In December, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend three weeks in India. I fell in love with the country and I’ve tried to incorporate some of the lessons I learned from the Indian culture into my own life and business.
Here are some insights that I gleaned from my trip:
- Tradition matters. People in India honor their culture through dress, rituals and customs. Business is often conducted while sharing a cup of tea and honoring unique traditions. Businesses in the U.S. can learn from this approach. It’s important for us to slow down, get to know each other and respect the unique business culture of our customers, vendors and employees. (Click to Tweet)
It’s important for us to slow down, get to know each other and respect the unique business culture of our customers, vendors, and employees.
- A land of entrepreneurs. With 1.3 billion people in a capitalist country, you are bound to see ingenious ideas for making a living. Americans think of India as the land of outsourcing but it’s also the land of mom-and-pop businesses. I was impressed by the industrious nature of the people I met and by the honor given to everyone who works hard. We all need to embrace our entrepreneurial spirit no matter what our job title may be (Click to Tweet).
- Color is vital! I was greatly inspired by the colors of India. Color triggers emotions but too often in the West we ignore color and default to monotones. Color says “look at me” and does not allow you to hide. In business, we need to accept that it’s okay to be more “colorful.” We can be a little flashy and vibrant and still be respected in our professions. Also, a more colorful culture can help ease workplace stress.
- Put the Pedal to the Metal. A car ride in India is a unique, and often terrifying, experience. There are very few traffic rules and lanes barely exist. Cars enter roads without stopping to check for oncoming traffic and the other cars just better be prepared to get out of the way. Horns are used as warning signals and are essential for a safe arrival. But as chaotic as it is, it works. For businesses to meet our goals, maybe we could learn a few things from Indian drivers: plow straight ahead, honk your horn to announce your plan and always play offense.
On my desk I’ve placed a picture of my husband and me riding an elephant in India. This picture is a daily reminder of my wonderful trip and the lessons I learned. It’s a colorful picture with beautiful scenery in the background. We have smiles on our faces and my hands are tightly gripping the seat. Riding an elephant was not like riding a horse. It was bumpy, uncomfortable and at times scary. Yet, it was also fun, rewarding and absolutely worth the effort. Sounds just like running a business!