China Joint Ventures. ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’ Is The Key Point To Face

Dan Harris has been busy putting up good stuff on China Law Blog and I wanted to mention his recent blog called China Joint Ventures. Are You on the Same Page? See the blog here.

He mentioned ‘same bed, different dreams’.  Yes, this phrase deals with a key reason American divorce is so high. We dare to dream and marry because we feel good and leave because we do not.  No one thought before hand that we will be unhappy and hopeless because our dreams and what we call success were so different. Our values or how we achieved success were opposed to each other.  Our high divorce rate is largely based in how we start.

Seems we often have the same problem in joint ventures be they in my home town of Bloomington, Minnesota or in Wuxi, China.

What does the Chinese side get rewarded for?  What gives them or him a better future as they see it?

What do you and your business owner see as success at the end of their life? What about the Chinese side?

In our case, we might say increased market share or posted profits in the short or mid term would be our kid term win. We might even say protecting our job if we are honest.   The Chinese side in their heart might say increased prestige in society and government would be key goals.   If you can handle that gap, you can keep talking with that partner because he is so pretty.   Apparent win-win is necessary, but may not be enough as may not continue long term if unexamined goals prove dominant and misaligned.

A key point is found in a little used word like teachability.  Are both parties open to find the best way and to learn more than fight for their way?  Most Chinese side owners are opposed to change and learning for the good of the venture.  However, the JV must have teachability as a central tenant or disharmony and politics rule.  Further, competitive edge is lost this way.

Cross cultural marriage is dicey, and you will have lots of cultural differences.  Good feelings will not carry the day long.   Real teachability and shared dreams and values can make the cross cultural marriage/joint venture work and little else will.

Welcome to see my other posts in this vein

Think Clearly What Values You Want in Workers
Develop or Fire – No Other Options For Leading
China – The Culture I


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Posted in: China, Market Entry, Negotiating

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