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You can't lead with your feet on the desk: Building Relationships, Breaking Down Barriers, and Delivering Profits by Edwin D. Fuller

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Chapter 7. The Past Lives On

 

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even the past.

 
 --William Faulkner

When I was serving in Germany, an Air Force buddy and I were intent on living up to the late 1960s bachelor ideal. And since we were stationed at Rhein-Main Air Base, close by the Frankfurt airport, we had no shortage of female flight attendants to date. My girlfriend at the time was Danish, and my buddy's girl was German.

One day, the four of us took a romantic cruise up the Rhine to the Rudesheim Wine Festival. My buddy and I were sampling a wonderful Riesling at the bar when we heard screams coming from the fountain in the courtyard. We rushed to see what all the commotion was about only to find our dates tearing at each other's hair. We were disappointed to learn that the girls weren't fighting over us. Rather, the fight erupted over a simple case of national enmity. World War II had ended more than two decades earlier, but the Danes could not forget the German occupation.

In most parts of the world, history lives on in the division between conquered peoples and those who did the conquering. Unlike the United States, most nations are not melting pots. Their populations tend to be homogeneous successive generations living in the same cities as their ancestors and remembering the same events—or, rather, the stories passed down about those events.

We at Marriott have learned that history explains the way some hotel owners and local associates interact with one another and with their ...

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