You've Become One of 'THEM'

Posted by: Doug Bruhnke on Saturday, July 25, 2015

This is a story about falling prey to becoming 'one of them'.

About 18 months into my first expat assignment in Japan I was in the U.S. giving a presentation about putting an R&D plant in that market. The idea was that our toughest competitor was in Japan, and so if we could go head-to-head with them there, imagine what we could do against them around the world?

Pretty cool idea, right?

My presentation was successful! The management team that included the TEFLON business in Dupont said YES... they would build the facility to go head-to-head. We would take what we learn there and beat them everywhere.

I was on a high! I knew it was the right thing to do, and I had convinced the big bosses that it was a good idea, too.

A couple things over a couple months derailed the whole thing.

First, the next day one of the executive leaders in my primary business took me aside and slowly warmed up to telling me, "Just to let you know, the general perception here is that you've become one of 'them'." One of them? You mean Japanese, do I look Japanese? Act Japanese? Been brainwashed by the Japanese?

You may have faced a similar circumstance. The dreaded 'you're not one of us' talk. I suppose to bring you back? To change your mind? To shake you into thinking that you need to think like the crowd? To shun you if you don't change, don't think like us?

This is one of those 'human being' things that gets in the way of progress sometimes. The group in power tells someone who has an idea that shakes up the power that they better stop and start thinking more like those in power. Don't shake the boat. Don't make waves.

For those of us in the global tribe, we say 'no, thank you... we'll do what we think is right'.

Can you go to another country, embrace and understand the people, and then make rational, logical and right decisions for the home group?

Um - YES! But that's a little hard for some to fully digest, but it's true.

And so part of the idea behind the Global Chamber beside the direct help we provide companies is that we're also a place for people to be one of 'us' - who are people who can embrace people from other cultures and businesses, and still think with a clear mind.

I mentioned a couple things happened over a couple months.

That second thing? Within 2 months the head of R&D did a backroom deal with the head of the business to stop the project. The plant didn't happen... that is, until nearly 15 years later, when someone got this great idea... let's put a plant in Japan to better compete locally and globally.

And yes, it worked, even 15 years later ;-) It took that long for one of the 'us' to suggest it. Sigh.

The moral of the story? Members at Global Chamber 'get' global business. We can embrace people, culture and ideas and think quite rationally, thank you.

Are you already a member? You're amazing!

Not yet a member? No worries - we love you anyway! Eventually be one of 'us'. Join the Global Chamber.

Global Chamber is the ONLY organization in the world with global reach to 500 metro areas that helps companies and investors anywhere and everywhere cross any and every border with their products, services and investments.

Our members are gaining ground, growing, thriving... unafraid to embrace the 'thems' of the world.

Read more on "How We're Different".

Embrace the world to grow! As one of us!

Join the global tribe.


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