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Remarkable is Possible


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…


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 –

It was clear that they knew their business and had a great formula that worked well in most markets around the world, even emerging markets.

But not in China.

The knee-jerk executive search approach – go to the competition – wasn’t going to work in this case.  We needed an “out of the box” solution so we jumped into some adjoining industries with shared commonalities – government bidding, project-based engineering, and extensive “guanxi” (relationship) development.

Still couldn’t find the right guy.

We pulled out all the stops.

Had to.

We ID-ed a Russian-speaking Engineering PhD who’d successfully delivered a chaotic 3-year hospital construction project in Russia on-time and on-budget.


Yep, no airport experience, totally unqualified in this particular industry – BUT, he had all the essential ingredients!

He had a huge appetite for outsized challenges, had proven that he was infinitely adaptable under extremely adverse conditions, and could land on his feet in almost any situation.

A survivor. A winner. A thriver.

Character and values matter – sometimes more than technical skills.

That’s what the company had to have.

Today, 7 years on, the company’s got a growing, profitable US$ 50+ million business in China.

Oh yeah, and they are winning iconic airport projects all the time.

Stunning results are achievable in China, just maybe not in the ways you think.


In a market as wild as China, executive recruiting can be a hand-to-hand affair at times – when you’re looking for winners.

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