Saturday, September 27, 2008

Little Things That Make a Difference

As I attended the conference, one thing came out over and over - little things make a big difference. Here is what I mean. When you are talking about relationships with people all over the world, little things that seem insignificant can mean a lot, for good or for bad.

One example is the conference call. When you schedule a conference call with a group from around the world, who picks the time? Is the US office getting the most convinient time during business hours?

So many times we are in a hurry to get something done. In our haste we overlook things that show another culture that they are not valued. This happens between any two cultures but as we try to work together it keeps us from building trust.

Those silly little mistakes communicate more than hundreds of hours of meetings and thousands of airline miles logged. So how can we pay attention to the little things?


WilsonGlobal said...

I think we can go a long way toward noticing the little things when we truly take to heart the Biblical admonition in Philippians 2 to humbly consider the interests of others. That means looking out for what is best for THEM, not just for me.

That's not always easy. It means that I have to pay attention. It means that I have to ask a lot of questions. It means that I have to work on building relationships.

No, it's not easy, but the rewards are well worth the effort.


Dave Hackett said...

As for scheduling international conference calls, I'd suggest a better standard than whether the time is set in the West, or whether it's convenient for the West or North or South or East. The standard that is most convenient (that is, during normal daytime hours) to the most participants should prevail.

For that I have been very indebted to and its World Clock Meeting Planner. This shows each participating member's time zones in comparison with each other and uses color coding (red for nighttime, yellow for margins of the day, green for daytime) to let one quickly see the time slot for a conference call that is most convenient for the majority of participants.