Three Levels of Experience

Published on 2013-07-03

Source: Pommiebastards @ Flickr
MY COLLEAGUE BRICE recently bought a bicycle and started his “Discovering Shanghai Tour”.  That reminds me of “Three Levels of Experience”.  They are Cross-Continent Level: On a Flight; Statewide Level: On a Bus; and Local Ground Level: On a Bicycle.
Cross-Continent Level can be related to cross-culture activities in a multinational company. The awareness of cultural issues and differences can give you a better understanding of culture differences. That will also help you to be a leader on the global scale.  It explains why ClarkMorgan’s cross-culture training contributes to around 1/8 of our annual training revenue.
Statewide Level  brings you a full picture of things around you.  As a leader today, gaining experience from regions and cities is a must.  Haier, a Chinese brand, electronic appliances company, and also one of my clients, relocates their young leaders of Freight Forwarding Department statewide every two to three years, and this system has produced many leaders who contribute their experience to the company’s fast expansion.
However, Local ground Level  is really fun!  Why?  Because not only do you travel from place to place, you need to interact with local people sometimes. For Brice, as a foreigner living in Shanghai for less than two years, he has to communicate with local people in Mandarin with as much body languages as he can.  Also at the ground level, you will discover things that you will never see on a flight or a bus level.  Nothing can replace my knowledge and skills I learnt during my first year working at a four-star hotel in Shanghai, 20 years ago.  Now I can understand the challenges from personal experience, when I was invited to give trainings to several hotel clients.  And many of my stories can be the case studies closely relate to the hotel’s daily operations.
I am amazed when I review my personal growth from Local Ground Level through Statewide Level to Cross-Continent Level. I feel grateful that I did not miss any opportunities of learning knowledge and skills from the basic level.  Without this knowledge, my later years, working as a director in corporate US, would have prevented me from understanding the challenges faced by my entire team – from the bicycle to jet plane.