Have a good China team with its nose to the ground noting developments in China? Great. Let’s think more as China for China has risks.
It is, however, worth mentioning that doubling down on China-for-China strategy comes with its own set of challenges. A very local team with limited expats potentially poses challenges from a control, governance, and integration perspective. Posting a mature and seasoned expat leader, with a “chairman and guide” type of profile, coupled with a structured global rotation program for early-stage global and local talent can help create a more inclusive and collaborative culture.
China for China Has Risks – Let’s Think More
This comment from Fortune is trying to get at the diversity question, but might be awkward trying to implement. See the whole article here. I see most Chinese GMs would likely feel you placed a spy, and would be prone to isolate any spy you put in the factory.
In truth if you need to place a person to keep an eye on things, then I think you are already defeated. If you want to place a person to give more diversity to a team. you may have a big win. Let’s unpack that a little. Let’s Get Diversity and China on the Same Page.
If you have seen a good resume and found someone you see as valuable in the interview, then you are at risk. You may need to spy, but the truth is you are already defeated. Time and again in China, these kind of hires secretly work and years later finally show their true color. I am reminded of two top leaders for a $10M startup talking together. The one said to the other. “Just play along with the Americans. HQ will take them back to the US, and then we can do what we want.”
The first step in China is to get the right leadership through our rigorous recruiting then we encourage you to get diversity on your team. However, not as spies, but as coworkers.
That article also touches on bringing Chinese people to postions outside China isd a rotatin program. Choose carefully swho gets into such a program. Are they playing you or were they fully vetted before hiring?
Don’t be a statistic. Get the right leadership all over your China business, but do not blindly say China for China. Every decision must be based on trust. Then you can get what you want. Get great performance and a solid future in China business. See also China Worldview Issues and Your Company.