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Conflict management, Page 2

Mission NOT Accomplished – Chinese Negotiation Training Topics

ChinaSolved’s Least Wanted List #3 – Calling the negotiation a done deal just because they signed on the dotted line.

10 China Management Risks You Can Eliminate by Training:  China management behaviors you need to eliminate # 3. Declaring “Mission Accomplished” too soon.

Sign up for the ChinaSolved newsletterChinese 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. Experienced negotiators know that a signature or verbal agreement doesn’t end the bargaining – for some deals it is more of a beginning than a conclusion. Plan accordingly, and you may be able to turn the situation to your advantage.

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How to Make a ChinApology

Here are some tips for Western managers making their first ChinApology:

ChinaSolved logoDanone’s Dumex baby forumula division is the latest MNC to get caught in Beijing’s ever-widening anti-corruption net. Last week was Bayer, and before that Sanofi. The Euros are certainly attracting all the wrong sorts of attention in China these days, but it’s just a matter of time before the Americans start showing up in the headlines. We’ve discussed how to reduce risk through smarter relationship-building and why it’s important to audit your China operation – but for some of you that ship has already sailed.

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Risk Reduction in Chinese Business: Relationships

Western managers who delegated the “guanxi” or relationship-building function need to audit their China operation.

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Ever since I published the  eBook – Guanxi for the Busy American  – I’ve been on the receiving end of an endless stream of jaded Old Hand derision and criticism.  It usually takes the form of a fast-paced 2-Step.  First they declare that they are tired of hearing the overworked and

misused phrase, “guanxi” and they don’t bother with it anymore. The next step is to delegate the entire relationship-building process to a trusted Chinese associate or agent.  (A typical response to any mention of the g-word:  “I don’t bother with guanxi nonsense since it isn’t really necessary and never helps westerners anyway.  Instead I have, over the years, built up a strong relationship with my Chinese partner/lawyer/director/wife/classmate.”)

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You Can’t Spell “Success in China” Without HR

Risk Reduction Starts With Internal Negotiation

If you are not training your senior managers and mid-level supervisors to negotiate relationships internally, you are exposing your China operation to unnecessary risk. To quote from the book – The Fragile Bridge: “Conflict in Chinese business comes on without notice. By the time you know something is wrong, it’s probably too late to fix the situation…”

Success in China business is all about HR.

Managers in the West don’t generally consider HR something that has to be negotiated. Senior managers in the US have gotten used to high levels of unemployment, having multiple qualified applicants for every job and being surrounded by experienced managers living in mortal fear of losing their position. In China the situation is different. If you are looking to hire unskilled factory hands in Chengdu or inexperienced grads in Shanghai, you still have the pick of the litter. But experienced managers who can function in an international business are in short supply – and they know it. You’ll spend more time, money and effort in China negotiating for things that aren’t even up for discussion back home.

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Dovetailing Differences in China

Find new opportunities in old Chines partnerships.

Americans doing business in China have a tendency to search out common ground and familiar norms. Last week we looked at some of the dangers of this approach in the ChineseNegotiation.com post “Why Common Ground Isn’t” . Another problem with this “common ground” approach is that it can cause managers to overlook some potentially lucrative opportunities. One of my favorite teams of authors in the area of negotiation is David Lax and James Sebinius (SebLax) who wrote 3D Negotiation  and Manager as Negotiator. They championed the notion of creating value by dovetailing differences. Instead of trying to base deals on things that you have in common with potential partners and counter-parties, look for ways that you can capitalize on your differences and create new opportunities for both sides.

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