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Do They Have The 4th of July in England? Yes, They Call It Saturday

July 6, 2015


Hey Tim, remember when my great-great-great-grandfathers defeated the Germans hired by your great-great-great-grandfathers?

One of my best friends lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He comes from a long and prestigious lineage in thatbeautiful  country. I’ve stayed at his house on occasion, and he’s often visited mine. At one point he called me for directions to my house, 

Get off the freeway on exit 175. Go East for about 5 miles and then turn left on State Street. You’ll know the right intersection because there’s a grocery store with a huge American flag. . . or as you would more properly recognize it, the winner’s flag.

Last week was July 4th. To most of the world, (Including Scotland) it was Saturday. To America it was Independence day; a day to celebrate the birth of our nation 239 years ago. In my community, there are few holidays bigger than Independence day. My house sits up on a bench in the foothills. The valley was lit up with aerial fireworks, some from professional shows, many from private citizens. 

And yet, to my friends in Britain, it was just another summer Saturday. 

Business is international. My company is based in Europe but has offices all around the world. When I call our Service Desk, I’m as likely to talk to someone from the Philippines or India, as I am someone from Salt Lake City or Dallas. 

If you have teams in different countries, it’s important to pay attention to the holidays and customs in the countries where your teams live and work. First, of course, you need to make sure you are not scheduling projects or meetings during a holiday. Here in the US, Friday July 3rd was a holiday for nearly everyone. Even if you knew that the 4th of July was a holiday, if you weren’t aware that Americans are taking a day off on Friday, you might end up waiting a REALLY long time for people to join your conference call. 

The second reason it’s important to understand the holidays and customs in the countries where your team members live, is that it’s just a nice thing to do. I was working on a project with my friend Tim. We were creating software. He sent me a copy that included the word “licence.” This is obviously a misspelling of the word “license.” I noted that and sent him feedback. 

Rodney, “licence” is a perfectly spelled word. It is a noun. The word “license” is a verb. . .in the Queen’s English! 

The software was being written in Britain, and Tim let me know in no uncertain terms that we would be using the British spellings. (I’m just glad we didn’t have to worry about what “colour” to make it.) We got a nice laugh out of the differences in our common language, but we left the British spelling. 

Each man’s home is his castle. And each citizen’s home should be the greatest place on earth. By remembering the holidays, and figuring out what is important and special about your team’s country, you actually build unity by noting differences. And while Tim and I will joke about which side of the road you should drive on, (if we drive on the right side in America, it must mean you drive on the wrong side in Britain), he understands the high esteem I hold him and his country. 

The difference between England and America is that in America we think 100 years is a long time and in England they think 100 miles is a long ways. 

(And Tim would point out to me, Scotland is a separate country from England.) 

Happy Treason Day. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

From → Team Building

  1. Reblogged this on hampshire Hog and commented:
    Excellent! 🙂

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