Let’s Outlaw the Phrase: This is China
This is China. Have you ever heard this phrase from your China team?
It is an altogether too often used phrase. I also think it often represents a pressure to leave a good path.
When I first came to China, I often heard the phrase: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It never made sense to me why Chinese liked that phrase. To me it means that Romans take people as slaves as often as they can. So in Rome I should take people as slaves as often as I can. If I make you a slave, you should be fine with that as this is Rome.
When I came to China, I did not plan to leave my ethics and my morality at the door just because I was in China.
Let’s Leave “This is China” Behind
I wanted to run my company in a way that I felt was smart and ethically unblemished. Chinese people often use the back door and money talks. I had no interest in running my company that way even if I was in China.
I guess you feel the same. Unfortunately, most people you hire think, “This is China.” They even will say it to you.
If I am in Indiana, I will find a way that both works within that context and my ethical thinking. If I am in Beijing, I will do the same and if I am in Suzhou I will do the same. All three places will need different ways to succeed.
Therefore, we choose not to hire people who think we need to give up our morality or values to work. They work for me. I will find people in China who want to work the way I do. I also have no interest in doing things the American way. We will always look for the best way and never violate trust.
You need people who think like that working with you. They can accept your lead and find a way along that path and never say, “This is China.”
The other reason to not say, “This is China” is that every locality is different. It seems much more helpful to me to hear that we are facing a certain situation here at this time. However, we also need people who will help us find the way in this context. See also 11 Things You Need For Excellent Executive Search China.
Let’s Step Beyond Nationalism
Finally, I do not think the business should be about Nationality or Nationalism. It is true that China has many ways of doing things that are different than in the West. You may do well to Hire for Skill and Kindness.
Methods must be different in each locality but our values must not succumb. Further, we must not haphazardly hire people who think our morality does not count as we are not Chinese. We can and should reach higher. We can find people who can catch the ball.
That is our work in many ways. We want to help you find people who are really on your team.