Japan was recently in the news for their fan’s behavior at a world cup game. After the game the fans cleaned the stadium before they left (Even though their team lost). The message this sent to the rest of the world was one of responsibility and good behavior. The question that came to my mind was “Why is it that people in Japan that can afford to travel, are generally the best that their society has to offer?” Is it that the Japanese in general have better manners or is there more to it?
The USA for example, is not a bad place to live and the people are generally great, but American’s that I have met while traveling have not been representative of the population in general. I suspect that this is a product of the environment in which we live. I might even go so far as to speculate that the business environments in the two places could be mapped directly to who gets higher salaries and that in turn to who gets to travel abroad.
If this is true, does it imply that there is something fundamentally wrong with how we do business or what traits we value in business leaders? I would suggest to you that the people who would make the best ambassadors for North America are not the people who lead our companies. There are exception of course, but I have met a number of business leaders who have risen to the top on the backs of others.
When I traveled to the middle-east, I was supervised to discover that every business meeting required a heated argument to be deemed a success. It would seem that in North American business we require a certain ruthlessness to be considered competitive and worthy of reward.
It could be my inner Canadian showing, but it seems that we have it wrong. I want to reward the people with good ideas, the people who work hard, the people who work well with others and the people with good manners.