One of the most interesting aspects of thinking strategically regarding business and operations, are the lessons that can be learned on a social level from friends. After all, many of the engagements on higher levels use a diplomacy of sorts, understanding the nuances of relationship building that translates into eventual trust and respect on both sides of the fence.
Here is one such story I’d like to share.
A few years ago, the brother of a good friend of mine was visiting from Taiwain. It was his first time being in Chicago, so a few of us in our circle really had a wonderful week planned giving John a true Chicago experience. Upon his arrival, we presented a gift; some athletic apparel (track pants and shirt plus jacket). We figured this was perfect since he was very athletic. We went to baseball games, enjoyed some blues and the great food Chicago has to offer. During the whole week however, he never wore the gift we gave him.
After a great visit and promising to return soon, he left.
One year later, he visited again and we made all the necessary arrangements. When we went to the airport to pick John up, the first thing I noticed as he walked through the gate toward us, was him wearing the gift we gave him, one year earlier. What I felt was an immediate sense of comfort and gratitude. As we were eating out that night, I leaned over to him and asked, “Why did you wear the gift we gave you when we picked you up?” He replied, “I loved the track suit and realized I had to exercise the greatest level of discipline to show my sense of gratitude. If I had worn the gift during my first visit, it would have certainly shown my appreciation. Waiting until my next visit allowed me to extend my gratitude and respect at a time when you did not expect it.”