As a businessman working for a large global company, I travel a lot both domestically and internationally. I find it incredible how the world has become so accustomed to communicating in different time zones. We do business across the globe and thanks to technology, we have learned how to make it work without slowing us down. My family is no exception.
Angela, my daughter works in BCG Seattle, WA, USA. Because of the time difference, I don’t get to talk to her as often as her mother does. But no matter where I am or how busy I can be, I make sure to say hello every morning in our family WeChat group, often with live pictures as attachments. These days, I no longer find it as simple as just typing “Good Morning!” since we are usually in different time zones. Quite often I write: “Good morning and good afternoon” since my wife is in Shanghai and my daughter is in Seattle. It gets more difficult when Angela is on a business trip, even if it is a domestic trip (since there are 6 different time zones in the United States). It becomes even more complicated when both of us are on international trips because then we should deal with multiple time zones at a time. Sometimes it is hard figuring out the timing and keeping up with each other.
In August, I went to India with our global team. It was about 9:00 AM on Aug. 10th and I was on my way to a customer meeting when I realized that I forgot to say hello to my family! I quickly typed “Good morning, Good afternoon and Good Night!”(I knew from my wife that Angela was in New York that week, and it was almost midnight for her). Very soon I got a response, my wife shared a picture of her nice lunch and Angela sent a smiling selfie! Thanks to smartphones, at that moment, none of us felt that we were in 3 different time zones!
It is similar to our conference calls at Sensata too. Our team has a global weekly WebEx conference call where Asian, European and North American teams are involved. This meeting is usually quite late in the evening for me since I am based in China and at the beginning of the meeting, we usually say “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening”. If you ask me at that moment, in one “WebEx conference room”, do we feel any time difference or distance? I would say not at all, it’s one team and one time zone!
When I was on that trip to India with my colleagues from all around the world, we kept chatting and sharing the interesting experiences that working for a global company like Sensata and Schrader has given us. As Vishy said “Working and learning from different cultures and people, is amazing!” And I can understand this excitement: I have been working at Sensata for 18 years in various business units, management roles, and regions (thus time zones) and I always find it fascinating!
A bit of advice to our younger generation: if you ever get a chance to work in another region/country, or just go to another time zone for a business trip, take it no matter where it is! You will learn so much from the experience. Technology makes it the world much smaller; trust me you will love this journey no matter which time zone you end up in!
Watch William's blog video.