ast month we discussed the need to prepare companies to export and today I would like to continue with a topic that may seem simple but has a huge influence on export culture in a company: timetables.
My grandfather always told me that we used to have timetables similar to those in the rest of Europe, in the sense that we woke up early, had lunch early and went home early. But hunger led people to take multiple jobs, and this led to an extended break in the middle of the day as a time to rest and prepare for the second shift. I’ve never known whether that was the real explanation behind our having to suffer through an ineffective and inefficient timetable, but it seems clear that expecting the public administration to resolve this issue would be like asking the government to teach our children to make the bed or to prepare our menu for the week, for our own good. Business decisions can only be taken by one entity: the company. And avoiding this responsibility so as not to assume the consequences of our actions leads us to immobility that can result in failure.
But let’s focus on exports and define what we are in the world: European. And Europeans have timetables starting between 7 am and 9 am and finishing work between 4 pm and 6 pm. This is what people from Asia or North America expect from us and to make life easier, the best thing to do is respect it. Basically in order to avoid being the odd one out among all those who contact our potential clients. Furthermore, if our sales focus on Europe, the reasoning has even more weight, as being open in the evening when clients aren’t or being closed at midday when clients are open is a serious strategic error.
Changes in commercial timetables, thus, won’t be based on achieving a better balance between our professional and personal lives, but on the simple fact that we should adapt to the timetables of our potential clients. And, as multinational corporations established here have already done, I think it would be good to embrace a timetable that, as my grandmother used to say, was ours in the past.