Remarkable is Possible

WE’RE GETTING HAMMERED IN CHINA!

Remarkable is Possible: Just Not in the Way You Think It Is

A company in the airport systems business came to us for advice and help.

Oh, did they ever need help!

Five years in China and not one single project…

Why?

That’s the part they couldn’t figure out.

So they were shutting down and leaving the market…

But just before they did, they wanted to give it one final try.

The whole thing just didn’t seem to make any sense.

That’s where we came in – to help them bring in a new China MD.

So, we started with long Q&A sessions –

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Eight Signs Your Man in China Might be on the Take (5 of 8)

This is the fifth in a series of eight real world examples of how western companies, some of them my clients, learned that their ‘man in China’ was on the take.

In this series of “Eight Signs,” I suggest that you keep an eye out for behaviors and circumstances that could indicate that something is amiss in your organization.

Please treat these items as signs of potential trouble, not proof of wrongdoing.  If you notice several signs adding up, you should begin to be even more vigilant, giving everything a second look.

In the beginning…

Again, this is something that tends to grow out of the rush of market entry and then is lives on without too much thought until…something blows up.   You’ll say this is piddling stuff, the sort that little companies get into, that big sophisticated companies have plenty of safeguards and crosschecks against this.  Sorry.  Size doesn’t matter.

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Eight Signs Your Man in China Might be on the Take (4 of 8)

This is the fourth in a series of eight real world examples of how western companies became aware that their ‘man’ in China was on the take.

In this series of “Eight Signs,” I suggest that you keep an eye out for behaviors and circumstances that could indicate that something is amiss in your organization.

Please treat these items as signs of potential trouble, not proof of wrongdoing.  If you notice several signs adding up, you should begin to be even more vigilant, giving everything a second look.

So.  Your business is growing at a “respectable” rate, a few points above China’s GDP every year.  That in itself seems to indicate nothing in particular.

How in the world…

Again, I know, how could this possibly indicate anything at all about your company’s China operations?  This seems so flimsy a reason to suspect the top executive of anything illicit.  Maybe, maybe not.

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Eight Signs Your Man in China Might be on the Take (3 of 8)

This is the third in a series of eight real world examples of how western companies became aware that their ‘man’ in China was on the take.

In this series of “Eight Signs,” I suggest that you keep an eye out for behaviors and circumstances that could indicate that something is amiss in your organization.

Please treat these items as caution lights of potential trouble, not proof of wrongdoing. If you notice several signs adding up, you should begin to be even more vigilant, giving everything a second look.

So. Here’s another item to add to your checklist. Again, a positive indication here doesn’t prove fraud but means that you might have something worth investigating. This time, it involves language. Your man is the only English speaker in the operation or the only one you ever really have any in-depth communication with in China.

How in the world…

I know, I know, how does this possibly present a threat to the company’s China operations?!

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Eight Signs Your Man in China Might be on the Take (2 of 8)

This is the second in a series of eight real world examples of how western companies became aware that their ‘man’ in China was on the take.

In this series of “Eight Signs,” I suggest that you keep an eye out for behaviors and circumstances that could indicate that something is amiss in your organization.

Please treat these items as caution lights of potential trouble, not proof of wrongdoing.  If you notice several signs adding up, you should begin to be even more cautious and vigilant, giving everything a second look.

So.  Here’s another item to add to your checklist.  Again, a positive indication here doesn’t prove fraud but means that you might have something worth investigating…and this is related to the first sign mentioned previously, distributors.  This time, it’s suppliers.

All for one and one for all

If all or many of your suppliers have been identified and qualified by a single person in your organization, that’s a red flag.  If they are all managed by the same person, even worse — exclusively handled, negotiated with, and renewed year after year by the same person, look out – that’s a big red flag.

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Eight Signs Your Man in China Might be on the Take (1 of 8)

This is the first in a series of eight real world examples of how western companies became aware that their ‘man’ in China was on the take.

China is a unique place with a culture, especially its business culture, that continues to confound western business people.

Whatever ethical norms you’ve come to expect, they don’t apply in China. Why should they?  This is a different place.  The more opportunity there is to profit personally from your operations through fraud, the greater temptation there will be to take advantage of you and your company – and in ways you would never suspect.  Think Wild West.

Innumerable pitfalls await the unwary in China.  But there are ways to safeguard yourself and your company.  In this series of “Eight Signs,” I am going to suggest that you keep an eye out for behaviors and circumstances that singly, or in combination, could indicate that something is amiss in your organization.

Please treat these items as caution lights indicating potential trouble, not proof of wrongdoing.  If you notice several signs adding up, you should begin to be even more vigilant.

You can’t get ahead of your competition.

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