It’s the journey not the destination

Ithaca


As you set out for Ithaka

hope the voyage is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

 

Hope the voyage is a long one.

May there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbors seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

 

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

 

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)


Original Greek poem

Translated by John Cavafy 

6 things you should never do on the job:

The Bob Pritchard Column 

There's more than enough advice out there about what you should do when you land a job and want to jumpstart a successful career: Show up on time, do what you say you'll do, and be curious among them
 
But what is on the list of things you definitely should not do?  Kate Kastenbaum, seasoned HR Director  defined six things you should never do on the job:
 
 
1. Never hold a grudge
If someone wronged you and you hold a grudge towards them, you tend to avoid them making you less productive.  Deal with your issue face to face. Put personal feelings aside and focus on the work: You have to be willing to work with everyone. People want to work with a team player. Avoiding the problem shows a lack of maturity and difficulty handling challenging situations.
2. Don't avoid your boss
If you're more inclined to be open and honest with your peers, that's a mistake.  Open and honest communication with your manager is vital. If you have an issue and don't bring it up right away, you're not using your manager for what they're there for, which is to help you navigate problems and guide you to the answer."
3. Don't ask your coworkers for drugs
Don't let feelings of closeness blur the professional boundaries that must always be present when working with managers, coworkers, and clients.  Don't get drunk, abuse drugs, or abuse the situation you're in because the truth will come out and your career and work relationships will pay the price."
4. Never say "You're wrong!"
There's never an appropriate time to flat out tell a manager, coworker, or customer they are wrong.   As you work through the solution you can clarify or help them realize where the error is, but if you start the conversation off with an accusation you won't get very far in the discussion."
5. Never make a habit of being arrogant or disrespectful
While even the most well-intentioned among us can have a bad day and be too short or too egotistical with a coworker or boss, it's in your best interest not to do it.  No matter how prestigious your background or important your project, you'll build much better relationships if you show respect and humility in your interactions with others. Frankly, if you can't get along with the janitor, then you won't get along with the CEO either."
6. Don't leave your personal career development to your boss
If you don't initiate the conversations about what you want to learn or where you want to go in your career, they may never happen.  Sometimes what not to do is just as important as what to do. Don’t make any of these mistakes in your own career.
Simple, but very wise.

Classic sayings by Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot



“What's wrong with my proposition?" Poirot rose. "If you will forgive me for being personal-I do not like your face, M. Ratchett.”

What’s your favourite line? 

Who created a ripple in your life?



Today I was at the funeral for my uncle. During the eulogy I was reminded that he had had a heart attack and been revived at the age of 39, exactly the age Matt was when he died. I'd always known it happened when he was young, but I hadn't remembered his age. I was just a kid at the time. About 10.... exactly the age my kids are now. I have a vague memory of a hospital with blue walls and my mum being very worried about him, but no real details. 

My uncle got another 32 years. Not always entirely healthy years, but certainly healthy enough to enjoy his kids school milestones, their weddings, the birth of five grandchildren. Last year, at his 70th birthday, he commented that he hadn't expected to get even that far. He got lucky at 39, where Matt didn't. He didn't get lucky at 71, whereas others do. 

As the service ended this afternoon I went to visit Matt's grave. It was raining hard and there was a thick layer of water on the gravestone. The water made the dark grey of the stone shiny. I told my kids later on about it. They smiled. 

I put my hand flat onto the stone, and the water rippled. I lifted my hand back up. Another ripple. I noticed that the gold words on the stone were reflected in the water, each drop of rain creating another ripple, blurring the words for a moment before it became still. I dropped my hand down again. Another ripple. Ripple. Blur. Still. Ripple.

I remembered how after Matt died I started talking about the ripple effect of good his early death had had. So many fathers had told me that they were hugging their children more now. Wives told me they were appreciating their husbands more. 

And then there were the ripple effects of good from his life. The stories from friends and patients and family. His kids. His life was a series of ripples which changed, sometimes subtly and sometimes immeasurably, people's lives. 

My uncle is the same of course. His death but also his life. As his eldest grandson spoke at the funeral I thought of the ripple effect my uncle has had on his life, and how this child will transfer this ripple to his siblings and cousins too young to properly know him yet. My uncle got another 32 years. So so many extra ripples he got to create on those around him. 

We all create ripples in the world. Ripples from our lives and from our deaths which change people around us, sometimes completely unbeknownst to us.

When we are touched by the ripple of someone close to us it forever changes who we are. The boundary between who we are with them and who we were before them becomes blurred. And for a moment we are still. Not quite ourselves anymore, on the way to the next version of ourself, but not there yet. And then the ripple comes again, and something else changes. 

We are all just ripples bumping into each other I think. Ripple. Blur. Still. Ripple.

Customer Service is the bomb!

The Bob Pritchard Column

If you want to differentiate your company in the marketplace, then you need to show you can dramatically deliver service and products faster than your competitors.  Amazon does it.  Apple does it.  Why don’t you?
 
Recently, an employee was having a problem with an item shipped to her from Amazon.  She needed to return the product and get her money back.  So she called and talked directly to a person.  An emphatic and understanding rep sent her a return packing slip via email so all she had to do was print and tape the label on the box.  AND…According to company policy, credit will only be issued once the product is received at Amazon.  The customer in this case was issued the credit to her account right away. Speed Trap avoided and… another ecstatic Amazon customer.
 
 
Customers value speed … Amazon! “…if you wanna do more of something, make the friction less. If you wanna do less of something, make the friction more.” —Jeff Bezos
 
Speed involves using tools and techniques to dramatically reduce the time needed to complete a task while still placing a high importance on the level of quality. Remember, customers will reciprocate your helpful actions.  When you resolve situations quickly and effectively, and then respond to their need, most customers will pay you back with continued or increased loyalty, goodwill and even repurchasing.  There’s nobody more valuable than the customer.
 
Just ask Apple.  They are known worldwide for service and speed.  They take care of questions, problems and concerns faster than competitors. Apple has elevated customer service into a science. There’s no out-sourcing as they specialize in fixing Apple products and making a stressful situation more manageable.  They make it easy and fast.
 
Apple’s secret weapon is incredible customer service.

  The most recent earnings report listed Apple as the most valuable company on the planet at a mind blowing $775 billion with a staggering $261.5 billion cash balance.  Written out, that is “$261,500,000,000.00.”
 
Here are four challenges that all businesses face;
  • Many executives and employees don’t trust the customer.  They believe the customer is trying to take advantage of them. 
  • We don’t trust employees.  We pay them as little as we can and have even less confidence in their ability to make decisions.  We believe they are going to be taken advantage of.
  • With Empowerment you don’t need as many managers and supervisors.  They’re not excited about losing their power, nor of losing their jobs.
  • Very few employees are on their knees at night praying for Empowerment.  It’s just too risky.
 
Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer. It’s important that we are honest and sincere in our efforts to service our customers.  The only way we can do that is by empowering employees to satisfy the customer quickly and to their satisfaction. 
 
Satisfying customers quickly benefits everyone.  A company’s success lies in empowered employees. When employees are empowered and given responsibility, they use their talents and skills to maximize the opportunities. The most successful companies in the world show that empowered, responsible employees that know the value of speed, contribute greatly to your bottom line.
 
I ordered a foot-long sandwich from a take-out restaurant and asked the clerk to cut it into fourths. "I'm sorry, I can't," she said. "I already cut it in half."
 

Mindset to a Successful life is key

The Bob Pritchard Column 

Many people get tired of working for the man and determine that they will work for themselves and be their own boss. You need to have one important trait, a willingness to learn.
 
"There's an essential mindset for being your own boss," says Dorie Clark, a New York City-based marketing strategy consultant. "You have to be the one who brings in the business."
 
 
Getting away from an employee mentality is hard. Defined tasks are a thing of the past for many, and being your own boss means honing many skills and focusing on the big picture. Entrepreneurs don't own a task. Entrepreneurs own the outcome. But the payoff for mastering your own destiny can be big. Income is potentially unlimited. Your free time is highly flexible. And you're not reliant on one client — your employer — anymore.
 
Not having a paycheck is frequently seen as risky, but entrepreneurs actually are risk mitigators. As a small business, you're relying on multiple clients, so you're better positioned to weather disruption. It is much safer financially.
 
There's no entrepreneurial gene. Success comes from working hard — and taking the following steps:
 
Identify a business where you can thrive. 
Understanding what you're good at is key. That can mean relying on skills you already have, pinpointing your passions and experimenting with different niches. After becoming an entrepreneur, Clark tried political consulting, but she quickly realized she wasn't getting much traction. More business was coming from nonprofits and other companies, so she focused her efforts accordingly. "Learning that early on was critical," she says.
 
Build social proof for your business idea.
Social media is a key tool for building a business these days. You can do that by blogging, posting photos on Instagram or Facebook, tweeting or producing a podcast.  Gary Vaynerchuk originally started blogging about wine and then he realized that he was a terrible writer, so he moved to video. Now he has nearly 800,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.  If you're not good at writing, Instagram is a great venue. And you're only required to take photos, which nearly anyone can do, such as for wedding planning.
 
Serve your customer well.  
Understanding what customers need is your main mission, and that means talking with them about what they want. Start with your own network, where you'll have an audience you already know and who knows you.  Never insist on doing things your way without getting new information. Get close to customers so you can tweak pricing or service."
 
Keep learning new skills. 
While you can outsource some skills, like bookkeeping, it's best to learn others yourself. For example, be your own salesperson.  You are the most believable messenger.  There's something powerful about hearing about a product from the founder.  Developing solid speaking skills is important, you can get lots of mileage out of it.
 
Build a network of mentors.  
It is very difficult to be successful as is evidenced by the fact that 95% of all businesses fail.  It is important to learn from experienced people who have faced the challenges that you will face and learn from them. Build a board of advisors that become your mentors.  You can't figure out all the challenges you will face in a vacuum.
 
It can be lonely being an entrepreneur. You have to figure out everything on your own. But building a network makes an enormous difference.
 
I believe in a strong mindset.  I’d do anything to lose ten pounds, except eat healthy, reduce my drinking and do exercise
 
Don't forget to listen into my radio show on VoiceAmerica Business at 5pm PST every Tuesday. Listen to any of my previous shows on VoiceAmerica archives at any time you choose. I interview some of the top people in business every week
 
                    https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1999/the-bob-pritchard-radio-show                   
Bob Pritchard
Have a successful, healthy and profitable day

Reducing recidivism through education, collaboration and learning




The CSI - BSI Partnership strengthens further today with a co-facilitated session at Brush Farm Academy. This is the team that works together to achieve the goals of the Inmate Education Program in NSW that was introduced in July 2017. Exchange of great ideas, improvements and addressed challenges that we can fix together.

Can the lower company tax rate in Australia apply to a bucket company?




The lower corporate tax rate of 27.5% should apply to a company for the 2017 income year if:

    - The company carried on a business in the 2017 year; and
    - Its aggregated annual turnover was less than $10m.

The ATO recently issued a draft ruling (TR 2017/D7) that sets out it's view that a company would generally be treated as carrying on a business if it is set up with the purpose and expectation of making profits. The draft ruling provides some examples dealing with corporate beneficiaries and indicates that they should generally be treated as carrying on a business if they receive distributions from a related trust and then use those distributions in commercial income producing activities with the expectation of making a profit. This could include a situation where the company lends the distribution amount back to the trust at commercial rates. Also checkout example 5 of TR 2017/D7.

If you are looking for an amazing firm to be a part of your team.... they will help you achieve your generational legacy - speak to the team at BSI Accounting.... @bsiwealth .

5 ways to get the best out of millennials


An executive I know hired a young woman for his marketing department and put her to work managing some current campaigns. Then he found out 18 months later that she was a bona fide expert about marketing on social media. I mean, she practically lived on social media. She could have brought so much to her new employer from day one – yet that value went completely untapped for a year and a half.

Call that knowledge loss, call it money wasted, or call it something worse. Whatever you call it, it’s bad. How did it happen? I don’t work for that company, so I’m not sure. But it was probably because the top executives there were all baby boomers. It probably never occurred to them that a new millennial worker had ideas they needed to hear. 

Is it happening in your company? Here are some steps to take to be sure you’re discovering and tapping the unique insights and skills your younger workers possess.

Strategy One: Uncover Hidden Skills during the Recruiting Process

It’s a mistake to screen job applicants by only saying, “Here’s what you’ll have to do on the job . . . can you cut it?” Ask questions instead, like, “We’re recruiting a team to market our new app – what do you think we need to do?” Or, “We are currently using the XYZ platform to track ad usage by in our franchise locations – do you know of anything better?” 

To use a Zen kind of paradigm, be the student, not the teacher. The things you learn could be very valuable indeed.

Strategy Two: Invite Comments and Ideas during New Employee Training

Training is an ideal time to ask new hires important questions like, “How strong do you think our brand is” or, “Do our competitors do something better than we do?” If you ask questions like those, you let new employees know that you are a company that values honest and open input. And training is the place to do it. After an employee begins working for you, he or she may want to communicate big ideas only to a supervisor, where they can die. Or worse, he or she might never voice those big ideas at all. 

Strategy Three: Have Big Delayered Meetings Where Everyone Presents Big Ideas

Get employees from all level into one room and ask them for the biggest and craziest ideas they have for improving your business. To avoid stifling the flow, just collect the ideas on a whiteboard or on sticky notes and go back to discuss them later. Those brainstorming meetings helps assure that good ideas from the ranks are heard directly by upper management, not left sitting on the desks of managers throughout your company.

Strategy Four: Get Some Reverse Mentoring Going

Reverse mentoring has become popular in many organizations. The idea usually to have an older executive mentored about technology by a younger, tech-savvy employee. I would recommend widening that lens and having millennials and other young workers keep your senior executive team up to speed on marketplace trends, products that have entered the marketplace, news about “hot” competing companies, and more. The wider you can cast your net for ideas from young employees, the more you benefit. 

Strategy Five: Reward the Big Ideas and Information that Millennials Contribute

If an employee delivers a valuable piece of information to you, offer recognition, feedback, or increased responsibilities. Treat it like gold. If you don’t, that bright young mind is likely to think, “Why should I tell my company anything . . . they ignored me the last time I did.” It’s up do you to offer the recognition that keeps information flowing. 

In summary . . . 

Millennials have ideas, information and skills that you need. Are you listening to them? If you aren’t, let’s face it, the fault lies with you. Open the doors, let the information in, and watch your company improve in ways you could never imagine. 


How to get your video out there

Is a good article a lengthy one? It tends to conflicts with an audience's desire to consume information in seconds!!!

That is why video and infographic are good!  Having good video content and infographic is good - but the key is sharing it with a large audience!

People spend thousands of dollars on videos - but it goes to a very limited audience - how do you expand that reach ?

 Their audience is pretty much limited to the number of followers/subscribers.

How do you proactively send that content to and audience that you define should increase in the volume of actionable leads. 

What if you could embed social media conversations (with shares, likes and comments) from Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter? 

Your leads will grow when you start sharing with your email database that's often 10x larger or more than your social media audiences! 

And then collaborate with your BBG members and watch the multiplier effect work! 

HR Leaders: 7 Policy & Procedure Documents That May Need An Urgent Rewrite



HR strategy should be focused on aligning the needs of the people and the needs of the organisation. 


Achieving that requires a strong foundation in many aspects of HR – and we should not ignore the policies and procedures that form the ‘baseline’ of performance, process, and behaviour. 


Well-conceived, well-written policy and procedure documentation can underpin our efforts to raise performance across the organisation. It is the foundation and can guide us when we are not sure where to turn.


Over-focus on policy and procedures can lead to an excessively mechanical approach to HR; it should not be a case of people ‘serving’ the policies; the policies should serve the people.


But ignoring this important documentation and failing to update it regularly can cause confusion across the organisation – including in your HR team – and lead to unnecessary misunderstandings.


So which policy and procedure documents should you concentrate your efforts on? Which ones need to be dusted off and updated to reflect the present needs of your organisationand your people? And how can this documentation help yourorganisation reach its overall goals?


1. Role descriptions


Role descriptions that accurately reflect each position will not only help you attract the right people with the right skills and personal credentials to your organisation; Descriptions should be more than a general list of duties and responsibilitiesThey can help to ‘sell’ the role and inspire potential candidates.

They also provide clarity and structure, and potentially highlight any ‘gaps’ in your team. But make sure that they also meet all applicable state and federal labour regulations.


2. Employee contracts



Well-designed employee contracts are essential for protecting your organisation’s interests and for clearly laying out what’s expected of you and your employee in the engagement.

You probably have a few templates for various roles – but are these complete and have they been updated recently? If not, it’s a good idea to revisit them for all the key roles in your organisation and remove any areas of doubt or confusion. 

If you have crossed the ‘t’s and dotted the ‘i’s, it can pay dividends down the line in the case of a dispute.


3. On-boarding and induction documents




This documentation is essential for establishing a system to welcome new employees to the company and to ensure that they become familiar with the main management practices.

It helps them understand your organisation, its culture, and where they fit into it.

You want your new employees to grow with your organisation, so it’s important to engage and inform them. Help them feel part of the process from day one.

Include all the essentials of both employee and employer expectations in your on-boarding process documents.


4. Policies and procedures manual



All company policies and procedures should be documented in a manual accessible to all employees. 

This needs to be compliant with federal and state employment laws and should outline everything from policies with regards to employee leave to sexual harassment and worker safety. It also needs to provide acceptable conduct guidelines.

Policies need to apply equally to all employees and your manual should be detailed enough to remove confusion and avoid future conflicts.


5. Defining competencies

It’s important for employers to be able to evaluate performance and track progress towards the wider vision of the organisation; and for employees to understand how they can be productive and meet expectations.

By creating a structured model, you can identify competencies required in the organisation for each role. This can support your business and help it grow in line with your values.


6. Objective setting and KPIs


You also need a specific framework for measuring how you and your employees are doing. By setting objectives and KPIs, you are better able to measure performance.

This will vary from role to role, of course. For sales people, there will be appointment and sales targets; for customer service people, customer satisfaction levels are important.

The job description should provide an overview of what’s required but this is where you need to be more specific and provide some benchmarks for measuring performance.


7. Employee discipline and termination 




This is another area that, legally, can get troublesome. You need to ensure that, when an employee is disciplined, investigated, warned, or terminated, it doesn’t come back to bite you.

Policies must be well-defined and communicated to employees as appropriate.

Ensure that policies meet all current federal and state laws and enforce them fairly and consistently to avoid facing a legal backlash from a disgruntled ex-employee.

The above seven pieces of documentation, when professionally written, can bring extra structure, consistency, and clarity to your organisation – both for management and employees

It will help you avoid misunderstandings and conflict and will serve as the ‘rudder’ that guides you through the storm, when common sense, experience, and HR expertise alone is not enough. 

For this reason, it deserves attention: make sure that it doesn’t get placed at the back of a cabinet and ignored for the next five years. It should evolve with your organisation and be written by someone who understands the complexities of current state and federal HR law.


Do your policy and procedure documents need refreshing? If you don’t have the time or expertise in your own department, I have a legal background and considerable experience in tailoring HR documentation to organisations’ unique needs

Email me here: ush@collaboratehr.com.au.

Three Cups of Tea

September 29, 2017 

In today’s fast paced world of instant communication, short deadlines, e-mail, text, online chat, social media, speed networking and deal-making, I think we can all agree that the old fashioned art of relationship-building has been somewhat diminished in its importance, if not lost altogether?

It wasn’t always this way. When I started work in the City of London in the late 1970s, the senior partners would regularly disappear for lunch with clients at around 12 noon and, more often than not, wouldn’t be seen again until the next morning.  And when I worked in Hong Kong in the late 1980s, I remember the most respected networkers were those who typically blocked out their lunchtimes every day to meet with people who, if not now, might be useful connections in the future. 

Despite how this might sound now, this investment in relationship-building usually paid off in terms of acquiring new clients, generating more revenue and increased profitability, and the expenses involved were regarded as the acceptable “cost of doing business”. To prove the point, most Governments around the world regarded these expenses as fully tax deductible, as long as you could find the receipts!

Without doubt, the long business lunch, if not a quick chat over a sandwich at your desk in between meetings, is definitely a casualty of the online age, and is now regarded as an extravagance, if not a disgraceful indulgence reminiscent of a bygone era!

These days we do business with people we hardly know, and possibly don’t even like, assuming we can get them to sign up to a water tight contract drafted by a highly paid lawyer and do as we promise.  In this post industrial age, with an ever-expanding army of lawyers and standard contracts at your disposal, you can simply sit behind your computer and do business with anyone you want, almost anywhere in the world, with an electronic signature and the click of a mouse!

Until now, that is…

Despite the significant changes that have taken place during my working life in the western world, there is still one country that does business the old fashioned way, and that is the People’s Republic of China.

We are now all impacted by the rise of China, a country which lay dormant until only thirty years ago, but is now the second largest economy in the world and, growing at over 6% per annum, will soon overtake the USA as the largest economy with a population over 1.3 billion and a rapidly growing number of cashed up middle class consumers (currently 300 million and expected to triple in size by the end of the next decade).

In the past 10 years, since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007, China has launched an army of new corporate names on to the global scene, including Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent and Haier who are already disrupting e-commerce industries around the world and, among many other names which we haven’t even heard of yet, will be the brands to watch in the next 10 years as they take on some of the bastions of traditional western institutions in financial services, healthcare, education, agriculture, real estate and others. As we approach the end of the beginning of the Asian Century, the next decade will be dominated by Chinese entrepreneurs, investors and private enterprises with deep pockets as they reach out and grasp the opportunities that were denied to their parents, grandparents and ancestors.

Faced with threats of new competition, disruption and unfamiliar business practices, Western leaders need to decide how they’re going to respond to the rise of China as a global force. One option is to ignore it altogether and hope it goes away, a tactic that worked well in the face of similar threats posed by the rise of Japan in the 1980s. Another option, and one which I would recommend as a starting point, is to embrace this opportunity and engage with Chinese investors and entrepreneurs while they are going through their ‘learning phase’ and upgrading their systems, processes, products and governance to compete on a global scale against established western institutions. This presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for western entrepreneurs, SMEs and business leaders to jump on a train which has well and truly left the station.

However, despite some of China’s significant economic advances in recent times, their approach to doing business remains refreshingly similar to the way they’ve done business over the past one thousand years i.e they only do business with people they know, like and trust. There are no short cuts. If you want to business in or with the Chinese, it needs to be more than just a transaction.

There is a story about a traveller who found that, in order to be welcomed into an eastern family, he would be asked to take three cups of tea. The first cup was taken as a stranger, the second cup as a friend and, if he was offered a third cup, he would then become part of their family. A place where trust was given freely and unconditionally, and from which he would forever be looked after.

I often use the “three cups of tea” metaphor to describe the journey that westerners have to take to be truly accepted in China.  As a foreigner doing business with Chinese people you are a stranger, no matter how much they appear to like you, trust you and respect you. The Chinese are gracious, generous and flattering hosts and often give the appearance of welcoming you as friends and business partners but you will never gain their real trust until you have invested deeply in the relationship. This requires some old fashioned relationship-building skills and etiquette which, as mentioned above, we seem to have lost, forgotten or ignored in recent times.

So, next time you get presented with an opportunity to do business with a Chinese company, investor or entrepreneur, think of it as an opportunity to build a relationship not a transaction. Ask open questions, listen carefully to the answers and think about how you can progress the relationship to another level (the second cup of tea). Leave the quote, proposal or contract in the drawer, take your Chinese guests out for lunch, exchange gifts, tell stories and laugh a lot. You’ll be surprised how old fashioned relationship-building can lead to real business opportunities. But only if you’re willing to take the three cups of tea!

Beware Social Contagion

A Bob Pritchard Insite 

If you mix with successful people you are 5 times more likely to be successful.  If you associate with losers, reserve your park bench today. If you mix with heavy drinkers you are a certainty to become a solid drinker…and so it goes. 
 
The journal, Royal Society Open Science, study shows that you can actually  catch a good mood or a bad mood  from your friends.   

The new study adds to extensive research that shows that  happiness  and  sadness as well as lifestyle and behavioral factors like  smoking , drinking  obesity ,  fitness habits  and even the ability to  concentrate —can spread across social networks, both  online  and in real life. This new study measured social and mood changes over time, and how friends actually influenced each other, and helped rule out the possibility that similarities between friends exist simply because people tend to gravitate toward and hang out with others like themselves.

The research looked at 2,194 high school and college students and used a mathematical model to look for connections among friend networks.
 
Overall, kids whose friends suffered from bad moods were more likely to report bad moods themselves—and they were less likely to have improved when they were screened again six months to a year later. When people had more happy friends, on the other hand, their moods were more likely to improve over time.   Symptoms related to  depression —like helplessness, tiredness and loss of interest—also followed this pattern, which scientists call “social contagion.”  These negative feelings do spread across networks and do have important health implications.
 
If you hang your hat with a bunch of pessimists who believe the world is out to get them and there is nothing worthwhile, the whiners and complainers, you will become just like them, even if you are initially a positive individual. . If you hang around those people who are the depressing, angering, blamers, you will become just like them. 

If you hang out with a group of successful, positive-minded individuals who believe in taking responsibility for their lives, you will become a proactive individual who shapes his/her future.
 
You really are only as good as the company you keep, pick your associates carefully.