the last three years?

8. How much has your company’s productivity (revenue per man-hour, value-added per man-hour) increased?

9. If I handed you a “magic wand” that would allow you to change anything, what would it be?

10. Where would you like to start?

11. What are the strengths of your organization?

11. What are your goals in the next 12 months?

13. What are the obstacles that stand in the way of your group reaching its goals?

14. What do you need, in terms of additional resources or training, to do your job more effectively?

A business session with Drucker was a Socratic conversation where he asked questions non-stop. You will notice that Leon’s list is like Drucker’s:

Questions.

The answers come from the leadership of the organization. I have found that the collective wisdom of the top dozen managers from the client company can be extracted, pooled and applied.

Consultants never have any answers.

But you knew that.

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For more information, see Non-Profit Board Management

So what is leadership really?

Drucker’s Writing Secret

Non-profit Boardmanship in Business Development; a short Powerpoint to the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council.

And see more of Leon Masiewicki’s work at Non-Profit Success.

16 Feb

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Who are you and why should I care? The First Rule in Referrals

February 16, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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Tip O’NeillTip O’Neill was a master politician. And people always wanted favors from the former Speaker of the House. Before a visitor would come a-calling, Tip would tell his staff,

“Don’t take nobody, nobody brought.

Tip found it best to bestow favors only on the advice of a known, trusted third party.

The vector — the connector, would be known to both Tip and known to the supplicant. Introductions made. Wheels greased. The fix in.

The Irish know how to do these things. Tip O’Neill. Ronald Reagan. Chris Matthews.

And Sam Ingersoll.

Last night I was on the phone with Sam. He has a compelling case for not killing kids. With Down Syndrome.

Like his son.

Sam’s site is terrific. The flash demo will make you cry. Emotion sells.

But I didn’t know who Sam was. Or anybody that knew him.

How was my suggestion of any currency — donations, links, recommendations — going to reflect on my reputation? And the credibility of Charmaine and groups with which we may have some influence.

So I suggested to Sam that he name names. An informal Board of Advisors on his site. An easy avenue for due diligence beyond Googling.

People who could vouch for Sam. Who could provide connections to Sam.

What the Chinese call guanxi. Personal connections; social capital.

Sam is now assembling a Board of Advisors.

(Unlike a Board of Directors, Advisors don’t need Directors and Officers insurance — however Advisors’ advice doesn’t have to be taken either.)

Sam is doing the right things — Which is Leadership defined.

Now Sam is doing things right — Which is Management defined.

For his son Gabriel. Making the world a better place.

Visit Gabriel’s Angel Network and donate.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Also see Pro-Life Blogs.

What if you needed access to a ‘Tip O’Neill’? How would you get the appointment? See Find a Friend. A pro uses intermediaries.

More on Tip O’Neill at the jump.

See Don Surber’s Best Posts.

A DC Birding Blog is hosting the Carnival of the Vanities for 22 Feb.

Read More

10 Feb

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Capitalism, Culture and Google

February 10, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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GoogleIn Chinese there is no word for “privacy.”

Google’s business practices in China are under question. In having a different product for different counties. I am not so sure Google is departing from a sound business theory. I think Google’s strategy deserves a case study. On doing business in different cultures.

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Yoest, Faisal Alam in

New Delhi, IndiaYour Business Blogger was in India working with North American and Indian managers. Having thrown off our British rulers, we still shared a common English language.

But cultural communication was another matter.

American managers were frustrated that Indian executives and staff were not always truthful.

Or so it seemed.

If a supervisor (of any nationality) would ask an Indian subordinate a closed question such as “Does the report include the budget from Bangalore?” The Indian subordinate reply always would be ‘yes.’ Even if the answer was ‘no.’ Accompanied by a side-to-side movement of the head — which corresponds to the up and down affirmative head nod in America.

Was the Indian employee lying to his superior?

It depends on cultural perspective.

(Yes, yes I know — Alert Readers know well that Your Business Blogger subscribes to Timeless Truth: Truth is not relative.)

But the Indian culture is one of deference and respect for authority. It is not within the languages or culture to say “no” to the boss. Immediate compliance — obedience — is something every boss, in every culture really wants — but American’s seldom openly admit.

The culture is different. Where change to USA standards should not be forced.

Supervisors working with Indian subordinates should only ask open ended questions. A question allowing something other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “Show me the line item for employee taxi expenses for Bangalore.”

The USA manager should understand also that the Indian manager will seldom say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to a subordinate.

Additional questions are time consuming. But necessary to do business across cultures. And to respect differences in culture and tradition.

I think we should ask more questions. And take the first step.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” says China’s Confucius.

A single step from a single person. Countries don’t do business. People do business.

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President Nixon meets with

China’s Community Party Leader,

Mao Tse-Tung on

February 29, 1972

Nixon went to China. Google went to China.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

In Chinese, in The Common Language (Mandarin) there are no words for “private” or “privacy” as we understand in English.

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Nixon at the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China, 24 February 1972

Mark at Mark My Words has commentary.

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