Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Nap, and a Quick Refresher Course in International Cultural Studies

In the words of my good friend Joe Smith, a Sunday afternoon without a good long nap is a mis-spent Sunday afternoon. I find that I must agree with Joe's assessment. And to that end, I took a two-hour nap today. I slept so hard I snored, drooled and dreamed - all benchmarks for a good nap.
Ol' Buddy is a pro at napping. When I nap on the couch, he hops up, gets between my legs and positions himself so that he can lay his head on the calf of my leg, and watch Jilda on the other couch. On a good day, when the phone doesn't ring, we spend what I consider quality time relaxing.
I think our good neighbors to the south have the right idea - which is to take a two-hour lunch which includes a siesta. One of my classes in the Master's program was International Cultural Studies. The idea was to introduce students to the concept that not everyone is American. Different cultures value different things. One case study detailed how an American phone company was in head to head competition for a major piece of business in Mexico. The American team focused on the superior product, superior support, and best pricing.
The French, who had actually done their homework on the culture, focused on the relationships. Their approach was to establish a personal connection to the decision makers and sell what the customers wanted - which was the belief that there was more to the deal than just a good telephone. The French, "did as the Romans did" which was take a siesta after lunch and work into the night to seal the deal.
While the French were taking a leisurely nap, the Americans were working on proposals, talking points, price breaks, service niches, and strategy alignment. The Type A Americans never understood why they did not get the contract.
This post took a strange and unexpected turn, but that happens sometimes. You play the hand you are dealt.

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