When I landed my first client in China, I wasn’t sure at first if it was the right fit.
I have long had concerns about China’s humanitarian and environmental policies, and I didn’t want to be part of a problem. Using your talents to bring Chinese goods and services into the United States -- or helping Chinese businesses make real estate investments here -- comes with real responsibility.
So we asked each other lots of questions to make sure we were the right partners. And little by little, it became clear that we were on the same page, even more than most of my U.S.-based clients.
They were committed to sustainability and transparency -- from design through distribution -- and they wanted to have an impact that was meaningful and measurable. Come to think of it, that was a lot more than I could say about a lot of American companies I’ve worked with.
Like one that churns out slick videos and puff pieces about its sustainability practices, even after it spent decades dumping carcinogenic chemicals into Los Angeles’ groundwater.
Or one that says it believes in communities and families, even after axing its pension plan.
Or one that puts together a poetic non-discrimination statement, only to embolden its HR managers to cover up the rankest bias.
More and more, it seems to me that the future belongs to a coalition of the willing -- that is, to those who are willing to do the right thing, regardless of time zones and borders and visas and politics.
They are global citizens. They can be anywhere. And they’re the ones you should want to work with.
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