From India with Love - Week 2
I am coming to the end of my second week in India and thought I would write home about my experiences as we set up our first international office. One of the first things you notice in India is the energy of 1.1 billion people or 3 times the US population living in a country a third its size. In the US we are blessed with an abundance of natural resources but in India you realize that it’s greatest natural resource is its people striving to make a better life for themselves and their families.
I continue to learn some of the subtle and not so subtle differences between doing business in India and the US. For instance the work at home culture definitely has not taken hold here. Since most people live in multi-generational settings I have been told that if you work at home your parents are convinced that you have lost your job. Also the work environments are much more communal with the concept of private offices or even private cubes almost nonexistent. Surprisingly I find it much easier to work in this environment than I would have thought. I guess it’s a function of when you work right next to your coworkers there is a recognition that you can never talk too loud. I am still looking forward to encountering a typical Indian interview process since my understanding is that its much more akin to how you might be interviewed when joining the military. In a country of 1.1 billion people I guess no one wants to waste too much time.
Outside of work I think I am finally understanding how driving works here in India. At first I did not understand all of the incessant honking but now I see there is a method to the madness. The way it has been explained to me is that every driver is responsible for whatever is in front of them. That leaves the responsibility on the other driver who may be behind you or beside you to let you know that they are there. Staying in lanes is really optional since you can get at least one extra lane of traffic on a road if everyone squeezes in tight so the honking becomes an important way to signal to other drivers that they better not hit you. The trucks even have instructions on their lift gates to honk when you are behind them. What I have come to appreciate is that there are many ways to get from point A to point B and while doing it here in India feels like more of an adventure it seems to work for them.
I also continue to be impressed with how hard people work here in India. I am still not completely convinced that some people ever leave the office. Also even when they do they are constantly on call to handle client requests or requests from managers or colleagues.
I am firmly convinced that India has a lot to offer and I hope that we have a lot to offer India. Our focus on developing individual talent and helping people grow and develop their full potential is something that I hope works well in a country with so much potential to offer.