The battle lines between HQ and the China team are the famous basis of many failures of US firms in China. China veteran Janet Carmosky explains in the China Business Review what can be done to get the noses of those teams and their HQ’s into the same direction.
Once China- and HQ-based team members have an open mind, there’s the potential to dismantle the battle lines for China strategy and operations. As simple as it sounds, the catalyst that allows joint action to proceed is agreement on what the issue is. While executives in China need to communicate openly with HQ peers to gain buy-in, HQ needs to help China operations align with overall regional and global priorities. Zakkour adds that the “China team has to have a clear line defining freedom to act autonomously,” which goes a long way to building trust.
It’s all about seeing reality in similar terms, taking action together, and building a track record of collaboration that pays off. It starts with acknowledging that polarized China competency and business competency, in silos, are no replacement for integrated China and business competency at different levels throughout the organization. It continues with practice that draws on the expertise of both internal and external specialists. They are, in Zakkour’s words, “the glue that holds the operation together and ensures that the two sides stay on course.”
Why do foreign firms fail? The China Weekly Hangout discussed on January 30 panelist Richard Brubaker of Collective Responsibility and Andrew Hupert, expert on conflict management in China. Moderation: Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau. Including references to Apple, Mediamarkt, Foxconn and many others.
The China Weekly Hangout is going to resume on Thursday with an open office session where you can participate to help to set the agenda. You can join by registering here, or read our initial announcement here.