Conducting Global Biz #1

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

When in Rome...or should I say Brazil

(Speaking Topics for Corporate Events)


I hadn’t realized that São Paulo is sharply divided into two sets of soccer fans - São Paulo and Corinthians... a verbal brawl broke out and I lost control of the meeting...

Global Biz looks and feels different - language, style and approach - across the US & also across continents.

If you intend to work globally, open yourself up to the world – literally - and quickly realize that preparing for the nuances of other countries DOES make a DIFFERENCE.


In a meeting onsite at Schindler Elevators in São Paulo Brazil, I opened up the meeting at the head of the conference room in front of a full table of IT staff...

I wanted to open with a fun icebreaker and naturally thought of soccer, which I also really like myself… They immediately brightened and were engaged...Nice, I had just energized a room full of Brazilians talking about their national sport…


Then I made the mistake of choosing to say,

‘How bout those Corinthians?’


It was like saying, ‘How bout those Mets?’ during a Yankees/Mets World Series. The CTO and right-half of the table loved me, but the IT director and left-side of the table hated me… I hadn’t realized that São Paulo is sharply divided into two sets of soccer fans - São Paulo and Corinthians... a verbal brawl broke out and I lost control of the meeting.

Fail.


I had finally learned to break the “cultural ice” in a non-offensive way… We had a great meeting and they became an eventual customer.

By Rio de Janeiro 2 days later I learned my lesson… I was preparing for the same type of meeting, this time at Furnas, the city electric company, and I was determined that my icebreaker would not result in a brawl again.


I introduced myself and told everyone that I love working in Brazil because it has all of my favorite things… Cafecino (strong Brazilian coffee is served at all times of the day – this company actually had a coffee dispenser mounted on the wall which I’d never seen before & thought was so cool), Feijoada (the national dish), Açaí (berry that makes great smoothies) and of course soccer!

They brightened once again!



However this time I had checked the newspaper standings the night before - and of all 13 Rio league teams, the cellar-dweller worst team in 13th place was a team called Botafogo…

Fechado! - that was now my team!


When I announced that I was ‘Botafogense’, they erupted in laughter, consoled me, & said ‘oh poor you’ and all had a hearty time… the meeting agenda moved right along with success.


I had learned to break the “cultural ice” in a non-offensive way… We had a great meeting and they became an eventual customer.


Win.


By the time I reached Brasilia I felt like a pro. Government officials there can’t accept gifts of any value, but food is fine. We served cafecinos at Caixa, the government bank, & carried out trays of the famous Brazilian cheese bread called pao de queijo as my first slide displayed a picture of the equally famous company that baked it - who was already a customer of ours. Everyone in the meeting made the connection and enjoyed the snack.



Awareness. Preparation.

Tamo Junt”, I opened.. It means

“We are together.”

We were. Biz followed.


Win.


Brazil's Romero Brito acrylic on paper (one of my favorite pieces - it's above the fireplace!)

..stay tuned for Bonding with Customers & Partners - coming up soon!


Leadership Consulting

I am available for speaking engagements & corporate events on Global Leadership, Business, & Travel - on this topic & all my featured Blogs!..


@armyrangeratMIT@gmail.com



Captain Joe Sacchetti served 2 tours in Iraq, commanding Ranger Scouts in the 82nd Abn & earning the Bronze Star Medal.


...contact me @ armyrangeratMIT@gmail.com



MIT's Exec Ed program in Strategy & Innovation teaches senior Business Managers to think like Leaders.

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