First, let’s consider our little finger. Think of this finger as Africa. Africa is the little finger not because of Africa’s size, but because of its place on the world’s stage. From an economic standpoint, Africa has yet to catch up with her sister continents. And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand.Thanks to traca de broon for finding this link.
Our thumb is Asia: strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world’s economic stage.
Our index, or pointer finger, is Europe. Europe is the cradle of democracy and pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.
The ring finger is South America, including Latin America. Is this appropriate, or what? The ring finger symbolizes love and commitment to another person. Both Latin and South America are hot, passionate, and filled with the sensuous beats of the mambo, samba, and tango: three dances that – if done right – can almost guarantee you and your partner will be buying furniture together.
This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, The United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg-up in global business since the end of World War I. However, if used inappropriately –just like the U.S. itself -- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I’m talking about. In fact, I suspect you’re hoping that I’ll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I’m not looking for volunteers to model.
Giving the world the finger
In case you missed it, this neat global analogy is from Indra Nooyi, President and CFO of PepsiCo, in remarks before the Columbia Business School graduation a couple of weeks ago: