CEO's are mostly picked because they have some knowledge or wit over the business world. They may not grasp the product. They may not have any ethics. They may lack in common sense. They might even demonstrate brilliant incompetence, and just be a clever guy in an empty suit.
This week, via The Times....an interview with the CEO of Ryanair occurred. Michael O'Leary is Irish, and a bit prone to speak his mind....on any topic. The airline and it's board know that. He's generally right. If you measured his level of common sense....it'd be rating near '10' or beyond.
So they asked him over the burka business. In the UK, there's lots of Islamic women walking around, and a public debate over whether allowing the burka is OK with British tradition.
O'Leary paused for only a second and then spoke at a level that few British leaders would ever do in public. Basically, by his view, the UK is leaning a bit overboard to support one religious minority. He used the great example of how one can travel beyond the borders of the UK....to an Islamic state, and then be forced to accept their standards....there's no choice in the matter....you behave by the rules of the place you visit.
O'Leary notes....we seem to have gotten into some new vision....that we don't write rules in the west....forcing people to be western or leave. We just want to make everyone happy.....and mostly end up making various segments unhappy over this senseless attitude,
This week, I will turn fifty-five and I've traveled a far bit in my life. I've been to around twenty-five odd countries, and seen various cultures at work. Traveling changes your perceptions about thing. Life is different....everywhere you go.
In a curious way, you find that there are three basic rules as a traveler. First, you accept the unknown. As much as the book noted ahead of time.....you end up finding dozens....maybe hundreds....of things that you weren't warned about. Some are pleasant....some not so pleasant.
Second, you learn that you aren't there to change anything, or reshape anyone perceptions. You are simply there to see a very different place, experience a different culture, and view a society with different priorities. You ask stupid questions, and always try to act humble and polite. If you want to stay in that land....you adapt to their standards....not the otherway around.
Third and final, judgements of a traveler....should be kept to one's self or limited. If you don't like strong coffee....go sip something else. If you don't like the religious rules of this country....look the other way and shorten the trip. If the burka business upsets you in that country, try not to gaze at those hot lusty gals with the bedspread over their face.
So after this trip has wrapped up and you've come back to your own country.....you don't really want to face some idiot traveler who has decided to stay in your own country.....and try to reshape your society to fit their own that they left.
You'd like to lay out some simple customs....basic rules of public action.....and let the new visitor do their thing. But after a while, you soon figure that they aren't here to fall into your customs....they'd rather you just accept them as they are. The trouble is....if you visited their country....they'd have very drastic expectations of what you needed to do.
Americans tend to make interesting travelers. We will travel to the ends of the Earth. We sip great Scotch. We eat some fine German pork. We ride on fantastic trains in France. We lie under an umbrella in Denmark with a breeze off the ocean, and almost no one on the beach. We eat Greek sweets that aren't loaded with chocolate. We read through British newspapers that amaze us with real news....not that fake political stuff from back in the US. We even turn on the German state-run TV network and are shocked that someone would make a 45-minute documentary on people who live under bridges.
Then, the American typically returns home. He's had enough.
Some Americans operate with a unlimited "enough", and just stay around traveling to take more and more doses of life's differences.
The Islamic society? Well....they just aren't good travelers, and they make lousy choices at moving somewhere else....thinking they'd fit into that culture. Weeks and months pass, and the Islamic guy hasn't really done much to fit.....doing more instead to make the new country accept them.
O'Leary is kinda right. Maybe we need a refreshing insight like this occasionally.