My friend Mel travels more than anybody that I know well. That’s saying something since I have a fair amount of friends that travel frequently. For what it’s worth I don’t consider myself a member of the ‘travel frequently’ club. In order to be in that club it seems to me that you’d need to travel roughly ten days or more every month.
Mel’s latest travels have taken him to Shanghai where he spends a few days helping companies with their business processes and bring-to-market strategies. I had sent him an email asking if he’d seen the dead pigs floating down the Hangpu River in Shanghai. He referred to being in ‘Porkville’ but made no mention that he’d seen the floating swine. One line that caught my attention and fancy was – ‘There’s a huge opportunity here but like a puzzle to figure out’. I thought to myself – he totally nailed it!
For me that’s a good thing because I like puzzles. Not only crossword puzzles but jigsaw puzzles, anachrostics, and even ken-kens. For whatever reason I have never become enamored of Soduku. I’m pretty good at doing crossword puzzles, and who really cannot ‘do’ a jigsaw puzzle given enough time? I had a Rubik’s Cube back in the 70’s and recall being able to figure it out – eventually. It was not a significant life achievement or even a little deal at the time.
As far as I am concerned the thing about puzzles is that some of them just take time – sometimes a great deal of time, to solve. Other puzzles can be unsolvable – at least by most people including me. But the effort that goes into ultimately coming up with a solution is more than half the battle and offers more than half of the reward. Along the way you can gain insight
So when it comes to doing business in Asia with all of its cultural differences and varying approaches to doing business, I think it helps me to think of it as a puzzle that I am trying to solve but never will. In the process of thinking about various approaches (good puzzlers – even crossword puzzlers, employ strategy in order to more quickly find a solution), I expect that I will gain insight and understanding which will be worth more than half of that unreachable ultimate reward in finding a solution to the puzzle that is Asia. Somehow not being able to reach that ultimate goal doesn’t bother me at all.
The journey really is its own reward. I’ve got to keep that in mind. How about you?