Recently, I visited the beautiful city of Ningbo, and this time I took a train and a taxi. What happened made me start thinking about crafty managers in China.
I took a taxi to my destination and was shocked the meter said 68 RMB. Then, I asked for a receipt. Finally, I took a taxi back, and it said 38 RMB.
I was busy when I got in the first taxi and thus did not talk with the cab driver. I have found that if they know I can speak Chinese and know China, that they will not take me around the block. However, on this day, I did not and worked on a response in WeChat. The driver saw I was a foreigner and also came from the train station, so assumed I was unfamiliar. He saw opportunity and decided going around the block would work.
China is a nice country. Not all drivers are like this. It is not worth it to watch each like a hawk. Also, I can call the number on the 68 yuan receipt and complain. I got my 30 yuan back. This is not much money, but it illustrates something.
Crafty Managers in China are Much More Damaging
The wrong hires will take advantage of your lack of familiarity. They will try something with you that they would not try with a Chinese boss. They may collude with a Chinese boss who will accept the back door activity. Thus, they will both do it and hide it from you.
When we connect with a Western Company from their headquarters abroad, we usually will meet their legacy GM or top player in China. About 80% of the time we meet a crafty GM who has played the Headquarters for years.
These guys were hired at the start when HQ was not very familiar, and they took advantage and gained HQ confidence and started doing a lot that HQ knows nothing about. See also Is it Good If Your First Hire is Well Connected?
While we may be irritated by drivers who take us around the block, it appears that HQ is loyal to the people they choose at the start and think, “this is China.”
It is not China. HQ was unfamiliar, and a bad pattern started, and now it is hard to fix. We can fix it, and the benefits will be a lot greater than getting your 30 yuan back. You can also avoid the initial mistake if you simply dig very deep before hiring or call us.