You could very well be the first person from your Nordic nation that some of your Asian business partners have ever worked with. You may even be the only Nordic person.
That gives you a responsibility to be a good representative of the best from your nation.
You can be a hero simply by stating firmly that “We don’t believe in corruption where I come from”. No need to dwell on the fact, that over the years, some corrupt cases have actually been revealed also back in squeaking clean Scandinavia.
When it comes to conducting business on an ethical foundation, you have an excellent opportunity to be the good example. You are more than yourself – you are responsible for forming the opinion of the Asian people, that you do business with, about what it means to do sustainable business in the broadest sense.
The way you work with your staff, the way you work with your customers, the way you work with your suppliers, they way you work with the authorities – it can all be used to demonstrate, how we as Nordic businessmen and -women conduct business in an ethically sustainable way.
Of course we must first and foremost be profitable in order to be a good example. But we must also be living examples, that we don’t believe profit maximization at any cost is sustainable. We should lead the fight for sustainability as we lead the fight against poverty because it is morally the right choice and also because it makes good economic sense.
Lifting the meaning and purpose of what you do up to a higher level will also make yourself a happier person.
We should set good examples and remain true to our Nordic values. Promoting trust, openness, gender equality, socio-economic equality and sustainability. Action, not just talk, will help transplant the very same values, that has benefited our societies for so many years, to your particular Asian business environment.
There is a quote that is often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
In fact, Gandhi never said anything like it. But that doesn’t make it less good advice, does it?