Plenty of cheers and toasts at lunch today back at the Fair Trade tea estate after visiting the school, most of which were short blasts of warm words in local dialect which I couldn’t understand but I smiled broadly and clicked glasses. Granted, I am a light weight when it comes to alcohol and after a few toasts of beer in a little shot glass I got a little giddy.
So, I thought I’d share my own toast with a L’Chaim. L’Chaim in Hebrew means “To life” or in other words to remain healthy with a bit of luck thrown in there. Saying l’chaim with a slight guttural roll in the back of the throat for the “ch” part caused a momentary ripple in the room, but after saying a few times everyone was rocking out the l’chaims, laughing and adding their own words of wellness. Joining us at the table was the Chief of the farming community. A powerful woman in her own right with 600 farmers voting her in as their leader and voice for great teas in this region.
While lunch was rolling on the estate manager turned to me and in a low humble voice he asked me, “Are we friends?”
Then it hit me.
We eat. We share. We feel good and we do business in China as friends. 90% of success in business transactions done anywhere is based on trust. You want to make sure that you can stand by your product or service time and again. Friends will watch your back and make sure you are getting a reliable product.
Are we friends? I responded. Yeah, of course we are friends.