African Business Culture Tips: Part 4 – Sentiment Matters
It is not always a sign of rudeness for someone to barge in without an appointment. Sometimes it is a simple sign of affection. It is fine to come out shake their hands, smile, and explain that there are a group of biggies in the room with you and it is going to take all-day, so: “why not let’s try next week?”
I am reminded of yet another telecom company and its stiff CEO. Some bigshot from the City Council who was visiting another officer had decided to pass by and “say hello” to the CEO. The CEO’s harried secretary scampered into his suite to find an excuse, but before the door could close Mr Stiff-CEO had already started shouting: “I’m not seeing anyone without an appointment!” The City Council man left immediately. When I heard two months later that several gleaming offices of the company had been padlocked by grinning town-guards over a delay in settling municipal rates (blamed by the company on an “˜accounting misunderstanding’) I shook my head sadly, knowingly.
Read Part 5: Courtesy Should be a Line Item