When I think over my 20 plus years of experience in China, I can list what brought me success and failure in China pretty readily.
- Hired the right first person who worked for me and the company capably, hard and loyally
- Created enough safety so that workers told me what the problems were as they saw it.
- Took data from everywhere inside and outside the business and found the best path forward again and again
- From the first person hired was able to attract and find more similar people
- Coached and fired faithfully to get right people with right ability.
- Bravely promoted people into areas they had no clear experience but the right base thinking and connection with vision
Failure or disappointing results:
- Hired people I did not understand or measure well enough
- Hired on resume impression
- Did not have a clear enough system to evaluate them
- Did not have trusting relationship with those, so they did not work for me and company but worked for themselves
- Failed to create an accountable family atmosphere
- Failed to face problem people to coach or fire fast enough.
- Merely hoped for change for better in problem situation
- Did not get the home office on my team and understanding successfully
I have never failed because the people I recruited just did not have the experience or ability to get the assigned job done.
(I am aware of a couple Fortune 500 companies that I work with that have open positions that they cannot fill as these people do not exist in right numbers. This definitely holds them back, but is not the norm for my experience)
I have seen a dozen plus other enterprises in depth here and their talented teams that were failures. I have seen great success in leaders who knew surprisingly little of China but motivated and oversaw people to be responsible and covering those details to victory. Success and failures in China can come in different ways, but at least we can learn from it and move on.