Greetings from Hong Kong! One of my most enjoyable opportunities is teaching in Kellogg’s Executive MBA programs in Chicago, Miami, and Hong Kong. I spent this past week with KH21, a wonderful group of 48 executives from countries across Asia and Europe, at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) teaching my course on “Leading a Global Company.”

Here’s a picture of the KH21 group at one of our dinners:

It is fascinating to trade ideas and perspectives with executives from such diverse backgrounds regarding global economics, leadership, politics, and almost any other issue you can imagine. Rather than limiting yourself to one narrow perspective, it enables you to become aware of multiple perspectives, and by “seeking to understand before you are understood,” you can cultivate that incredibly important — and often elusive — attribute called a “BALANCED PERSPECTIVE!”

This clearly occurred during my time in Hong Kong. The executives were very open in sharing their views on the current dynamics between Asia, Europe, and the United States. I love the fact that they were willing to bring up any and all topics — and I mean ALL topics!!

Here are just a few of the topics that came up during my classes, dinners, and one-on-one meetings:

  • Given the importance of global trade, does it really make sense for the United States to remove itself from the Trans Pacific Agreement? By doing so, doesn’t that give China a strategic advantage across all of Asia? Why would that be in the strategic interests of the U.S.?
  • We understand the concern of the U.S. regarding the protection of intellectual property in China, but doesn’t placing large tariffs on products most adversely impact the poorer people in the U.S. that President Trump says he is trying to help?
  • Those of us in Asia and Europe are focusing on what must be done to address climate change. It appears that the U.S. is significantly less concerned about climate change? Is that true, and if so, why?
  • We are very interested in understanding the U.S. goals regarding immigration. Historically, many foreigners were educated in the U.S. and stayed there, which helped build the U.S. economy in a significant way over the past 70 years. Doesn’t limiting immigration adversely impact U.S. growth in the future?

I must say, some of these questions really caused me to take a step back and truly “self reflect.” I will end with one student’s observation that really stuck with me:

“Professor Kraemer, your President wears a red hat stating “Make America Great Again”… I think America IS a great country. Don’t most Americans believe you are a great country???”

Hmmmmm…..I will end on that note.

Have a great rest of the week!