Chinese constantly strive to improve their personal situation: earn a higher income, advance in the hierarchy, take on additional responsibility, increase exposure to senior-level management, gain access to technical innovations.
Chinese are persuaded by solutions which benefit their company. But, they also want to know “what is in it for me personally?” It is considered legitimate to pursue “the best of both worlds.”
American employees are no less motivated by “what’s in it for me?” How their company responds, though, is transparent and standardized. Strict rules of compliance minimize the risk of conflicts of interest. “If you do good for the company, the company does good for you.”
Americans not attentive enough to their (Chinese) individual needs. To be effective in the Chinese context, you need to strike a balance. The company has needs. But so do company employees. The American approach appears disrespectful of individual situations.
Americans feel uncomfortable linking company and personal needs. They are cautious about activity considered to be non-compliant. Helping individuals must be fully aligned with helping the company.
Advice to Americans
When persuading Chinese highlight what’s in it for them personally. Use these specific words. Describe how you help them: promotion, salary raise, relationships. First understand their targets. Then help them to hit those targets.
And, of course, show how your product or service will: improve efficiency, reduce costs, increase profitability, etc. Managers want to be promoted by showing their individual value.
Advice to Chinese
Do not stress how you will benefit the decision-maker personally. Americans are very careful about any form of conflict of interest. Focus your arguments on what is best for his/her organization. Americans know how to promote themselves within their companies.