"Don't we all......"

 I am the Senior Director of  small company.  Maybe this year a bit less than $200 million in revenue. Yet I have a China Team of around twenty staff.  I have a few American Staff as well.  And I am finding myself increasingly frustrated when I want stuff done.

In America.

Why is that?  I know my American staff may not get to it right away.  Or even my coworkers for that matter.  And if they do, it won't necessarily be as thorough as I prefer. 

Right now we are having a hell of a time getting containers in China.  It is literally just one crisis after another.  First Covid slammed us, now the inability to ship product ontime is nearly the final damn nail in the coffin. 

But my logistics manager works on weekends to get the job done.  She is dedicated, and task oriented.  She has even worked on holidays.  Do I care? Yeah, I do.  Does she ask for permission?  Nope.  She just gets it done.  And our products ship.   

Last week I had samples that had to go out.  It wasn't necessarily urgent. I knew they would go out eventually.  So around 7pm I left the office, another eleven hour day.  I placed the samples on a nearby desk and sent an email telling my co-worker to send these out.  I also included in the body of the email the name of the company.  Enough  information for the system to pull up the rest. 

Now I should stop here and tell the team I get at most 200 emails a day, and at least 130-150.  It is my professional philosophy to review or respond to most of them before going home.  The next day I rolled in and for the entire morning wasn't even in the office.  I noticed the samples I had placed on the admin's desk were still there.  To be fair, this lady is a smart person, and quite competent and capable.  

Neither does she report to me.  She would be equivalent of a buyer within an ordinary company.  Finally, late in the day I casually walked over, asking when the samples were going out.  Her response was simple;

"I emailed you earlier in the day for the company address".    My retort was as casual as I could manage, 

"I've only got 200 emails to go through today."

She simply turned her back and in as airy a voice she could muster, replied,

"Don't we all......"

The samples wound up going out the following day.  

This simply wouldn't happen in China.  Granted, it is a simple illustration. 

I once wrote a post many years ago(on this blog!),  about a phone call I received around 10pm on a Sunday in Shenzhen.  It was from the chief product engineer regarding a tooling issue we were having.  He was calling simply to announce his team had solved the issue that had been vexing us for the past few days.  He was pretty happy about it.

Not that I'd forgotten about it, but I can honestly say it wasn't on my mind on a 10pm Sunday evening. 

Americans are NOT lazy.  And maybe I'm the problem here.   People don't act quickly enough to get things I want done, and just maybe I pout as a result. 

And, just maybe I'm sick of 7 minute lunch breaks and eleven hour work days.   And maybe I'm thus most annoyed by people that get to go home at 4pm, albeit they make significantly less than I do.   But at the end of the day I often find people simply not as task oriented as I like.  Yes, China has lazy people.  I know.  

But why is it I feel I can get more done with a China team than I can with an American team?


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