Stupid things American Managers in China Say
(I may edit this in future.... these are some of the things I've witnessed that immediately come to mind....and yes, you may feel free to roll your eyes at any of the below.)
“If we ran this place……..”
Oh, shut the fuck up. If you ran this place, what? What? The translators would be prettier? You’d treat your workers here the same way you do back home? That is…put everybody on contract, to avoid paying their health insurance? You’d ensure even your driver had a performance review?
“We need to lock ourselves in a room and create a business plan.”
This is nothing but busy work. It makes you look good on the performance review. Or so you think. And your business plan will be approved by….? Short answer: not you. Not by anyone in China. The US ofc will decide it’s fate, and you won’t be involved in the decision making process.
“I don’t need to speak Chinese. I have a translator”.
You mean more likely than not you have a 22 year old girl fresh out of college who can’t drink half a glass of beer without passing out? You have a robot that translates Chinese into English with neither nuance nor tone? This is the perfect situation where we are ignorant of what we don’t know.
If you are going to do business in Chinese, and are serious and long term with your commitment, you need to learn the damn language. Period. If you need to use a translator you are getting the burger without the beef. It’s like eating Chinese food with a fork…no appreciation for the context. Just stay home. You are inefficient and a poor use of company resources.
“I need to fly over and review the operation”.
You mean you need to get away from your wife for a week. You need to play some golf. Get laid by a girl half your age. Whatever. The ultimate purpose is to fly over here and build up your self esteem. I get it. Everyone wins. You do, for sure. The wife does..(she’s needs a break, too), and you look good in the eyes of your company. After all….business class is an experience we should avoid as often as possible!
Remind us again what operational impact you are going to have over here for the next 5 days? Three of which you’ll hit the wall by 7pm? You can’t hold any meetings at 4am, you realize that don’t you?
“You need to cut your price or I’ll walk”.
Reality is once you’ve committed to a supplier, and moved production to this fellow, you are stuck with him. What are you going to do…move your tools to another site? Ask the factory for the drawings?
No, this is a situation where the tail wags the dog. Yet as you speak through a translator, (see above….did I mention she has never been to a factory before, but looks good in her red dress and lipstick) you just aren’t aware of it. Sure the supplier, will cut his price….and cut corners to maintain his margins as well.
You get what you pay for buddy.
And my favorite…….”I love you honey.”
Do you have any idea how many times I heard my boss say this when he was at the entrance to the KTV? Or when he called her the morning after during breakfast?