Americans smile a lot

Just as it is easy to misinterpret the reason for an icebreaker activity, it’s easy to mistake certain social customs of Americans that might suggest strong personal connections where none are intended. For example, Americans are more likely than those from many cultures to smile at strangers and to engage in personal discussions with people they hardly know. Others may interpret this “friendliness” as an offer of friendship. Later, when the Americans don’t follow through on their unintended offer, those other cultures often accuse them of being “fake” or “hypocritical.”

Also:

…[a] Russian saying “If we pass a stranger on the street who is smiling, we know with certainty that that person is crazy . . . or else American.”

From The Culture Map

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Link: Europe and America must work to stop their relationship unravelling

Yet, through its many ups and downs, the relationship has proved resilient. Trade flows between the eu and the United States remain the world’s biggest, worth more than $3bn a day. Shared democratic values, though wobbly in places, are a force for freedom. And, underpinning everything, the alliance provides stability in the face of a variety of threats, from terrorism to an aggressive Russia, that have given the alliance a new salience.

At the heart of this security partnership is nato. By reaching its 70th birthday the alliance stands out as a survivor—in the past five centuries the average lifespan for collective-defence alliances is just 15 years. Even as European leaders wonder how long they can rely on America, the relationship on the ground is thriving. As our special report this week explains, this is thanks to nato’s ability to change. No one imagined that the alliance’s Article 5 mutual-defence pledge would be invoked for the first, and so far only, time in response to a terrorist attack on America, in September 2001, or that Estonians, Latvians and Poles would be among nato members to suffer casualties in Afghanistan. Since 2014 the allies have responded vigorously to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine. They have increased defence spending, moved multinational battlegroups into the Baltic states and Poland, set ambitious targets for military readiness and conducted their biggest exercises since the cold war.

Source: Europe and America must work to stop their relationship unravelling

Link: DOJ approves $69B CVS-Aetna merger as healthcare industry restructures

CVS, which racked up about $185 billion in revenue last year, runs the country’s largest retail-pharmacy chain and provides prescription plans to more than 94 million customers. By joining forces with Aetna—the nation’s third-largest health-insurance provider with over 22 million medical members, earning $60 billion in revenue in 2017—CVS will have a tight grasp on the market. The combined enterprise aims to be a first-line health care hub with clinics in its ubiquitous brick-and-mortar stores.
Original source: DOJ approves $69B CVS-Aetna merger as healthcare industry restructures

Link: US wages have been flat, despite growing economy

“The conundrum of stuck wages [for “non-managerial workers”?] has vexed economists for more than a decade, but their underlying assumption had been that as joblessness drops — it’s at 4% now — companies will be forced to push up wages to attract and retain workers. Now that that hasn’t happened, the feeling is beginning to creep in that this is the new normal.”
Original source: US wages have been flat, despite growing economy

Link: The still-coherent culture that is the United States

Social stuff: ‘Maybe this is the most important result: since 1976 there has not been much divergence between liberal and conservative attitudes toward civil liberties or law enforcement. The divergence on government spending is noticeable but not enormous (see p.39). the divergence on “Marriage, Sex, Abortion” is quite large. In another words, the true polarization is happening across gender issues, as I’ve argued numerous times in the past.’
Original source: The still-coherent culture that is the United States

Link: Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Win – and Neither Did His Campaign

“During that first month, Walsh’s disbelief and even fear about what was happening in the White House moved her to think about quitting. Every day after that became a countdown toward the moment she knew she wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. To Walsh, the proud political pro, the chaos, the rivalries, and the president’s own lack of focus were simply incomprehensible. In early March, not long before she left, she confronted Kushner with a simple request. “Just give me the three things the president wants to focus on,” she demanded. “What are the three priorities of this White House?”

It was the most basic question imaginable — one that any qualified presidential candidate would have answered long before he took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Six weeks into Trump’s presidency, Kushner was wholly without an answer.

“Yes,” he said to Walsh. “We should probably have that conversation.””

** Managing is complex, but starts with some pretty simple tasks.
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