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Letters from Vietnam (1): You will always get what you asked for!

Letters from Vietnam – Part 1

Or should it be: Lessons from Vietnam?

Observe, don’t judge

I am currently on a trip through Vietnam. Obviously the people here live very different lives from us westerners – be it behaviour, beliefs, lifestyle, traffic, philosophy… you name it! Although I travel to Asia quite a lot, many of my observations are new to me. Observing without judging is an ongoing challenge for everyone who is interested in personal growth, leadership skills, and self-responsibility. If you are willing to watch first and draw your conclusions second you will never be short of opportunities to become a better ‘you’.

Letters and Lessons from Vietnam

In the next couple of weeks I’ll write some articles about occurrences that happened to me or next to me. In each post I will tell you a little story and I will then draw one ore more conclusions that you can hopefully apply in your everyday business. May be you want to share your conclusions and learnings, too. Feel free to comment on this blog.

Be precise, don’t assume

And here is my first story for you.

I arrived in Ho-Chi-Minh-City (Saigon) a couple of days ago. I had made a two-night online reservation for a hotel from Germany already, because after a long flight I don’t like to run around for room-hunting with my backpack in a city that is unknown to me. The hotel was ok, but the rooms didn’t have individual safes and the hotel was not very clean. You can find pictures of the bedlinen on facebook. During my city strolls through Saigon I past the hotel Tuong Hung. I asked the owner to show me a room and I was very pleased to see, that the wardrobes had safes in them. We agreed on the price and the next day I moved in.

After I had taken over the room I was rather bewildered that in this room the wardrobe was not equipped with a safe – to have a safe of my own was one of the reasons why I moved to this hotel!

So I went to the owner and asked for clarification. She was very understanding and apologised and said I should go for a walk and when I will have returned everything would be to my full satisfaction.

So I went to visit the Palace of Reunification and came back after a couple of hours. In the lobby the owner’s daughter cheerfully smiled at me and nodded to let me know that everything was taken care of. She said to me: “You wanted a locker?” – “Yes, please.” I replied. Then she jumped behind the counter and reappeared with a safe in her hands, that she affectionately handed over to me.

I kid you not. It was a safe that is usually fixed to a wall inside a wardrobe now unrigged in my baffled hands. After my first confusion I had to laugh because the staff had perfectly fulfilled my demands.

Who’s stupid?

Lesson learnt: You will always get what you asked for!

They had perfectly fulfilled my request. I asked for a safe, they gave me a safe. What I really wanted – obviously! obviously? – was a room equipped with a fixed safe that can not be carried away by a hamster (or a drunken tourist for that matter, who is looking for sponsorship of his travel funds). But I didn’t say that and hence I have no right to complain.

Application of the lesson learnt to your business

Be very clear in your communication. If what you want is important for you, then make sure that everyone who is engaged with the delivery has an exact understanding of the demands. If you don’t get what you (thought you) asked for, then consult your service providers, suppliers or employees and let them explain what they understood. Their understanding certainly differed from yours.

As you see, once again, to be a good communicator you need to be a good thinker and a good listener, too.

Tạm biệt,
Herzlichst,  Ihr Dr. Thomas Rose