Riots in Hong Kong, occupation of Tibet and so much smog that Daan Roosegaarde is making black diamonds from it, were some of my thoughts when I took the plane to China. To add insult to injury, my Chinese colleague texted me to bring masks with me since the air quality in Beijing was the worst since long.
Walking through the Forbidden City, I indeed couldn’t see the sun although there were no clouds. But what is this city overwhelming. Everything is larger than you have experienced before, the squares, the temples the streets and the depths of your emotions. How is it possible that -starting before Christ- they build a wall of almost 9000 km running over the crests of mountains? How come that I feel safe to cycle through the city and feel comfortable to cross streets with more than 10 lanes? Why do they have a train that brings me to Shanghai with 307 km/hour while we forget to order a proper high speed train to run over the new track?
Together with Dana I facilitated the Next Generation Global Leadership program for a Swedish multinational. She introduced us to the Chinese culture and CEO’s and entrepreneurs. Did you know that during the cultural revolution (1966-1976) it was forbidden to study? So there is now a generation of people leading organizations that haven’t had a formal training. Afterwards the one child policy was introduced and this means that the current adults were raised alone and are called the little emperors. No siblings to fight with and ado rated by their parents.
Most of all I was impressed by the ability to execute. Most of the skyscrapers in the picture are build in a 6 year time frame. One of the entrepreneurs that we met started in 1989 with the dream to build a 100 year organization. He started building apartments for students with 10.000 dollar and chaired now a 1 Billion dollar International company. It is inspiring to feel that dreams can come through. Money is very important in the culture at the same time you sense everywhere the holistic perspective where they are coming from. I will be back.