Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

tea
Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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Glasgow and Jerusalem: What they taught me about business coaching

My second week in the UK has been based in Glasgow, thousands of miles away from the bustle of Jerusalem and many of my clients. On reflection, the holiday has reminded of a valuable lesson in business.

While my wife has been biking around the wonders of Glentress, I have had the thrill of visiting some amazing places. I took a guided tour of Stirling Castle with its fascinating history and stunning views. I booked a hired tour to Loch Lomond. I could have sat there for hours, contemplating, taking in the amazing scenery. And if you check my Facebook postings, you will find out just how many distilleries I visited.

And it struck me that there was a common feature running through all the site visits. The staff I met were without exception incredibly friendly and helpful, with a smile. This applies right down to the student parking attendant at the castle, even if he was clearly bored out of his mind with his summer job.

Another feature was that many of the people I encountered had been in their jobs for several years. They loved working where they are. To prove my point, the guide at Edradour Distillery, shall we say a touch mature in age, admitted that he had only been there for 12 months. However, he was full of anecdotes and extra information, as if he had been employed since birth.

And there was Saturday in Glasgow itself. In the bustling Buchanan Street, I visited the stand of the Glasgow Friends of Israel, engaging with passers-by and gently informing dozens of Israel’s pluralistic society. In contrast, 200 metres away, a Palestinian solidarity group was pouring out hatred in a contrary direction. Whenever I passed by, it was noticeable that they drew less people to their table.

Later that evening, we visited the famous pub, The Pot Still. The lady who served us knew her whiskies and could offer professional advice on each one. After we left, we popped in on The Central Hotel, where the desk manager took five minutes out of his valuable time to give us brief yet brilliant history lesson of the place – Sinatra, Marilyn M, Harry Lauder, Gene Kelly et al.

As a business coach and mentor, I am often asked by corporate decision makers how they should react to issues involving staff and personnel. I always try to stress the difference between managing situations as opposed to motivating individuals. And this encouragement can come in many forms – not just financial; a smile, a carefully chosen word of empathy, the addition of a more interesting task, or just simply listening to their advice.

Evidently, all but one of the above cited examples feature people thrilled by what they are doing and imparting that to others with a smile. You want to go back. I assume that they are well supported or cared for by seniors with invisible faces to you and to me. In the case of the exception, I recall few instances where bile is able to promote long-term success and achievement.

Loch Lomond, Arran, Edradour, et al has turned out to be an incredibly motivating adventure for me. Maybe this wee picture can enlighten you as to what I mean and thus encourage others to learn this valuable lesson.

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