ChinaSolved’s Least Wanted List: Make sure you are not committing these 10 Deadly Sins of Chinese Management
Doing business in China is hard enough when you get everything right. Western managers often end up repeating the mistakes that others have made before. ChinaSolved has assembled a list of 10 Deadly Sins of China Management. The bad news is that any one of these can undermine your efforts in China. The good news? They are relatively easy to eliminate through training and planning.
Management behaviors you need to eliminate.
1. Flying blind. If you don’t have time to plan for China, you don’t have time to succeed in China. You need to figure out how to build your own independent channels of business intelligence and market data. It’s great to get expert opinion on how to plan your China business, but if you rely on others for your basic operating strategy you are starting off with a very high risk profile.
2. Building on a weak foundation. Your most important China negotiation takes place in your own HQ. If your Board and bosses aren’t 100% committed to the China business, you will spend too much time explaining and reassuring your own people. Your Chinese negotiating counter-parties will sense it – and take advantage of your weakness.
3. Declaring “Mission Accomplished” too soon. Chinese negotiators focus on the relationship – not the contract. In the West we stop negotiating when the paperwork is signed. In China negotiations start at “hello” and end when your relationship is over.
4. Letting the tail wag the dog. Chinese partners, consultants and key hires will lead you around by the nose if you let them. It’s great to work with well-connected professional, but deals should always driven by fundamentals – not guanxi relationships. You’ll get plenty of exciting offers, bolt-from-the-blue opportunities and suggestions for convenient work-arounds to bureaucratic bottlenecks – but if they don’t fit with your business plan then they are just expensive distractions.
5. Training your competition. Just because Chinese businessmen are long-term planners doesn’t mean that they intend to work with you forever. You may be a bit player in their grand epic story – and your role could be to supply them with technology, new products or business methodology. Know who your potential competitors are, and don’t treat them like partners.
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