China people problems vex many businesses. Here I want to share a different China story that is also shockingly common. Facts have been changed to protect identity
China People Problems – A Sales Office Example
Australian comes to China to start a Sales and Service office in Shanghai for her Australian company. She struggles to understand the assignment in Shanghai though she is a Chinese born naturalized Australian. China is different than Australia so initial reports to Australia bring shock and alarm though things are proceeding well enough. She is starting to understand what she must do to succeed in China. She is starting to see how the Australians have misunderstood the distributors and the market in China. But the Australians now believe that she is the problem. Her reports have often seemed from an Australian framework to be the writings of an unstable, crazy person and are becoming more so over time. They do not accept her recommendations so progress stalls. She belatedly understands that she now has a choice. She can tell her Australian bosses what is really happening and they will see her as crazy. Or she can tell them stories to make them feel she is sane, but the stories will not connect to reality. She will have to put in extra effort to concoct and protect the story, but it is the only way she can avoid being fired. Oh, she finds another way. She just does what they want and the business will suffer, but she will be seen as a sane person to the Australians who cannot see things with Chinese eyes.
It is not easy to be the leader in China trying to fight off the home office. What are you seeing? Can any of you see yourself in this story from either side? Do you see that Seeing Badly I and II are really quite different and also quite common?