Keep reading. Keep networking. Yes, those will help. However, you get agility in China when the people you hire have a sense of ownership for what you are doing. When everyone cares for the business like they are the owner, then you can have agility because you will get more information and be able to make changes faster as people are not just collecting a paycheck and protecting their turf and job.
Hire for Agility in China Foremost
How do you get people who will have a sense of ownership for your business? Find people who have the character to put their real heart into their job, so you can succeed. Find people who are teachable and real learners. Hire those people, and you will have agility. Or you could be like the US Congress and have just politics and therefore no agility.
The first step of course is being super careful on who you hire to lead your work in China. If this person does not have a real heart to work for you, then you are doomed. If they got the job by lying and manipulating, then they will do the same to keep the job as that is their key skill. We have proven that even good interviewing will not weed out the very worst. See 11 Things You Need for Excellent Executive Search
Some companies will not hire someone who has not studied their web site and who does not ask questions. What do the worst manipulators do? They always know the web site and alway ask a ‘smart’ question that could be got off the internet like the suggestion to read the company web site. Hard working people who you really need may not have studied your web site. Some excellent engineers will not ask any questions. We devised a special interview to set up the background check to find out who the real person is rather than using all these limited and often wrong signals. Also see 8 Potholes in International Business in China.
Training agility can give you a boost if you have hired teachable people who are naturally more agile with the needed moves. Otherwise, such training is often a waste of funds. Manipulators are filled with these apparently agile types, but they use agility for their own purposes and not yours. The 95% agility you need you must hire for.
How You Lose Agility in China
A common example may help. You hire a manipulator by accident to be your China leader. He then hires C players to protect himself. He tells you he is holding down costs in hiring. In fact, he is making sure that no one is close to as good as he is. This makes him feel safe in his job, but the agility of such a business is poor as the workers are weak and only work for the manipulator and not for you.
To conclude, you need honest and talented people who want to work for you with their whole heart to get agility. You cannot get those people consistently by interviewing as the manipulators are very talented.