In China: Doing is Better than Saying

doing is better than sayingI recently went on a plant tour of Atlas Copco’s impressive facility in Wuxi China.  I noticed in Chinese and English on a meeting wall the following words: Doing is Better Than Saying.  So well said. Great notice.  It is hard to get there in China.

Training people hired by resume and interview to follow this rule is so hard.  Finding and hiring people who naturally do this is no picnic, but when done it works.

Chinese people can be amazing talkers. Their ability to make a good first impression is wonderful.  This, however, makes it extremely hard to know the real person. Of course, in hiring you need to know the real person and not some false front with the real person thinking and doing very differently.  Your present managers do real things every day and say things every day.  You need them to match.

Doing is Better Than Saying Begins With the Interview Process

It is good to develop a doing over saying culture. It is best to start with recruiting doers. So let’s think about that together.   First, no need to ask candidates “What if..” questions. They are all experts at answering theoretical questions.  I know theoretically how to handle many events that I cannot master in reality, like washing the dishes.

You need Managers who can do every day. You do not need people who can say they can do.  How can you know if someone you hire will be a doer or a theoretician?  To get deeper, read The Recruitment Process is Broken in China.

If you look at the last 10 years of a person’s work record, and they were actually doers and achievers over ten years, then under similar experiences, they could be expected to do the same. The problem is that the resume and interview do not usually give you what happened in the candidates work history.  They give you what you want to hear according to their cultural upbringing. Further, many Chinese managers think Westerners are rich. They think any stealing is justified as Westerners unfairly are rich anyway. You need to stay far away from such people. They will never tell you in the interview.

Most people are just cover up artists. They can say so well that you have trouble knowing what they have actually done.

So let me emphasize that doing is better than saying. Therefore, the recruiting process must be rigorous to know what really happened in a candidate’s work history and what they learned. Candidates who made mistakes and understand they were wrong and further can be open about it are often the very best hires.  So I am not saying that candidates who are not perfect should not be hired. What I am saying is that you need to know what and how candidates did things and with what attitude. Teachable people who can get on line with your way of doing business are invaluable. They are not perfect people but they are about doing real things and not talking fantasy. See also Gut Feel Recruiting Versus the Facts

Let’s get these doers. Especially, let’s leave the sayers at home theorizing and not making trouble in our businesses. We find China has 28% doers, and they are worth filtering down to.


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Posted in: China Recruitment - Getting Good People

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