This is a follow up to last week’s blog. Many companies send a guy from the home office to handle the China acquisition. Often it is an ethnically Chinese person in their staff. Often it is a mess. A good leader in America is not always a good leader in China in a greenfield, but he is almost never strong enough in an acquisition. A good ethnically Chinese worker for you is almost never the right one to handle your acquisition well.
A Chinese person enters the Chinese culture and is pulled by all the bad elements in his culture that he or she was safe from in the US. That is the first risk. Then the demands of the acquisition prove to be a pressure too big, and so real work cannot take priority anymore. He does not know how to make things right, so he faces temptation to make things look right. The dog and pony show begins. You will often be confused or hear: “This is China.”
How To Handle Your China Acquisition
Some few people in China have a very high level of leadership understanding and can win in this environment. At a competitive salary, we can often find only one or two that is excellent for any specific geography. We can find quite a few who have good resumes and interview well, but they are far from what you need.
You need someone who can woo most of the managers to a winning path and know which he or she must fire. This is super hard to get right. Again and again we see the wrong guy get fired or the wrong guy retained. Then years are lost in darkness. Acquisitions are very tough. All the smiles when the agreement is signed quickly disappear once you start to take control.
They are on their home court, and anyone you send will be outnumbered. It is not easy, and the right guy is invaluable. Not only will he make/save you a ton of money in the transition, but he will help you get good sleep all along the path.
Do not do what others have done and hope to get lucky. Do not be so foolish with your acquisition. Your acquisition can succeed, but that first hire could not be more critical. Several other important hires are also likely needed and each is critical. Then light appears.
Best to you as you handle your China acquisition