I spent last week in China working with one of our garment manufacturers.
Reflecting on the 4 1/2 days, the critical factor for success is to ensure mutual respect. Trust and respect is fundamental in the relationship. Face to face communication is important. A relationship cannot be built overnight, it takes time to cultivate. Patience is key.
It’s also vital to keep your goals in focus. Clarity of details is important to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding. It’s very easy to get off-track and sometimes it’s necessary to do a complete circle before hitting the key point. Translations can be skewed, not only because English is their second language, but because of cultural differences. Know what they actually mean when they say something (what they say is not always what they mean).
For me I do believe that my blend of kiwi upbringing and my Chinese heritage gives me an advantage. This cultural appreciation brings a certain x-factor. I am seen as a foreigner, but they also see me as Chinese, sharing their values.
Business success is based on working harder and smarter. Nothing is easy – if it was, then everyone would be doing it. We look at the long-game. Most importantly, don’t stand back and WISH it will work: MAKE it happen by taking a professional and experienced approach.