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Doing things "the American way" Doing things "the American way"
by Joseph Gatt
2020-10-20 08:57:41
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I've met quite a few people who claim that they do things “the American way.”

These people are often from “tribal” societies. That is societies where “respect” and “moderation” tends to be the norm, and where people tend to be indirect in their criticism, and coy when it comes to making money.

These people from tribal societies will claim that they are “Americanized” in that they can do away with respect and they can be straightforward about making money.

amew001_400Nicolas Sarkozy of France is a famous example of someone who claimed to do things the American way that is not mince words when it comes to harsh criticism, and not being indirect and vague about the intention of wanting to strike it rich.

Now these guys get these two things mixed up: militarism, and freedom.

These guys who claim to be “Americanized” are in fact “militarized” and NOT Americanized.

What do I mean?

In tribal societies (Africa, the Middle East, most of Asia, Latin America) moderation is the norm, and respect tends to be the norm. Now I've discussed the notion of “face” at length and in those societies you often don't want to embarrass people, so you tend to moderate your comments.

But there's a group of people in tribal societies that claim to be Americanized, when in fact they are militarized. To them being Americanized means being the general of the armies, that gets to dictate policy, that gets to throw “in your face” criticism at people, and that gets to publicly shame, humiliate, fire, persecute individuals. And of course try to make a lot of money, and spend the hard-earned money on luxury cars, luxury houses and other luxuries, and make sure everyone sees you and those luxuries.

Folks, that's militarism, not Americanism.

Americans tend to respect hard-working people and can be a little rough with people who refuse to get the job done. Americans respect the privacy of individuals and don't force their employees to work overtime. If employees have to work overtime in the US, it's because they really need to get the work done (and not just try to please or impress the “General”) and they are usually getting paid a decent amount of money to work all that overtime.

More importantly, Americanism isn't just about being a bully and insulting people in their face. Americanism is also about giving clear instructions, teaching people how to get the job done, and sharing any information that needs to be shared.

When Americans spend money on luxuries, they are not always trying to show off. They drive luxury cars because they make you look good, but also because those cars have powerful engines and fast acceleration and better brakes and so on. Luxury houses are also comfortable, and people buy them as much for the view, peace, quiet and ergonomy as for reputation purposes.

Those in tribal cultures who claim that they are “Americanized” when all they do is pound the nail down and humiliate people publicly, now that's not real Americanism.

These people often can't give clear instructions, can't teach how to get the job done, and hide a ton of very important information from their employees.

Plus, these dictators are further humiliating their employees by asking employees to give clear, direct, coherent, logical reports. Remember that these are cultures where you tend to give short and embellished reports to your boss, and where speaking in public is a form of shaming.

Finally, a note on all these guys who ask their employees to give public presentations about everything.
There are two types of public presentations: giving public presentations to insiders, and giving public presentations or speeches to an audience of outsiders.

When the audience is made up of insiders, giving a clear and well-executed presentation can lead to ostracism within the company, and to you losing your job at some companies, especially in tribal cultures, especially if your colleagues are not very good at giving public presentations to insiders.

When giving a presentation to an audience made up of outsiders, again, there are two types of presentations. There are those you give as individual (where you only represent yourself) and there are the speeches you give as the representative of an organization, as in your company.

If you give a presentation as an individual and you are only accountable to yourself, the pressure can ease off a bit. But if you are giving a presentation and that you are representing your company, the pressure can be huge, because your job is on the line.

In sum, Americanism does mean having no problems discussing money, chasing profit, or formulating criticism. But Americanism also means freedom, respect for private life, Aristotelian logic, clarity, telling the truth, respecting individuals who are getting the job done, praising individuals who do a great job, and... smiles are very important! These dictators who claim to imitate the American way of getting the job done often forget to smile and forget to enjoy doing their job! Having a job you love and have fun doing is also part of the American dream.

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