My India-business-rule #1: Always expect the unexpected

It doesn’t get more unexpected on a business trip than this: finding yourself on stage on a cultural extravaganza in India – DANCING. What on earth happened? Is it good or bad for business? 

 

Written by: Trond Skundberg (C) 2014

After a very busy week of travelling and meetings in India, everything had gone exactly as planned – which actually should have made me suspicious. I should have understood some kind of surprise was building up around the next corner.

 

I forgot to be suspicious

However this early morning I was focused on enjoying the beautiful sunrise – on a too early morning flight to Chandigarh, on the Himalayan foothills.

 

To busy to see the India surprise coming

In my constant search for passionate digital media talents, I smelled gold in “the city beautiful” in Punjab. I spent every minute of my day in Chandigarh in meetings. Not having the time to sense India preparing another surprise for me. Then, straight off to visit a cultural program “on the way” to dinner with some partners.

 

How come I was sitting in a sofa just in front of the stage, getting flowers and being interviewed?

A few days earlier I had politely turned down a request to be chief-guest at an event, which was very much accepted. So now – how come I was sitting in a sofa just in front of the stage, getting flowers and being officially welcomed and interviewed? Why was I the one judging the fashion show? Then why on earth was I the one on stage – Bollywood dancing with the local ensemble in front of 500 people?

 

A hard hit for the comfort zone

My comfort zone got a very hard hit this early evening in Punjab. But, this is just how things are in India. This is the type of surprises you just have to expect on your business trip, and not necessarily try to avoid. This is for sure not my first-time or worst-time. Keeping your system in constant prepare-mode will only reduce the India experience, so it is all about when and where to fight back on the unexpected.

 

In India-business, expect the unexpected and be ready when it hit you

It’s obviously when it comes to doing business in India, I would suggest you to go to a pretty high prepare-for-the-unexpected level. Since the surprises you ARE otherwise in for – will hurt more and for sure cost more. There is anyhow no insurance against the unexpected in India, rather a guarantee for it. So please – at least invest in knowledge to keep out of the basic traps.

 

In pleasure – lower the sword and dive in

So, lowering the sword off-business and filling as much as possible of the unexpected quota after hours – for sure is a good idea.

 

That’s why dancing for the fifth time in your life, not in the dark corners of a Norwegian small city discotheque in the eighties – but on stage in Punjab 2014 – eventually CAN turn out to be a good experience. Maybe it’s good for business too.

 

What about the event-video?

I just have to remember to bribe the guy with the video camera to lose the 3 minutes of my contribution to the dance extravaganza.