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A little preparation goes a long way

An American businessman of Indian origin was travelling through Asia and the Sub-continent. He was accompanied by his team of Caucasian colleagues, all junior to him.

He told me that at every single meeting he attended, the Asians/ Indians from the companies that he was visiting would automatically assume that one of his white colleagues was the boss/ decision maker. They would address their comments to the most senior looking Caucasian colleague, who was then put in the embarrassing position of having to tell them that our Indian friend was the decision maker.

This is not an isolated incident. It’s surprising how often it happens. I am not going to talk about the mindset betrayed by the actions. In the information age, when a quick internet search would bring up a company’s hierarchy in a flash , it’s inexcusably lazy (if not downright rude) to walk into a meeting without knowing who the most senior person is.

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