China Business Success - five things that won't help you get it
China Master Class:
five things that won't
help your China business
I'd like you to think of this
China Masterclass as...
The Yin and Yang of success for you in China.
The Yin and Yang symbol is universally recognised. It is a gift from Dao teaching. An ancient
Now I've observed lots of people who want to go and do business in China to make lots of
money. They go to China with a packed schedule of meetings. They are very action focussed
and try to do and achieve as much as they can.
This a very yang approach. The Yang symbolises, positvity, action, masculine and daytime.
This action is great but it is slightly unbalanced.
Because it is neglecting the Yin. Yin is about restoring and receiving and feminine energy and
the night. To go to China with a view to learning and listening and receiving to balance out
the Yang energy will really help your business.
Sometimes we get so wound up in the achieving that we pursue our agenda and miss the
lessons and insights offered by the way things are done in China. This balanced approach will
change your experience.
Investing time and money into receiving some China language skills or some insights into the
Chinese culture can make the experience more enjoyable and you will achieve more. The
striving can be very frustrating in China.
If you know the story of Kungfu Panda then you will know that the panda works in his Dad's
noodle restaurant and his Dad's business is thriving because of the secret recipe.
When Panda ends up training to be the new Kungfu warrior he, a big cuddly panda bear
doesn't look like a typical warrior.
His Master trains him in a unique way for a panda.
Then as he assumes the title of Kungfu warrior, he is given the special scroll containing the
secret of how to be the Kungfu warrior. He unrolls the scroll to find horrified that it is blank.
He goes to his Dad to tell him in disbelief that the scroll is empty. And his Dad tells him that
he doesn't have a secret recipe for his noodles either.
Panda realises that you just have to practise and do your best and believe in your ability.
And I can tell you, there is no secret for succeeding in China.
The same applies for you and your business in China. You have to learn your Mandarin and
learn about Chinese culture and go and spend time there and make it a priority in your life
and in your business. It is not something you can learn in a two hour course.
What I can tell you is that the journey will be rewarding. It will inspire you to learn more.
That is how you will make the personal connections and meet the people and make a
difference in your business.
The scroll is blank but you are not alone and unsupported.
Your peers can help and listen and support you. There are great Chinese business advisory
firms to help you with the legal and tax issues. I can help and listen and bring my twenty
years of experience with China. I am here to support you.
Write down a situation where you remember feeling awkward in China
What exactly were you feeling? (eg. Mad, scared)
What do you think the other person was feeling?
Can you think of a cultural reason for the other person's behaviour?
The cultural awkwardness comes from your expectations of how the other
person should behave.
This exercise can help you to understand how the feelings underlie the
"Things happen so slowly in China...
Our investors or clients we work with don't seem to want to do any
work - there is lots of getting to know you with not enough talk about
Add to that the time spent on interpreting and it can be very draining
and tiring for not much gain."
And as I see it all comes down to expectations. Going in to China expecting
things to work out how they do in Europe or the US is going to be counterproductive China is special. In a wonderful way.
Instead of noticing the differences and focussing on the difficulties, a great way
to proceed in China is to go with an open mind and with a view to learn more
about Chinese people and its culture and the Chinese way of life.
This requires effort and time and a real appreciation of China's history and ways
of doing things. And with a clear outward persona that you know you have a lot
to learn from China. Because that is how Chinese people pursue relationships
with us. They want to learn our Western ways so they can be better. And we
should do just the same, learn more about China's amazing culture (and I'm not
talking about dragon dancing here) so we can do better.
So, here are my five things
most companies do to
improve their China
performance that don't
Hire a Chinese national here in Australia to take care of their
Please believe me, I have nothing against Chinese people, I'm happily
married to one.
But, why would you hand over such an important part of your business to
someone you don't know that well, just because they are from China and
If your Chinese employee has been working for you for a while and you
know and trust them but your Chinese business isn't going as well as it
should, is it maybe time to reconsider their position?
Send everyone in the office here in Aus to a oneoff 2 hour training session on Chinese culture
You may not get a very good return on investment for this...in
one ear and out the other...and 2 hours is soooo not long
enough, you have 5000 years of history and philosophy and
culture to cover...it is just not that simple.
Fly in to China for two or three days to do business
This is not a long enough visit. I challenge you to schedule a long
trip next time you go to China to work. Take your whole family.
You will have a great time. Your Chinese clients or investors will
really love it that you've taken your whole family to China. Do
some business and then travel. And then have some more
meetings. Catch the train, a sleeper train on the old rail
network (not a high speed train) and spend days gazing out the
window at rural China and vist the cultural sites. Watch the people,
get an appreciation for what they like and how they think. And
gain some insight.
Have Chinese people teach their non-Chinese
people about Chinese culture.
You see the Chinese trainer has no idea what a low base of
knowledge about China the non-Chinese people are coming off.
The Chinese trainer assumes all this knowledge that is simply not
there. A non-Chinese who has spent time in China can really
explain a whole lot better why things get tricky or slow in China.
Because they have felt the discomfort and frustrations of being
new to China because they were once too.
Hire Chinese people in China to represent them.
Chinese people are very very wary of new business people they
meet. They do not trust other Chinese people they meet. They are
wondering what the other is trying to get from the relationship. So
by hiring Chinese people to represent you you maybe be putting
your clients and investors off. You thinking you are enhancing the
relationship by hiring Chinese people. Your client or potential
investor sees your Chinese hires as an annoyance. Your
client/investor wants to talk to you about proposals and deals! Not
your hired help.
“Sally's dynamic teaching methods have been focal to producing a good
result...Sally: Positive, understanding, non-critical, encouraging, comfortable,
non-judgemental and fun”
George and Judy Meikle, Brisbane.
Sally is a “smart, direct, can do type person who knows how to deal with
modern Chinese people at all levels and has the ability to pass on, in
simple terms what she knows.”
Jim Calder www.caldermaloney.com
Want to unlock some more mystery?
My e-book, in 100 pages gives you access to Chinese culture in bite-sized morsels of
thoughts and insight. Designed for executives travelling to China who are deciphering
China and Chinese people, or for armchair travellers and students, with a keen
interest in China, the book lets you dive in and inspires you to deepen your China
It is a fun guide, where I share lots of my own stories and experiences that go to the
heart of China and Chinese peoples' behaviour. It will help you understand why
Chinese culture is so inextricably linked to food, family, history and philosophy.
And don't forget to come back and tell me what experiences we share and what you
thought and what you want to hear more about.
You can buy it now for $8.60 www.studiochina.com.au
Feel confident because you are truly supported
I want to be your China skills coach. I can diagnose what
people skills your business needs to ramp up to improve its
[It is all about relationships and communication isn't it? So
language and ways of doing things are kind of key are they
I hold workshops, which are dedicated to unlocking the
mystery of why Chinese people are like they are.
I provide coaching one-on-one for CEOsor can with a whole
group. If you are in Brisbane Sally works face-to-face with
you. And if you are not then you can connect with Sally over
Skype or Facetime or on a phone call.
Share about what you
find challenging in your
China biz. Please
connect with me!