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I’ve recently returned from a trip to Peru and learned so many fascinating things about Andean culture, philosophy and how they stay happy in their multi-generational living and working arrangements. I will relate a few tidbits here along with how the U.S. is actually adopting the practices of ancient and less advanced cultures.

Some learnings from the Incas and other Andean cultures of Peru:

  • The central philosophy is Love, Learning and Service.  Will the Boomers and Gen Y/Millennials increasingly adopt those values?
  • Those cultures are quite stress-free, attributed to their hard work, low desire for material goods beyond their definition of necessity and comfort.
  • Multiple generations live and work together by choice as well as necessity.
  • Women have very significant work roles.
  • A philosophy of “reciprocity” – today for you, tomorrow for me (which is the secret of successful networking, of course) pervades their lives.
  • Trial marriage is the custom in some Andean cultures. If it doesn’t work out, you can say “goodbye” and go on their way. No lawyers needed. However, if a child is produced during the trial marriage, the couple must marry.

Owing to demographics (age, ethnicity, immigrant cultures), economics and environmental conditions, the U.S. seems to be getting to be more like the Andean cultures.

  • Several studies reveal that Boomers are helping children and grandchildren financially. For example, a Merrill Lynch- Age Wave survey (2013) found that 62% of people age 50 plus helped family members in the last 5 years. And they’re helping with unpaid work too: grandparents care for 30% of pre-schoolers while the parents work.
  • Ken Dychtwald of Age Wave said, “Boomers want to be where the action is” rather than separating themselves in their living and working arrangements.
  • A couple living together either before marriage or with no committed intention of marriage has been growing for several decades.
  • Women’s work roles beyond domestic ones have been increasing.

Unfortunately, our stress levels have been increasing every year, and with our multitude of consumer goods, we are not getting happier.

Whether these trends will continue as Gen X ages and if the economy settles into a more positive pattern remains to be seen. And smart as we think we are in technological innovation, the Inca accomplishments of the 1500s are still ahead of us

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com


For those of you on the move this weekend…

There’s still some magic in face-to-face meetings that electronic communication can’t match. They’re more effective for relationship-building, sales and revenue generation. The evidence is that those in-person conversations produce an impressive ROI. And don’t forget valuable new contacts that are made in serendipitous conversation in the act of traveling.

The United States Travel Association published the results of a recent study it had commissioned through Oxford Economics proving that business travel drives revenue and ultimately profit growth. For this study, "business travel” included sales trips, meetings, conventions, and incentive trips. Their comprehensive analysis covered 14 economic sectors over a span of 13 years.

  • For every dollar invested in business travel, Oxford Economics determined that businesses experience an average $12.50 in increased revenue and $3.80 in new profits.
  • Business executives cited customer meetings for having the greatest returns, in the range of $15 to $19.99 per dollar invested. That's a 1500 to 2000 percent return on investment (ROI).
  • The same executives identified the average return on conference and trade show participation to be in the range of $4 to $5.99 per dollar invested.
  • Both executives and business travelers estimated that approximately 40 percent of their prospective customers were converted to new customers with an in-person meeting compared to 16 percent without such a meeting.

Are web meetings and teleconferences are just as effective? Among corporate executives, 85 percent found these remote meetings with prospective customers to be less effective than in-person meetings. Virtual meetings are less effective than in-person meetings with current customers according to 63 percent of the corporate executives.

What about incentive travel in relation to compensation? According to the responding executives, companies would need to increase an employee’s total base compensation by 8.5 percent in order to achieve the same effect as incentive travel.

Now if only it was less of a hassle for the travelers!

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


Before I left for my latest vacation – this time in the Baltic region – I promised members of my community and readers of my monthly newsletter on inter-generational relations to relate my observations on 3 cities in this interesting region. So here are a few highlighted general impressions from my recent trip to Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn.

Helsinki, Finland

  • People love their cakes and pastries, and ice cream is popular, but few people look overweight. Clearly they don’t have the U.S. obesity problem.
  • They drink a LOT of coffee (but no Starbucks there) – I guess they need something to go with the pastries.
  • Beautiful Music Center, and concerts are sold out.
  • Scarves are the dominant fashion statement. (Well the weather is typically cold).
  • As the 2012 World City of Design, it is obvious that Finns are very design-conscious, including how food is served.
  • It’s a very comfortable and lovely city.
  • And it’s VERY expensive.
  • Finns speak 3 languages: Finnish, Swedish and English.

Tallinn, Estonia

  • A sense of a young, optimistic, friendly population, positive about the economy (which is pretty good) and jobs.
  • Young people never experienced life under the Soviet regime.
  • Proud of Estonia being the home of Skype and a tech industry.
  • Food in restaurants is very good. And Tallinn is striving for culinary recognition.
  • Tallinn has a long and fascinating history and was dominated by Denmark, Finland and Russia but has retained it’s own identity.
  • The language is quite unusual and is related somewhat to Finnish,

St. Petersburg, Russia

  • People are very fashion conscious. Women favor pantyhose and tights, including textured ones, even in warm weather. (I was the only woman I saw with bare legs.)
  • There is a strong effort to keep Russian dominant as a language and culture, unlike the other 2 cities where many people spoke English or another language and information was printed in other languages. But the Internet precludes walling off the rest of the world anymore, and it has led to the changed mindset of the young, unlike many of their parents who got comfortable with the Soviet ways.
  • Young men especially seemed very involved with their children: carrying, playing, and enjoying being with them in the parks, streets and cafes.
  • No dominant auto manufacturer was apparent. There were many brands from many countries.
  • Other than the hospitality industry and related (maintenance, construction, the arts, etc.) ones, there seemed to be limited career opportunities. St. Petersburg is full of history, arts and great beauty in architecture, parks and the waterways, but I wondered what “real life” was like.
  • It was a very expensive city, though not on the Euro (and not as expensive as Helsinki).

A note about the music in all 3 cities:

We had wonderful experiences at the ballet and opera in St. Petersburg and concerts in Helsinki. Those were classical music. Otherwise, we heard almost exclusively American music everywhere – music from the 1920s through today. Since most tourists were not from the U.S., it just indicates how pervasive the American songbook and jazz is. One “Finnish” restaurant in Helsinki had a jazz station from the U.S. playing from over the Internet.

I’d love you to share your impressions if you have visited these places, and I’m happy to answer your questions. Please share on the blog.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com 



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