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10 Rules For Adapting Your Leadership Style To China

10 Rules For Adapting Your Leadership Style To China By Frank Gallo, President, Calypso Consulting; Former China CEO, Watson Wyatt Nicolas Ruble, Co-Founder, Prodygia China drew a record US$119.6 billion worth of foreign direct investment in 2014, while outbound investment surged to US$102.9 billion. These numbers will only grow in the -future. As Westerners interact more with new generation Chinese to do business, it's important to understand each other's different approaches to leadership. Think Confucius More Than Plato Or Descartes 1 Western history and culture are influenced by Ancient Greek and Cartesian thinking, So we naturally apply these when coming to China; Chinese traditional thinking is rooted in the Confucian system (respect for hierarchy, search for harmony) and Daoist strategy (use speed, shape your competition). The Chinese business landscape obeys more by these principles. If you are aware of the differences, you'll see the local market dynamics more clearly. Western Management Practices Are Not Enough Your MBA program in the US or Europe trained you well but not all of what you were taught will be useful to get things done in China - you need more. Locals have the advantage in terms of knowing the landscape and what it takes to run a business in China. Your advantage is bringing international standards and precise technical know-how. Be sure to skill-up. Don't Stop Running The Chinese market moves much faster than most economies in the world. If you are managing to preserve the status quo, it won't work; you'll be expected to deliver growth, which means being fully invested and on call late at night or on weekends to meet short deadlines. If you can match the speed you'll find yourse even more productive and resilient. Holistic, Practical Approaches Get You Ahead Westerners tend to value focus and structure whereas Chinese value multi-tasking and showing immediate results. It often leads to friction, but if you can get over that and appreciate the Chinese approach, you might be pleas antly surprised. Knowing When To Be Direct vs Indirect Is An Art Westerners typically speak their mind; Chinese are more sensitive to 'face' and based on the occasion or relationship will either be very blunt or side-step inconvenient truths. Start to pick up the nuances and read between the lines, then become more sensitive yourself about when and how to present information. Hands-On Usually Trumps Delegation What may be perceived as micro-managing in the West, and resented by employees, is often appreciated by employees in China. Being detail-oriented helps quality control so it's in your interest, too. Get used to diving into operational issues and problem-solving. Avoid delegating problems and assuming they'll be handled properly or just go away. 2 3 Earn Respect By Being Decisive 7 'Doers' generally fare better than 'thinkers' in China. If you look at the Chinese market as a massive laboratory where's it's impossible to have all the answers, then it's sensible to make informed decisions based on available information and go for it. If it fails then you learn and correct the next time. Even Jack Ma made mistakes on the way to growing Alibaba into the wWorld's largest e-commerce site - but he was decisive, learned the right lessons, remained agile and kept moving forward. China is not for you if you suffer from paralysis by analysis. Expect To Become An 'Outside-Insider' With HQ 8. Once you're posted to China by your company it's inevitable that, organizationally speaking, you'll be caught in between local realities and politics at headquarters. Sometimes you'll find it challenging to apply the global standard locally because the Chinese market requires adaptation. Other times, managing relationships with superiors back home may become more complex than managing relationships locally. Go into the role with your eyes open. Embrace Change, Don't Fear It Westerners often have a love-hate relationship with change. On the one hand, we prize critical thinking, challenging conventional wisdom and being innovative. On the other hand, we like to keep things stable and predictable. Chinese, meanwhile, are on a mission to reach the future first; change is a way of life rather than a choice, both professionally and personally. If you're working in China, then be ready to into the fast lane. Learning Goes Both Ways 10 With so much focus on what it takes for Westerners to localize in China, we sometimes lose sight that Chinese professionals are going through their own learning process about what it takes to internationalize. They're putting in much effort and learning fast from early mistakes trying to enter US and European markets. This should motivate you to do your homework, like they do, and become operational in multiple types of environment. About the authors Frank Gallo has been in China since 2001. He is Founder of Calypso Consulting and Chief Leadership Consultant for Mindset Matters Group, China. Previously, he was China CEO for Watson Wyatt; Chief Leadership Consultant for Aon Hewitt, Greater China; and Chair Emeritus of the HR Forum at the American Chamber of Commerce in China. Nicolas Ruble has been in China since 2003. Before Co-Founding Prodygia, he was Head of Asia Programming and a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum. He graduated from Stanford and earned Executive MBAS from INSEAD and Tsinghua. Brought to you by: Instant Access To Expertise On China fProdygia LOG INTO CHINA 5

10 Rules For Adapting Your Leadership Style To China

shared by nruble on Oct 22
Many business professionals come to China thinking they'll use the same template which helped them succeed in their home country, only to discover that operating in the Chinese market is completely di...


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