Well, like Frank, I was there to work, and work I did –another successful and fun game – I always enjoy how much the delegates enjoy the experience; we should all have more work that actually makes people happy.
We had a mix of
nationalities and cultures on the game – a real challenge but one that brings
its own extra flavours. I was thinking about those cultural variations on the drive
My driver was a very nice man – a pleasure to share a space with, just enough English to converse, comfortable with silence and caring enough to return from a rest stop with an unsolicited bottle of water for me; plus a cheerful insistence that I try local specialties that I might not have seen before So, all-in-all, clearly he is a man who wants me to be comfortable and survive the journey.
So, why did he frighten the living daylights out of me at irregular intervals on the way? Simply by behaving normally for his culture: using road verges to pass trucks at high speed on the wrong side, overtaking in the middle of road works, driving at high speed within inches of other vehicles. While this seemed reckless to my culture, it is everyday for Brasil. It made me realise that as well as the social variations, culture extends to acceptable risk – what would just result in a late arrival in western Europe is met with a calculated risk to get past the slow moving obstacles, a culture that values speed over safety perhaps? Or more likely just the inevitable reaction to the extreme traffic volumes and conditions there. I didn’t see it as a better nor a worse attitude, just a different one – and there being differences left in the world is something I, for one, feel is an unmitigatedly good thing.
many Brasilian taxi drivers before, so I was not surprised, but what did amaze
me was how quickly and unnoticed that culture got into my thinking and
unconscious actions. Back in the
So if we copy cultural elements so quickly after so short a visit – and that copying spills over into our next situation, do we do that with our customers too? Do we bring the needs of the previous customer we worked with to our next, even if it isn’t the right culture for them? Maybe this is just one more thing for us to watch out for in our business relationships?