Generational Quotes

“We may consider each generation as a distinct nation, with a right, by the will of its majority, to bind themselves, but none to bind the succeeding generation, more than the inhabitants of another country.”
-Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father

“It is fortunate that each generation does not comprehend its own ignorance. We are thus enabled to call our ancestors barbarous.”
-Charles Dudley Warner, Author

“Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.”
-Khalil Gibran, Poet and Writer

“Back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express their opinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.”
-Mark Zuckerberg ,
Founder and CEO Facebook

“I think we may be seeing the beginnings of a resurgence of civic-mindedness in this country. Hopefully the younger generations, which came out in record numbers during the last presidential election, will pass their enthusiasm on to their children.”
-Sandra Day O’Connor,
Supreme Court Justice

Significant Events of a Generation: Million Man March

“We are standing in the place of those who couldn’t make it here today. We are standing on the blood of our ancestors.” –Louis Farrakhan

February is African American History month and so this month we are focusing on an event in history that has both a generational and African American connection.  On October 16, 1995 the Million Man March took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  The event was intended to be a call for African American men from across the nation to gather together and draw attention to significant economic and political issues disproportionately affecting African Americans across the United States.  Organizers of the march were also hoping to redefine the public image of the African American male.  The march was the brainchild of Louis Farrakhan and was organized by the National African American Leadership Summit and the Nation of Islam as well as local chapters of the NAACP.

The march itself is an interesting event to examine from a generational perspective.  Louis Farrakhan, the main organizer, was born in 1933 and is a member of the Traditionalist generation, as were many of the other organizers.  Participants spanned all generations from Traditionalists to Gen Y.  The children that were brought along to the event were all members of Gen Y, as in 1995 the oldest members of Gen Y (1980 – 2000) were 15 years old and any child younger than that would have fallen within the Gen Y category.  Gen X (1965 – 1979) was solidly in their teens and 20s when the march took place – members of both generations no doubt both paid attention to news reports and participated in the march itself.  Older Gen X and Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964) were the adults and parents of the march, showing up in large numbers to support a cause they viewed as significant to both themselves and future generations.

The march began at 6 a.m., with busloads of attendees coming from all over the country. Community leaders, pastors, elected officials, and other public figures made up a long list of speakers who spoke powerful words to the crowd on the National Mall.  The agenda for the day included: voter registration, adoption, unemployment, poverty rates, law enforcement, education and health issues. The number of marchers was a topic of dispute, as organizers of the march claimed upwards of 800,000 and representatives of the National Parks Service claimed only 400,000 people showed up.  Regardless, even at its lowest estimate, the event was one of the top five largest events in terms of participants, to ever be held on the National Mall.

Certainly the Million Man March was a significant event in African American history and one that shaped the younger generations, Gen X and Y.  The year after the march took place there was an increase in black male voters in the 1996 presidential election, by over 1.7 million.  In addition, the march has inspired countless other “Million” marches such as: Million Worker March, Million Letter March, Million Mom Challenge and Million Hoodie March – to name a few.

February 19: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is based off the Chinese lunisolar calendar and celebrates the beginning of the new calendar year. This means that according to the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year. It is celebrated as a public holiday in many countries including China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Phillipines, and is a very important cultural holiday in Chinatowns the world over.

Chinese New Years celebrations are centuries old. The traditional myth behind the holiday is that every new years day a horrible beast called a Nian would come to the town villages and eat the livestock, crops, and people (especially children). However, the people learned to placate the beast by placing food outside their door and by wearing red and lighting firecrackers to scare it off.

The public holiday lasts for 3 days starting on New Year’s Day.  To celebrate, families will often have a reunion dinner with extended family.  It is also common clean the entire house to get rid of bad luck and open the premise to good luck.  Another tradition is the giving of red envelopes, typically from adults to children. The red envelopes contain money. The amount of money can vary, but it is important that the money is an even amount, as this is lucky, and 8 is a particularly luck amount.  On this day it is also common to see fireworks and firecracker displays, a dragon dance, and New Year markets/village fairs set up.

Generational Quick Tip: Loyalty

Whether employees are loyal to the company, to leadership, to managers, or to colleagues is an attribute of their generational cultural filter and varies from generation to generation. In the workplace, employee loyalty can have a great impact on the overall company culture. Baby-boomers tend to be more loyal to their career and employers. Though they tend to challenge authority when it confronts their sense of morality, they will loyally dedicate very long business hours to the company in order to climb the corporate ladder. Generation X is loyal to their managers. Highly independent workers, Gen X appeal to managers for independent projects and assignments, as well as opportunities for flexibility, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurship. On the other hand, Generation Y is loyal to their colleagues, particularly their Gen Y peers. They are very sociable, making many diverse workplace friends, and use their camaraderie as a support system while treading the daunting new world of corporate life. Having a better understanding about loyalty in the workplace may lend interesting and helpful insight into why a colleague of a certain generation is motivated to respond in a particular way.

Action Step:
Keep in mind generational differences about loyalty when working with colleagues on teams or across departments.

Cultural Quick Tip: Check Your Assumptions Before Judging

The Argentine tango is a dance of passion and elegance. When novice dancers start to learn the tango, they often focus on their feet. Although the footwork of the tango is fast and flashy, there is much more to the tango than just the footwork. Dance partners communicate with each other in a subtle way through the connecting points of the hips as well as the dance frame formed by the arms, where the duo adjusts their pressure and balance. While many people judge a dancer by the way they move their feet, there is much more that goes into being a dancer than just footwork. When judging the ‘dance’ of another person, especially across differences such as culture, be careful about making judgments based on what you think is important. Focusing on their ‘feet’ while communicating may mean you are missing the most important part of the dance.

Action Step:
Stop and ask yourself what other factors you need to take into account before taking an action based upon an assumption.

Cultural Statistics

Top Five Countries That Like American Ways of Doing Business:

  • Kenya
  • Senegal
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa

Source: Pew Research Forum (http://www.pewforum.org)

Women and Statistics in the US

30.7 Million: Number of women aged 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010. Men were 29.2 million. 8.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.8 million people, and generating $1.3 trillion in sales as of 2013. Women-owned firms (50% or more) account for 30% of all privately held firms and contribute 14% of employment and 11% of revenues.

Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010, US Census National Association of Women
Business Owners

April is Minority Health Month

Healthcare disparities impact millions of Americans. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

* About 30 percent of Hispanic and 20 percent of black Americans lack a usual source of health care compared with less than 16 percent of whites

* Hispanic children are nearly three times as likely as non-Hispanic white children to have no usual source of health care

* African Americans and Hispanic Americans are far more likely to rely on hospitals or clinics for their usual source of care than are white Americans (16% and 13%, respectively, v. 8%)

Find out more about healthcare disparities and how you can help to address this issue please visit:
•  National Minority Quality Forum –  www.nmqf.org

•  Office of Minority Health – http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov

•  Healthy People 2020 – www.healthypeople.gov

February 3: Thaipoosam Cavadee (Mauritius)

This holiday is celebrated by the Tamil population of Mauritius. It celebrates the hero Idumban “the arrogant”who was sent on an errand by Guru Agattiya to collect two mountain peaks and bring them back on his cavadee, a simple yoke or stick used to transport loads. On this journey, Idumban is met by the high Lord Muruga disguised as a child, challenges him to a fight, and is killed. Guru Agattiya and the Tamil people prayed incessantly to the Lord God Muruga to resurrect the hero, and he agrees. To give thanks for the Lord’s graciousness in this act and to commemorate the hero, the people figuratively carry the Cavadee by abstinence and cleansing prayers. They have parades in the street where they carry flower floats and the fruits of the harvest to the temple.

Whats Currently Trending with Gen Y

Study: Millennials and Employers Disagree on Path to Success
This study looks at the gap between recent college graduates perceived preparedness for the workplace and the actual preparedness/expectations of hiring companies. According to the article, there is a gap between what Gen Y is learning in college and what actually makes them ready to join the workforce.

Bloomberg Business Article “George Zimmer Isn’t the Only Reason Young People Don’t Shop at Men’s Wearhouse”
On June 19, 2013, The Men’s Wearhouse made waves when they fired their founder and spokesperson, George Zimmer, for differences in the company’s vision. Part of the “vision” issue was George Zimmer’s appearance itself, as well his well-known tagline “You’re gonna like the way you look; I guarantee it!”  According to the article, the company claimed that his “EveryDad” look and slogan are unmarketable to the younger generation.  However, the article also addresses that the downward trend noticed by suit manufacturers across the industry is due to the fact that Millennials will not “cotton to business suits the way older generations did.” For the Gen Y generation, there is a marked push in making casual Friday every day.

Matt Bors Gen Y Cartoon “Can We Stop Worrying About Millienials Yet?
This creative and humorous cartoon, written by Pulitzer prize finalist and Gen Y member Matt Bors, addresses the age old issue of society blaming the youngest generation for their problems.  It is a succinct and witty counter to the many articles written accusing Generation Y of a range of problems, including extreme narcissism, laziness, inability to socialize, tattoos, etc., which according to Bors, have been complaints launched against the youngest generation in society throughout human history.

Significant Events of a Generation: The 1986 Chernobyl Disaster

“For the first time ever, we have confronted in reality the sinister power of uncontrolled nuclear energy.”
-Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986

Today as we face the challenge of finding alternative energy resources, increasing reliance on nuclear power remains a viable, though controversial, option. People spanning all generations have a vested interest in the question of nuclear power because nuclear power has immediate benefits, while nuclear disaster can cause long-term and persistent contamination for generations to come. Gen Xers, who were young adults during the 1970s and 1980s, witnessed several major nuclear power events that greatly impacted their views on nuclear power.

The most significant of these events was the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant meltdown in the Ukraine. It is considered (along with the latest 2011 Fukushima disaster) to be the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Power Plant, which was under the jurisdiction of the U.S.S.R., experienced a sudden unexpected power surge, leading the reactor vessel to rupture and a fire to break out. The fire sent a huge cloud into the atmosphere, which spread highly radioactive material across the Ukraine, Belarus, the U.S.S.R. and most of Western Europe. 30 workers at the power plant were killed and over 130 others in the immediate area were diagnosed with acute radiation poisoning over the next couple of weeks. Over 115,000 people were immediately evacuated from the nearby area and in the following year, another 220,000 people were relocated from the surrounding areas of the Ukraine, Belarus, and the U.S.S.R.

In the immediate aftermath, the U.S.S.R. concealed the seriousness of the disaster. It was not until April 28, 4 days after the incident, that nuclear power plant workers in Sweden discovered radioactive particles on their clothing. They deduced that the radioactive material did not come from a leak in their own plant and alerted the rest of Europe and the world to the grave impact of the accident. The accident released 400 times more radioactive fallout than Hiroshima, and covered an area of almost 3,930,000 sq. miles with varying degrees of radioactive fallout in each European country, depending on the weather.

The entirety of the long-term environmental and health consequences of the disaster still is not known.  Due to the radioactive cloud, hazardous material was spread into surrounding water systems, soil, and air. The city of Gomel in Belarus, relatively close to the site of the accident, was reported to have heavy, black rain fall from the radioactive cloud.  Many plants and animals in the surrounding areas either died, became infertile, or produced grossly malformed offspring. To this day, wild boar in Bavaria , Germany, that eat the contaminated topsoil mushrooms, show highly increased levels of radioactivity, so much so that Germany refuses the meat of thousands of hunted boars per year due to radiation levels unsafe for human consumption.

Likewise, scientists are still discovering the long-term health effects in humans. According to UNSCEAR, up to the year 2005 more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer were reported in children and adolescents exposed at the time of the accident, a number that is expected to increase. Studies suggest that even low doses of the ionized radiation produced at Chernobyl may have lead to increased cases of cataracts, cardiovascular disease, and varying forms of cancer, particularly leukemia. However, determining finite statistics is difficult because results must be estimated over a very long period of time and must use information and projections from the studies of atomic bomb survivors and other highly exposed populations, which is not the same as long-term exposure.

The lasting environmental and health effects of Chernobyl remain to be seen and probably will continue to impact generations to come. The impact on society, particularly on young Generation X, has resulted in widespread distrust and disillusionment of nuclear power. Only now, as global warming comes to the forefront of environmental concerns, is nuclear energy being re-considered by environmentalists and scientists as a viable economic option for a clean energy source. However, for those victims directly impacted by Chernobyl, those whose environment is still impacted by lingering radioactive waste, and those were alive to witness Chernobyl, the negative stigma and memory will not be easily eradicated.

Significant People of a Generation: Baby Boomers – Meryl Streep

   “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” – Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is considered to be one of the most talented and beloved actresses in the world. A member of the Baby-Boomer generation, she has been the quintessential Hollywood dame for nearly 35 years since she first gained prominence in 1978.  She is known for her incredible versatility, ability to immerse herself into roles, and great mastery of difficult accents.  Many of her iconic roles, such as Linda in the Vietnam War movie The Deer Hunter, express the attitudes and trials of her Boomer generation, who matured into adulthood watching her films.

On June 22, 1949, Meryl Streep (née Mary Louise Streep) was born in Summit, New Jersey. Her mother was a commercial artist and her father was a pharmaceutical executive. Streep was raised in Bernardsville, NJ, along with her two brothers. She attended Bernards High School, where she was a cheerleader, choir and drama club member, and was even voted Homecoming Queen senior year.  Streep went on to receive her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College in 1971 and her M.F.A. at the Yale School of Drama.

During the early 1970s, Meryl Streep acted predominantly in theater, performing standard Shakespearean repertory and starring on Broadway. Her first film debut was in the movie Julia (1977), which she played a small, but important role. In 1978, she landed a supporting role in The Deer Hunter and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. During this time, she also met and married sculptor Don Gummer. They are still married and have four children together.

In 1979, Streep won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the movie Kramer vs. Kramer, where she played opposite Dustin Hoffman.  Streep was again nominated for an Oscar for her role opposite Jeremy Irons in the French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981. The following year, she wins another Oscar, this time for Best Actress, for her emotional role in the holocaust movie Sophie’s Choice, a movie that required Streep to speak in German, Polish, and also perfect a Polish-American accent.  Continuing steadily in her work, Streep has had a very prolific career starring in such iconic films as: Out of Africa (1985), The River Wild  (1994), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), One True Thing (1998), Adaptation (2002), Angels in America (2003), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Doubt (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), and The Iron Lady (2011).

Streep won her 3rd Oscar in 2011 for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, making her one of only six actors in film history to win three Oscars. Over the course of her career, Streep has been nominated for 17 Academy Awards and holds the record for the highest number of nominations for any actor.  Including other awards, such as BAFTA, Emmy, and Tony Awards, Streep has won 112 total and been nominated 215 times. She has honorary Doctorate degrees  from Yale, Harvard, Princeton,  and won the Life Achievement Award in 2004 from the American Film Institute. In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal for the Arts.  At age 64, Streep still has very active career, which is unique for women over 60. She is set to appear in two films in 2013 and a production of Into the Woods in 2014.

Significant People of a Generation: Joesph McCarthy and The McCarthy Era

“The junior senator from Wisconsin, by his reckless charges, has so preyed upon the fears and hatreds and prejudices of the American people that he has started a prairie fire which neither he nor anyone else may be able to control.”
-Senator J. William. Fullbright

When most people today remember the Cold War, they think of the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  However, the Cold War had a presence in the United States well before these events. Though it may come as a surprise, the majority of Baby-Boomers (born 1946-1964) were born into a world where the Cold War was already in full engagement, starting with events such as the 1948 Berlin Blockade and the 1950 Korean War. The “Red Scare,” a fear that was reflected in the McCarthy Investigations and Hearings during the early 1950s, surrounded their young lives.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was elected into office in 1946 and had a relatively uncontroversial tenure, until his 1950 Wheeler speech. During the Wheeler speech, which gained McCarthy notoriety and fame, McCarthy claimed to possess a confirmed list of known Communist spies working at the State Department. McCarthy was called to the Tydings Committee hearing later the same month to give supportive evidence to his claim. During the hearings, McCarthy gave little to no evidence and made many slanderous and vicious verbal attacks against several supposed Communists on the list. Though the committee concluded that McCarthy’s list was fraudulent, his outrageous demagoguery had ruined the careers of several people. He had also garnered a strong national support, typically along partisan lines, driven by the fear of Communism.

After the committee, McCarthy continued his attack campaign with full fervor, claiming that the Truman administration was failing to deal with subversive Communists in its ranks. His national support continued to grow, particularly within the Republican Party. McCarthy campaigned for several Republican Senators during this time, and successfully helped them to win their campaigns by making false accusations that their opponents were “Communist sympathizers.” It was clear that underhanded campaign tactics and the fear of Communism made successful political allies for McCarthy, and amongst his fellow Senators, he began to be treated with deference and fear.

In 1952, McCarthy was re-elected to the Senate and was made chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He commissioned Roy Cohn and Robert F. Kennedy as counsels, and used the committee to investigate communists in the government. He investigated the Voices of America, a United States Information agency, making wild accusations on television in front of the press that destroyed the careers of many innocent people. One engineer even committed suicide. McCarthy then turned the International Information Angency international library program, demanding the removal of inappropriate Communist reading material (those books on the subject of Communism or authored by known and supposed Communists). The State Department complied with these requests and some of the libraries even had book burnings for the forbidden material. In response to these book burnings and in defiance of McCarthy, President Eisenhower implored Americans: “Don’t join the book burners … Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.”

In 1953, McCarthy turned his investigation on the United States Army. In an ill-fated move, McCarthy summoned General Zwicker to a hearing for promoting supposed Communist sympathizer Irvin Pressing to the rank of General. During the hearing McCarthy verbal assaulted Zwicker, a decorated hero of World War II, resulting in an angry response of the Army, newspapers, and civilians. In retaliation, the U.S. Army accused McCarthy and Roy Cohn of using their political power to pressure the Army into give a personal friend, Private G. David Schine, preferential treatment.

The Army-McCarthy hearings began on April 22, 1954. They were led by McCarthy’s very own Subcommittee on Investigations, with Karl Mundt appointed as temporary chair of the committee. The hearings lasted for 36 days and were broadcasted on live T.V. While the hearings provided no evidence that McCarthy was guilty of coercion, they did change the opinion of many of the American audience that McCarthy was an aggressive, dishonest bully. According to a public opinion gallop pole, national support for McCarthy in March 1954 before the hearings had a Net Favorable Score of +10, where after April 1954 his Net score had dropped to -8. Many Democratic and Republican politicians, who had feared to speak up before, outwardly disapproved of McCarthy.

In December 1954, Senate hearings to “censure” and “condemn” McCarthy were held and passed by a significant majority vote.  Though McCarthy remained in office of the next 2.5 years, he was completely ignored by colleagues and the press; his outside speaking engagements were nearly empty. Essentially, his career was destroyed. He died May 2, 1957 of hepatitis that was believed to be the cause of heavy drinking. However, his legacy lives on in the term “McCarthyism, ”in the memories of those people adversely impacted by his witch-hunt, and in the young Baby-Boomer generation who learned from an early age to distrust the claims of dishonest politicians.

Significant People of a Generation: Betty Friedan and the Women’s Movement

“The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.”-Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan was born February 4, 1921, in Peoria, Illinois. Her birth name was Bettye Naomi Goldstein and her family came from Jewish descent in both Russia and Hungary. As she was growing up, her father got an illness that made it difficult for him to work, so her mother was forced to work  writing a society page in the newspaper.  Friedan noticed the positive impact this work seemed to have on her mother.

In 1938, Friedan attended the all female Smith College and in 1941, she became editor and chief for the college newspaper. She graduated in 1942 with a degree in psychology. Friedan moved to New York and worked for a brief period as a journalist. Here she met her husband Carl Friedan with whom she went on to have three children: Daniel (born 1948); Jonathan (born 1952); and Emily (born 1956).

She was fired from her job during her second pregnancy for being pregnant and lived at home as a homemaker. However, she did not feel fulfilled as a homemaker. Her restlessness led her to question whether other women felt the same way, and she conducted a survey of women at Smith College to answer this question. The result of the survey became the basis for her 1963 book The Feminine Mystic, which encouraged women to get out and look for career opportunities. The book was wildly popular and shed light on a need for a movement that would address the widespread oppression that women all over the country were feeling.

In 1966, Betty Friedan founded the National Organization for Women. She became the figurehead of the second-wave feminist movement of the 60s and 70s. As well as promoting equal opportunities in the workplace, she also fought for abortion rights and for women to have a greater role in the political process. In 1967, NOW successfully lobbied for the Executive Order extending affirmative action rights to women.  On August 26, 1970, the 50th Anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment, Friedan organized the “Women’s Strike for Equality,” which brought together 20,000 women, the largest gathering that had ever come together on behalf of women at that time.  In 1982, she wrote another book for called The Second Stage for the future generations of women.

Through the 90s, Betty Friedan continued to write, publishing two more books about getting older and gender in the new era called The Fountain of Age and Beyond Gender. Her final work was Life So Far, which she wrote in the year 2000. Her original and most famous work, the Feminine Mystique, has sold more than 3 million copies and has become a staple work in the feminist canon. Betty Friedan died on February 4, 2006, on her 85th birthday.

Cultural Quick Tip: Adapt to Encourage Growth

Humpback whales sing songs that can be up to 20 minutes long. While humans have not yet decoded what they are communicating with these songs, scientists have learned that the songs travel around the world from whale to whale. While the songs are distinctly recognizable, each whale adds its own interpretation to the song, essentially doing a cover version of the humpback Top 40 hits. Whales possess the ability to adapt what they hear and then make it their own. Adaptive communication is a skill that is also critical to organizational growth. Keeping something the same just “because this is the way we have always done it” hinders an organization from innovating and progressing. Adaptation taps into employee skill sets and allows people to utilize their diversity to improve upon old ‘songs’, making a new version that supports growth.

Action Step:
Replace the phrase, “that’s not the way we do it” with “lets explore that idea” so that you can benefit from another point of view.

January 2: Berchtold’s Day

Every year on January 2, the Swiss celebrate Berchtold’s Day. Berchtold’s Day is celebrated nationally in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and it is a public holiday in most of the cantons (provinces) of Switzerland.

There are several different theories as to the origin of the holiday. Some believe that the holiday is based off of the figure of Perchta, a mythological female figure of regional folklore, who is associated with being the guardian of animals and Twelfth Knight traditions of the 1400s.

Others believe the holiday is named after Berchtold V, Duke of Zahringen, who founded the capital city of Bern in 1191.  The legend has it that Berchtold  named the city after the first animal he successfully hunted, which happened to be a bear. The bear is the symbol on Bern’s coat of arms. However, many believe that he actually only killed a squirrel because many of the festivities of  Berchtold’s Day revolve around playing with and eating nuts.

On Berchtold’s day, people may dance to folk music, eat food containing nuts, and play nut-related games or sports, such as “hocks.” It requires 5 nuts to make a hock: four nuts acting as the base and one balanced on top. Children will hoard nuts in the Autumn before Berchtold’s in anticipation for the nut festival.

Cultural Quick Tip: Propose Collaboration with Skill

Cultures around the world have unique traditions for making marriage proposals. In Fiji, the suitor presents the bride’s parents with a Tabua, a ceremonial whale tooth, while in Austria, it is considered good luck if pigeons or wolves are spotted on the way to the proposal. Whatever the cultural traditions, marriage proposals worldwide set the stage for the creation of a life-long contract of mutual respect and understanding. Similar to a marriage proposal, a proposal to collaborate should also begin with understanding and respect. Courting a partner from a different country or cultural background may require research on their cultural views on business relationships, developing trust, negotiation, and communication styles. Being aware of cultural differences will increase your chances getting the “yes” answer you are seeking.

Action Step:
When proposing collaboration, spend time researching the cultural background of your desired partner.