Becoming Our Best


Recently I traveled to Russia to give some presentations about American conflict resolution. It had been 11 years since I had been there and I was pleasantly surprised at the progress they have made, despite huge obstacles in personal life and the culture.

Somehow, Russians have become masters at "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps", and simultaneously dealing with a wide array of individual, social and economic problems that would make most Americans cringe. So what did I learn from my Russian colleagues which might be helpful to the rest of us? These points stand out:

• Believe you can do it, despite the odds

• Adapt your plan quickly to the needs of the moment

• Innovate, when you don't have the materials you need

• If things go poorly, don't whine, just work harder next time

• Make time to build strong relationships with family and friends - these relationships will sustain you when times are tough

It seems to take experiencing another country first hand to see our own clearly. The Russians are retaining some very important things in their culture (like their relationships with family, friends and close associates) that we may be losing due to "lack of time" in the U.S. They have successfully done this despite dealing with the many problems in their economy and the overwhelming onslaught of western pop culture.

My hope is that the Russians will continue to find ways to develop a democratic, capitalist model of society suited to their country; and at the same time make their personal relationships a high priority. For our part, I would like to see the U.S. expend more time and effort in cultivating the special relationship we need to have with Russia . If we work together, there is much to be gained for both countries.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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