Successful business leadership China can occur with the right thinking. I recently visited a GM we placed who is rapidly turning around a previously struggling US WOFE. He said, “Western companies are too cheap when they come to China. They need to spend the money to get the right guy to succeed.” I heartily agree. Shipwrecks and sleepless nights are not necessary. Good to Great researched and discovered that great success begins with Who and not What. This is even more true for you in China. This company has been mediocre for years. They had gone as far as to accept a GM recommendation from their Hong Kong Accountant. Naturally, that led to more problems with on time delivery, quality and cost.
The picture shows how they were in August when the new GM started. The top is total pieces produced and then is parts per day and the value in millions is at the bottom. In four months, they had nearly doubled output while discovering the correct root cause of their continued quality problems. Sure, this GM cost a little more, but he is the right guy, and things are getting better fast. This little factory is making plans for the future now instead of muddling along.
Successful Business Leadership China – 11 Points to Apply
So here are some points to get there yourself.
1. Do not be too resume focused. The right person may not have a pretty resume, but he or she can give you the growth you want. (the guy running the factory in the picture was last running a small family store believe it or not)
2. Do not be too cheap. The right guy is worth the money (within reason)
3. Keeping cultural diversity in your factory by having a Westerner somewhere if not as the GM is more then worth the extra money
4. Beware taking advice on hiring from Finance people. (I often clean up after the finance guy choice failed like in this case.)
5. Remember that what worked in the home facility is likely not what you need in China.
6. The people in your network are almost never the best hire. We know lots of people as we are recruiters but rarely is someone we know the right person. The best must be searched out.
7. Believe that the right guy exists to make your factory or other China work better.
8. Do not lean on a famous international recruiter. I clean up after them regularly. They do what works in the US here. Their local staff are not vetted.
9. Find a recruiting company who focuses on the character and leadership ability of placements over and above technical skills for GM or top leader positions. Both are needed, but character and leadership are so critical at the top.
10. Hold to your values and principles but discard reliance on usual methods to get the right people in China.
11. Consider how much pain the example company suffered relying on their own wisdom to run this factory. Pull the trigger faster.
This is simple and so important. Apply and benefit in China.