If you’re like me whenever the nation of Israel comes up your mind immediately goes to Bible history and religious pilgrimages. But a recent business trip taught me there’s much more to this geographically small but globally impactful nation. My interactions with the businesses I met with, especially in the Agriculture and Digital Technology space left a lasting positive impression on me for a variety of reasons and I’d like to share with you some of the learnings I went with:
Create bench strength
The majority of Israel’s young population must undergo a compulsory stint in the military for about 2 years from which some may choose to remain and have a career in the military. Others don’t automatically form the reserve army and are trained for a given period every year until they reach the upper age limit. This means at any point in time there is an active pool and bench strength available for the army to call on. This raised a question in my mind regarding what leaders can do to create an active pool of capable people we can always pull from when required. Do we intentionally train our team members so people can take up opportunities internally, especially in this “japa” environment where mass emigration to Canada, the UK, etc. means are some skill sets becoming increasingly scarce?
Perhaps due to the military background of most of the businesspeople I encountered, professionalism was at a significant level, especially concerning time. A 10 am appointment meant you were seated and discussing at 10 am, not just making your way to the meeting venue at the time. I believe strongly that time is our most valuable asset because it’s the one thing we can never get back once lost. I find that showing respect for someone else’s time is one of the most courteous things we can do during any kind of interaction. Imagine the personal and professional mileage we will get by intentionally creating an environment where we consciously demonstrate an appreciation for the time of others.
Age is nothing but a number
I met entrepreneurs from their 20s to their 60s. No one was too young or too old to think of a way to solve a problem they observed in their environment. The more mature founders were able to leverage their experience to create tangible solutions.
The level of innovation that turned a harsh desert land into a nation known for agriculture shows that no problem can out-think a person determined to come up with a solution. Sometimes we need to not just think out of the box but get rid of any form of confinement to get the solution we’re looking for.
Believe in something bigger than you
Making money is great and I’m all for it, but sometimes it may help to sit back and ask ourselves what we’re making the money for. I saw many individuals and businesses who had set funds aside for humanitarian and historical preservation projects. They believed in something that was bigger than them and impacted people they may not ordinarily have met in a way that their names still continue to resonate in the lives of others long after they’re gone.
I hope some of these resonate with you and influence how the rest of your week goes.
To your success