Teams from the Class of 2016 wrote about their anticipation and experiences of their recent International Business Consulting Trip to Shanghai, PR China in a series of blogs. You are currently reading the sixth blog in the series.
Building A Billion Relationships- Team One Outcomes of the China Trip
By Deepali Bhatt
China is many things to many people: a production super-giant, population aggregator, expanding economy etc. but to Team One, it is all about guān xì (关系, relationships). This takes a major significance in business relationships in China where Confucianism places a strong emphasis on making meaningful relationships for social harmony. Four out of five relationships noted in the concept of Confucianism are closely related to family or close friendships.
Team One left Canada doing ample primary and secondary research related to its project. All the interviews were conducted much in advance and the report looked like it was final before we were on the plane. We had arranged for an array of business meetings for our time in Shanghai with trade commissioners, Shanghai counterparts of our client, project stakeholders etc. The calendar looked full and we felt prepared.
One of the key activities in Shanghai involved facilitating two-day strategic business alignment workshop between our client and their Shanghai counterpart. The tables turned as we landed in Shanghai and due to a schedule confusion, our two-day strategic alignment workshop stood cancelled. In the light of this new change we quickly changed our strategy and concentrated on the other important part of our project. We delivered a financial model which was the initial ask of the project. Our financial model was well received and gave our client the right tool to make financial decisions. It started the right kind of conversations and our engagement with the client provided them with enough intelligence in assessing few other important aspects of the partnership.
The Biggest Outcome
When you arrive in China, you see speeding cars, over-populated cities and crammed streets but what you do not see is the vast space into the hearts of the people. Team One got the opportunity to meet all the stakeholders of the project in the board rooms and outside. The biggest business intelligence has come from the time spent outside the board room; over a glass of wine or over the informal dinner meetings.
Our biggest learning has been that when in China have persistence, embrace the culture and go with the flow. Don’t expect it to be a smooth right away, expect it to be different and sometimes multi-phased. But once you are there, you’ll enjoy it -- and you'll create a lot of value as well. You come back from China making a billion relationships!!
Additional Blogs in the Series: