For the first time in my life (so far) I was able to travel to China and get an education (all be it a very quick one) on who and how the Chinese operate.
I loved my time in China. The people were great and appeared really genuine. The structure and systems provide a clean operating area for life and for conducting business.
Yes it was a business funded trip but for this trip I plated the part of observer more than negotiator. For me this was actually quite a different role to play. I am used to being a talker and working towards cutting a deal.
This trip however required different skills and a different methodology and approach. So what did I do?
- Observed. Watching people in their own environment and the way they interact with others plays a large part in negotiations and in getting along with others. When in China do as the Chinese do. This lesson saved my bacon a few times (more on that in future posts).
- Listened. We are trying to find some common ground and synergies with fellow educators and agents. I think I learnt the most from our trip in two different conversations that we had. I sat and listened and absorbed what was being said.
- Asked questions. When I saw people who could speak English and were open to us I asked questions. What's the average income? Where do the students come from? What employment opportunities do they expect when they are finished? Simple questions but they will help me determine the future approach we will take when we return to China to talk some more.
- Reflected. Spending time musing and considering what has taken place is just as vital a step as is the actual being there. I am now 50 times more knowledgeable about the people, their aspirations, their educational setup and methodologies than I ever was before.
My first trip to China was very much aa reconnaissance mission. Now I feel I have learnt much from that trip and now I will do everything within my power to assure the success of future plans we have in partnering with China.