MY stint in the United States has come to an end. My gratitude goes out to the US Department of State for a life-changing experience.
I learnt a number of things from Americans which I would like to share with you.
Truth be told, it is not all Americans who have the qualities that I will mention.
However, a significant number of them do.
Some, if not all, of the qualities are characteristics, which I hope we may be able to emulate and make a difference in our community as Zimbabweans.
- Americans are big on customer service. Their customer service is second to none. Customer— facing personnel know how to treat customers as royalty. They know that smiles matter.
- Americans generally have a humanitarian and a culture of voluntarism. They believe in volunteering their services and making a positive difference in other people’s lives. A number are involved in voluntary services in and out of their country.
- Americans are generous. There were almost 200 professional fellows from around the globe. Many of us lived with host families. My host family went the extra mile to make my stay comfortable and memorable. One may argue that it is because Americans have plenty.
While that may be the case, being generous is not only defined in monetary terms.
You can be generous with your time too.
- Americans are professional. I was attached to a public relations firm for three weeks. All the employees know what is expected of them.
People are prompt for meetings, and the quality of work is exceptionally good. There are no personal calls, personal visits, and no dabbling in social media during working hours.
- Americans are big on networking. Almost every night we attended a networking event. Be it for women or start-ups. Why? Because there is a realisation that in business you cannot go it alone.
- Americans know that partnerships matter. The public and the private sector work together to support the development of small to medium enterprises.
There are support systems in place that allow small businesses to grow organically.
There is a lot more I could say about Americans.
Do not get me wrong, not all is rosy and I am not saying the people are perfect. They are not.
However, they sure know how to make the best first impressions. Being cordial, being selfless, being professional, being ethical and orderly does not take much. These basic qualities are in short supply in our organisations and communities.
I have resolved that things do not have to remain the way they are.
My Zimbabwe, surely we can make a change for the better.
Do not wait for the next person.
Let change begin with you!