Excerpts from China Business Toolbox
- On September 8, 2010, people doing business in China and those who wanted to learn more about doing business in China met in Philadelphia to attend China Business Toolbox, the afternoon session of Put China In Your Business Future. China Business Toolbox was sponsored by Orchestrall, and featured presentations by Orchestrall's CEO Ian Hau; Jason Patent, VP Marketing & Communications; Marty Judge, CEO of Judge Group; and Janet Carmosky, CEO and Editor-In-Chief of The China Business Network.
Time and money is what we’re here to talk about. As business people, that’s what we care about. There’s nothing more precious to a business than time and money and the problem is that when we fail to see, sometimes, that when there’s a mindset mismatch, which happens all the time, between the US and China. I’m using US and China though I know not everybody in the room is Chinese or American, but it’s a nice template to work from. A mindset mismatch: it costs time, it costs money. So in a business we want to avoid that.
These are stereotypes that I have encountered that Americans tend to hold of China and Chinese people. If you don’t hold these yourself, or any subset of them, you’ve certainly heard people who hold these stereotypes. You’d better be ready to be reacting to have your amygdala going off when you observe certain kinds of behavior because that’s one thing the human mind does. It categorizes and jumps to conclusions. We make snap judgments about people. The overall point I’m trying to make here is: Let’s look in the mirror first.
The Chinese don’t want to rule the world. This is very important for mindset. This is the quickest way I can summarize the right mindset. The Chinese do not want to run the world. They’re pretty darn busy already. They’re pretty darn busy just ruling China – they have fourteen countries on their borders, they’ve got internal insurrection, they’ve got environmental degradation, they’ve got income disparity, they’ve got rural poverty, they’ve got aging – Listen. They’re really, really busy. The fact that they’re getting a navy, hoo ha. They’re going to have like, what? four aircraft carriers one day. Okay. The US controls like all the naval shipping lanes in the world. How are they supposed to have energy security? And how are they supposed to have a defensive presence when their traditional enemies, ie. the Japanese, are on the other side of the water? They’re not trying to take over the US or any other place.
To work with the Chinese you have to be willing to know how the Chinese see the world, see themselves, and see us. Yes, the Chinese do think they’re superior, but so do we! So what’s the problem? Are we really committed to this idea of a unipolar world? Because they’re not. They don’t want to rule the world. Why are we threatened by the fact that they want to continue being a powerful nation? They’ve made a huge contribution in so many ways to the world – let them have their prestige and their power. They want us to continue being prestigious and powerful. They want to be our partners. And number three, Chinese culture is about food, money, and survival. I want to establish that you don’t want to go into China cold, and you don’t want to go in alone, and for God’s sake, don’t rush it!
All these things you cannot learn by watching, by research. You have to be there. That’s the first lesson that I thought I knew, but until you are actually in the nitty gritty of the operations and work there, you will never learn. If you really have ambitions to tap into the once-in-a-lifetime, biggest, fastest opportunities in the human history, you need to be there. You have to be there. You cannot learn from outside.
The China Business Network thanks the sponsor of China Business Toolbox: Orchestrall, providing access to China by providing business strategy in real time.