If you’re working with Chinese, if businessmen or factory workers, there might be times when you’re uncertain of the best way to manage a situation. Here are a few general cross-cultural business strategies for China that might assist you through a situation or two.
- If you need to teach or train, be sure to use the written material. Proceed through the real step by step, but make certain actually to show the person or persons how to do it. Then, ask them to demonstrate back to you, rather than to rely on a possibly dubious answer to, “Do you know?”
- If you find yourself being hosted at a formal dinner, the host will most likely offer a toast within the first course. You can reciprocate on the next course. Some suggested toasts would be, “To a long partnership.” Or, “Thank you for your collaboration.”
- In the beginning, you should monitor, Almost micromanage, every step of a procedure by being there in person as far as possible with weekly phone calls (or ) between visits. You should set up various milestones and checkpoints. After the initial six months you can probably ease up in your vigil, but still, nothing takes the place of seeing things with your own eyes.
- When it comes to quality, you should communicate your standards very clearly. Stress that it must be exact. Convey over and above that “close enough” is not OK. If you are using contractors, you’re the customer, and it is possible to be very firm in establishing the requirements.
- If you’re talking about technical Issues through an interpreter, give the translator a glossary of words in advance. As always, it’s sensible to have the interpreter translate nonverbal behaviors or subtle reactions for you during breaks and especially during the all-important debriefs. These may tell you more than the words. And last but not least, remember that virtually everything in China is negotiable!
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