The View From Afar — Spain/Germany #6

You will recall we are canvassing the world to get an idea of how folks think about themselves, their own businesses, their own countries and the United States.

Today, we speak to a very special correspondent in Madrid who is the Chairwoman of the Board of a truly global company. She is from Germany, but lives in Spain and speaks several languages. She is educated in the United States (electrical engineering) and is running an almost 100-year-old manufacturing business heavy on R & D.

I have watched her (hey, I’m supposed to be helping her, not just watching) meet and master some of the hardest challenges in such an enterprise with grace and aplomb while pushing and shoving into what is mainly a male dominated industry.

She is the mother of lovely girls and makes a mean snowman. Will drop her work to make a snowman with her kids on the fall of a snowflake in Madrid where it never snows.

Please see earlier posts from:

Spain #1

Israel #2

Chile #3

South Africa #4

California #5

The questions:

1. How are you feeling — optimistic, pessimistic — about business, the world, your country in general?

2. What is the world’s biggest challenge from here on out?

3. Anything that you think I need to know?

Here is what she thinks:

Our correspondent is optimistic for her country and says the COVID pandemic was the last push they needed to go fully digital. She had been fighting with unions who argued to delay things, but the necessity to work from afar (WFH) left the unions with no more usable arguments.

She is not so keen on the rest of the world. In her life experience, she has travelled millions of miles in Europe, living/working/learning in the States, and traveling across the globe with no difficulty thereby enriching her life and work experience by exposure to new people, cultures, and food.

The current situation dampens that and she sees that as a root cause for a perceived distance between Europe/USA and Russia and China. Very good point.

Along the same line, she sees an enormous challenge with the rules and “crazy taxes” imposed by individual countries that make it hard to be a citizen of the world and thereby forestalls the opportunity to sit at a single table of one’s choosing and to learn about and bridge our differences. Very global view.

She thinks this would also avoid wars as we turn our knowledge into understanding. She encourages travel for people, particularly future generations, to understand the entire world. This would take the focus from a national view to a world view.

She is not the first correspondent to suggest there is no big difference between a President Trump or a President Biden. She thinks it is tiresome and unhelpful to have American policies changing on a four-year cycle. She compares this to family-owned companies that plan for a generational, long-term, and stable time frame.

I can vouch that much of what she has said she puts into practice as she and her husband took a very entrepreneurial approach to assisting their city, Madrid, during the pandemic by sourcing PPE worldwide and finding ventilators in other countries to be renovated and put back into service to serve her community. It was very gratifying to see her and her husband put this into practice.

Entrepreneurs are good problem solvers.

So, there you have it, dear reader, the view from Germany and Spain through the eyes of a woman Chairwoman of the Board of a global, family-owned enterprise.