Becoming Our Best


Some years ago when we lived in Italy the phrase above was used as the eye-catching title of a brochure that introduced Americans to the culture of driving in Italy. It is very different driving over there, as we found out again during a recent visit. The Italian driver, in vehicles ranging from Vespa motor scooters to motorcycles to cars, buses and huge trucks, drives with a passion most Americans can’t quite understand.

A typical Italian driver passes on curves (where the other cars just move aside to let the extra car squeeze through), races to the intersection to cross before the other driver, contends with two-wheeled vehicles weaving through the already crowded, moving lanes of traffic and generally drives aggressively where the U.S. driver would drive defensively. So driving in Italy can be a somewhat shocking cross-cultural experience.

But aren’t there many types of experiences with other cultures that we adjust to with difficulty? And in the 21st century we will be required to work more and more with other cultures and their idiosyncrasies, so what might the contrasts between the U.S. and Italian driving style teach us?

• Don’t expect the rest of the world to think or act as we would.

• When in another country, develop an awareness of “the way things are done around here”.

• Adapt your ways of doing things to that culture’s pattern.

• Enjoy the differences.

Strangely enough, it appeared in our recent travels through Italy that they had no more, and perhaps fewer traffic accidents than we have in the U.S. So their style of driving fits well with their country and the personality of its people. And when the U.S. driver adjusts to their style, it is a fun way to drive.

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

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