Differences not great
This week I was in contact with one of our Shale Crescent USA prospects and now a friend from Pakistan. Our wives met at an event and are also friends. I happened to mention that I will be unavailable for a couple of days later this month when my wife has knee replacement surgery. My friend was quick to respond, “We will be praying for Lynnda’s speedy recovery.” After our conversation, it occurred to me that I did not even know what religion he was. It didn’t matter. We gladly accept their prayers and best wishers for a speedy recovery. The point is, based on my experience with business people from around the world we are more alike than we are different.
Prior to working with Shale Crescent USA my lifetime international experience was limited to a few trips to Canada, a trip to Mexico, a cruise to the Bahamas and presentations to two Chinese groups here in the USA. I spoke through a translator for one of those groups. This was in a period of over 40 years. Most of my international experience was from vacations.
In the last three years, since becoming involved with Shale Crescent USA, I have traveled internationally and attended six international conferences. We are working with prospects from all over the world. Over 60 percent of our prospects are from overseas with the majority coming from Asia. We have had to adjust to international time since we now have conference calls with Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We did a live radio show on WAJR in Morgantown from our hotel in downtown Tokyo, Japan. It was 10:30 p.m. in Tokyo and 8:30 a.m. in Morgantown. I routinely receive emails at 3 a.m. from places like Europe and the Middle East.
Business people the world over have love and concern for their families and love talking about them. Our friends in Pakistan have four boys. We always end up talking about families. Their boys are very similar to our boys. They want to take them to Disney on a future U.S. trip. Visiting with a Russian businessman during lunch at an international conference, we had Disney in common. He has a 9-year-old son. They had recently been to Disney World and the Magic Kingdom. Pokemon is international phenomenon for kids and grandkids the world over. Lynnda and I called our oldest granddaughter from the Pokemon store in Tokyo.
People love stories. We always use them in our presentations to help understanding and make a point. The Japanese & Chinese loved my soccer coach stories. Soccer is an international sport. Jerry and Wally captivated a packed room of international and U.S. business people at the World Petrochemical Conference this year for over an hour with their passion and the Shale Crescent USA story. The attendees all understood the opportunity when they left.
Business peoples’ focus in on business. We hear a lot about race and religion on our national media. Based on my experiences in the last three years business people don’t care about skin tone, religion or gender. They care about business. At an international conference, there are many different skin colors. No one who is successful cares. It is about people working with people. If it makes good business sense people find a way to work with other business people even if their governments can’t get along. Israelis find a way to do business with Arabs. Pakistanis and Indians find a way to do business even though you can’t fly directly between the two countries.
Security and safety is a concern to all as is international terrorism. At our Select USA spinoff event in Wheeling it was the number one concern of the international attendees. They also see the USA as a safe and secure place to do business. This is one reason they are interested in expanding to the USA. Iranians seizing oil shipments does not sit well with them. If they expand to the Shale Crescent USA they can build on top of their feedstock and maximize security.
We just had the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We probably all remember where were and what we were doing when they happened. I recall driving home from Virginia where I was that day. It was eerie not to see any planes in the air. I remember feeling closer to other Americans. Following those attacks we saw the best in our country with people putting their lives at risk and some dying to help total strangers. It made me proud to be an American. People around the world were concerned for the safety of their families when they saw what happened here. They support our fight against terrorism.
What we see on the nightly news, in my opinion, doesn’t accurately describe how people in business feel about their governments, leaders (including our president) and other people. People are unique. They have different customs and beliefs. However, if talk to people around the world and get to know them we find that people are more alike than different. We want the same things for our families. They want peace. They want prosperity. They are friendly. We can choose to focus on the differences or we can focus on what we have in common and build a strong relationship starting with our commonality.
Arab and Israeli business people and Indian and Pakistani business people can work together based on common goals. We can do the same in business, in government and in our personal lives. We are more alike than different. All things are possible.