Executive Briefings

What Kind of Exec Do You Need to Lead Your Business in China?

Despite decades of experience in China, many organizations still struggle to identify and select executives who will make a tangible impact there. Companies can do better by focusing on two crucial skills"”an ability to read the external environment and an understanding of what makes employees tick"”and on a tough truth: a generational challenge is making the talent equation more complex.

Being effective in China means realizing that everything is political. Executives must have a keen grasp of political and social trends so they can position their business strategies and communications within that landscape. One example is the reframing of proposals for corporate-social-responsibility initiatives, to promote the "harmonious society" when that was proclaimed as a government priority.

Executives must develop a nonmarket business strategy, as well as the usual market strategy, for China. The nonmarket strategy includes plans for building a network that intersects with the government, business partners, suppliers, customers, and other industry and public stakeholders.

Successful executives develop their intuition, are receptive to learning from Chinese patterns, and thus begin to think and behave differently. The sort of linear analysis generally favored in the West divides a problem into its component parts and seeks rational solutions. Intuitive thinkers seek patterns and relationships between a problem and its context, including contradictions. "The Chinese don't polarize"”it's the last thing a Chinese would do; we get moving instead," says the Chinese head of a global life-sciences company.

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Keywords: doing business with China, international trade, Chinese business customs, Chinese politics, supply chain management, Chinese government relations

Being effective in China means realizing that everything is political. Executives must have a keen grasp of political and social trends so they can position their business strategies and communications within that landscape. One example is the reframing of proposals for corporate-social-responsibility initiatives, to promote the "harmonious society" when that was proclaimed as a government priority.

Executives must develop a nonmarket business strategy, as well as the usual market strategy, for China. The nonmarket strategy includes plans for building a network that intersects with the government, business partners, suppliers, customers, and other industry and public stakeholders.

Successful executives develop their intuition, are receptive to learning from Chinese patterns, and thus begin to think and behave differently. The sort of linear analysis generally favored in the West divides a problem into its component parts and seeks rational solutions. Intuitive thinkers seek patterns and relationships between a problem and its context, including contradictions. "The Chinese don't polarize"”it's the last thing a Chinese would do; we get moving instead," says the Chinese head of a global life-sciences company.

Read Full Article


Keywords: doing business with China, international trade, Chinese business customs, Chinese politics, supply chain management, Chinese government relations