From Brazil to China and India

I wanted to share in few lines what cool and impact-full is happening right now for Team Academy network, that Monkey Business makes part of. Mondragon Team Academy’s MINN Master program is on a Learning Journey in China, and discovering the country to the full. I have been here 4 days and got some interesting insights of the country on the way. Here briefly sharing some…because I wish we as Monkey Business and Tiimiakatemia Jyväskylä start learning about China step by step.

Inigo Blanco travels with Henna

Minn fellow Inigo Blanco travels with Henna in China and India

They say Chinese people are not very innovative, but that hasn’t always been the case: history tels that the Chinese were the first to build seagoing ships, and even sailed around the world and discovered all the continents before Columbus and friends. What happened to this ability to create then? The best guess refers to control. Control came into the society and limited the innovative-ness. Now China is developing in the speed that is hard to even imagine. There’s a boom in internal market, the Chinese middle class is growing rapidly and there are 1340 million people in this country and just 666 million of these people are living urban middle class life. There’s another half to come on board in the coming years just inside China.

And then the expats…Shanghai is full of expatriates. ”You can live and work years in Shanghai without ever talking with a Chinese person.” It’s a pity but true, that foreigners in China come and stay as foreigners too easily. To really integrate into the society and make business in China you need to master the ”Guanxi” – ”the relationship”, and for getting guanxi you need guanxi, someone who’s already locally trusted and helps you. But that’s not enough. If I want to get something done in China I have to offer a win-win situation, benefit for China and benefit for me. Otherwise I won’t move anywhere. The Chinese say things are never black or white, they are grey, or something else. This is difficult for the western more of specific mind. Maybe that’s why they say ”It’s true that Chinese market is a difficult market.”, but always continue ”But you have to come here.”

As said China is developing rapidly. Now the country has a goal to turn China into an Innovation by 2020. Currently the focus is on creating a harmonious society, and it’s working: all classes of society from villages to the cities have improved their life quality during the past years. China has to be innovative because the size and quantity of the country demands special knowledge, and in the end you want to be part of the value creation process: ”Nobody wants to make 10 dollar iPhones in China when they are sold in other countries with 400 dollars.” China also has to create train tracks that are longer than in any other place in the world, and using the high speed trains that are faster than in any other place in the world, so there’s no existing knowledge for this because nobody has done that yet. So China needs to educate their own engineers. Also there are many environmental and infrastructual issues to be solved with China’s own muscles, because it’s quite impossible to bring people from outside and have them fully understanding the Chinese society and the reasons why the Facebook and Google are still banned.

”You need your own brain to deal with your own environment”. But can you tell some Chinese brand? How about Japanese?

3 out of 10 worlds largest banks are Chinese because they have very big assets, but who knows the names of these banks? Chinese businesses are not yet known worldwide, and maybe there is market for marketing people from all over the world to work with the Chinese outside of China, since in China it’s so challenging, also because of protectionism. Anyhow here’s a million dollar tip for the ones who want to enter China in business. Tip is given by Nicholas Musy, a head of Swiss Chamber of Commerce, who has been a resident of China since 1988 and helped about 50 companies to start their functions in China. The tip is simple: You need to have the right concept. Meaning that you need to do something that others don’t do. Something that the Chinese won’t do / can’t do for any reason. Because if you enter with a thing that is possible and valuable to copy, you know what happens 🙂 Also you need to commit the right people. Listening to the company managers and anyone dealing with people in China they say that HR is the biggest issue and pain in the ass to handle.

I think that Monkeys and Team Academy could face the challenge of China using this tip – we have potential here clearly, because the Chinese are yet not very much team oriented.

Today, on 12th of October, we had an amazing day at Taihu with Peter Senge and Master Nan. Peter encouraged TA to come to China and asked what are we trying to accomplish. And when we told about exchanging knowledge as it’s the only resource that grows when in use, Master Nan said that knowledge is good because it brings up feelings. The conclusion of learnings at Master Nan’s place is well put by Peter: ”To become a leader you must first become a human being.” And as I check my learning goals for this trip, written before it even started, #1 goal was to become more human. I’m on the way.

Next week I’ll write about India.

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