Friday, May 15, 2009

Diplomacy Cruise

OK, so we've had a week to get to know our international teammates and we've struggled to assemble what looks like a decent PowerPoint presentation for Saturday. Now it's time to party, right?

Not exactly. Our class had organized a dinner cruise on the Mississippi River for tonight, after a full day of presentations from other teams. At first I didn't want to attend because our team presents tomorrow, and also because I didn't want to spend one more penny on entertaining my Chinese teammates after they left me stranded at my hotel in their home city of Guangzhou in March when I visited.

But, in the end, I am a softie, so despite the fact that the Chinese guys were still perplexing to me (and despite the fact that their contribution to our team project is still sorely lacking), I decided to pay the $36 per person to host them on the cruise. My wife joined me, as did the wife of Mr. Delegater from the Chinese team.

And you know what? It was a really good time. Our class, alone together on the quiet river, cruising, drinking, eating, and sharing stories. And for the first time I could really see the gratitude of my Chinese teammates. That just doesn't come through on Skype or in e-mail. It was a fitting end to this maddening process of developing our team business plan, and it set the stage for what I hope will be a successful presentation tomorrow.

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