Patience and diplomacy

Chennai 4th October 2011

Working in other countries is often a work of patience when dealing with a culture clash. Asia,whether China, India or other definitely requires a set of skills that is a mix of authority and diplomacy. At the same time it is important to be respectful in order to earn respect. While I am a used to an appointment at 9am meaning an appointment at 9am, here it could mean anything, it could as well be 10 or 11am…Here the pace of life and the importance of punctuality and delivery of quality have a totally different
meaning! Working with the local contractors, suppliers and client representatives and their local culture, that is what my day has been all about today. Following yesterday’s site discussions we decided to explore some ideas further by bringing in some local lighting equipment to test our ideas real time…nothing beats visual mock ups. With the client and artists also present I was assured of a rich pool of “opinions”.

From the client side I had to deal with the “hierarchy” of apparent standing, with that I mean the higher “up the ladder” the more somehow these “VIP’s” feel they have to voice their opinion or at least an opnion. In this culture the more important you are the more you are expected to have an opinion. Unfortunately sometimes this results in confusing and non related comments with no real value other then being a comment that creates distraction and loss of time and effort. Diplomacy and authorative responses are needed to keep the focus.

Dealing with local suppliers had an added challenge of language barrier. I had to have my directions translated and communicated over several levels. From me to the “boss” who instructed his his assistant who then translated my requirements into the local lingo. You know what happens when you ask to communicate a message over several levels through several people! The story coming out at the end has little resemblance to the original story. I needed a lot of patience and diplomacy to get what I wanted. In fact I never really got what I had hoped to achieve, listening to so many reasons why it was not possible….

In Light Watch today some pictures from site today testing some lighting effects. Don’t ask me what we were trying to achieve…. 🙂


Light Watch 176 : Site action in Chennai

05. October 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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