After 38 hours on planes and in airports, I arrived in Kathmandu. If you’ve never been here, Kathmandu is like New York City on welfare and without the skyscrapers. But it is just as busy, just as bustling and just as chaotic. When I landed here, I immediately felt like a member of an ant colony — nowhere to hide and trying desperately to keep pace.
The airports all along the way were much the same way. I was trying to keep pace in Chicago, then Tokyo, then Bangkok, then here. I’ve been busting it since I left home — running everywhere I go. So I’m a little surprised that I’m pretty comfortable and relaxed at this point.
I may be comfortable and relaxed because of the surprisingly wonderful service and hospitality I’ve received during this journey. Yes, even at the airports, people were beyond cordial. I’ve never experienced more polite flight attendants than those on All Nippon Airways who made my 13-hour flight to Tokyo a breeze.
When I arrived in Kathmandu, my guides, Puja and Suman, quickly found me. These very hospitable and sharp team members from Heifer International were all smiles and completely accommodating as they rushed me through the crowds.
Anywhere Leaders are often in chaotic settings where they have minimal knowledge and understanding of their surroundings — where they’re initially just trying to keep up with the pace. Without civil and hospitable people ready to support them, their daunting tasks become more daunting.
Maybe as we operate more globally, we’re becoming more civil globally. Enough of us have traveled and operated around the globe that we’ve actually developed empathy for each other.
The next time you welcome a new person to your unfamiliar environment, show greater civility and hospitality. It will make an extraordinary impact on the person and on his or her productivity. Go all out and I’m sure they will return the favor when the shoe is on the other foot.