I was reminded today by one of my colleagues that when I first came to China, I was shocked that people could say yes to me when they meant no and no when they say yes.
Over time, it developed in me a deep distrust of all Chinese people. This was not fair. I learned that China did have people who were genuine.
This led me to look at what was happening in foreign companies and realize that this was a big issue.
Companies even had bad leaders who held their companies hostage as companies were afraid to confront or dethrone the leader who consistently played with the truth in some way. They often felt resigned to this result.
I began to place hiring workers of character on an equal plain or even ahead of resume qualifications. The results were dramatic and led to success in business units that on paper were weaker than other teams.
Even in America, Character is an important factor that should not be ignored, but in China where yes often means no, it is a critical factor that often does not get nearly enough attention.