09 May Meet Mr. D

2013 marks my 7th year of working in China and I just returned from a 3-week trip to Beijing.

The highlight for me was seeing quite a few of my old students from years gone by and seeing how they are doing. Mr. D approached me at a conference that I was speaking at to tell me how much he appreciated my classes (which he took in 2008). I remember him clearly. He sat for 7 out of the 8 days in total (two 4- day modules) totally confused and rather frustrated.

He was trying to understand human beings from his logical and rather robotic mind. On the 8th day, he participated in one of my favourite exercises designed to probe how leaders communicate with people around them. I ask students to reflect on what they learned in the families that they grew up in about giving other appreciations, and if they know how to appreciate themselves. Mr. D immediately began to tear up and left the room. He came back after he collected himself and asked if he could tell the class his story. When he was kindergarten age, he was abandoned and left at an orphanage. The people running the orphanage abused him. No, he had never even thought of appreciating himself or others and he had never experienced being loved and valued. His determination drove him to create one of the biggest companies in China, manufacturing seats for all of the trains there.

However, he never learned how to integrate dignity, respect and humanity into the workplace.

However, he never learned how to integrate dignity, respect and humanity into the workplace. That day changed his life forever and he wanted me to know that he was grateful. I smiled with tears and my eyes. I knew that we had influenced him because so many other students had ended up in my class because they had known this man before and after our training.

Mr. D now wants us to design an in-house program for his staff. I can hardly wait to go back :)

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