We could learn a thing or two from Moroccans…

We could learn a thing or two from Moroccans…

We could learn a thing or two from Moroccans…

Art, architecture, design and tribal inclusion are delicately woven into the fabric of their society. The country is a proud melting pot of different peoples and religions.

No xenophobia. It seems inclusion and acceptance are a source of national pride (can’t say the same about my own country at present).

As a testament, Morocco was one of few countries to save Jews during WWII and boasts a Jewish diaspora exceeding 1 million worldwide, nearly 7% of the global Jewish population.

This cultural legacy dates back 9000 years to the Berbers who had an advanced nomadic culture which formed the bedrock of monotheism.

The stories are endless. Alibaba and the 40 thieves = born in Morocco. Even the name “Marrakech” means “Go Fast,” an official warning signal for the city’s residents when bandits were at its gates.

#Morocco #Travel #InternationalTravel #MeltingPot

10 Signs a Psychopath is in Charge

Every big organization has them. They hide in plain sight, often with great credentials, a privileged education & a normal life. You may even be impressed.

Interviewers are easily fooled: outsized confidence, intensity & mental toughness can often lead HR managers to think they’ve found a strong leader.

Then you start to work with them & out comes the devil. They do things to throw you off your game, embarrass or offend others, take credit for your work & star in their own fantasies of grandeur & success.

But a few pumps to the ego & they show you who they really are. You see the cracks in the bullying & big talk. You become calm because you know they won’t last. He’s a “tough boss” or “tough client” doesn’t necessarily mean sociopath.

Signs you are working with/for a psycho:

  1. Exceptional charm
  2. Confiding way too quickly
  3. Lies, lies, lies
  4. Devious & deceptive
  5. Super confident
  6. No compassion
  7. Slow, quiet talking
  8. Adrenaline junkies
  9.  Can’t be bored
  10.  Fake emotions

NOTE: I’ve recently been faced with working with a model psychopath (don’t worry, not on our own team.)

Anyone encounter this before & how did you survive the relationship?

psychopath HELP management appearancescanbedeceiving

What to Say About Competitors

What To Say About Competitors

While presenting to a French retailer yesterday, a few competitor names came up. It’s often a client’s way to keep us on our toes or learn something new.

The question seems innocent enough, “What do you think of ______________???”

But I assure you it is a TRAP. There is no good answer to that question.

Even if you think you are that much better or unique and different. Even if you think they aren’t qualified or would be a bad fit. Even if you are SURE of this. Zip it!

Your clients have put you in the same basket. Things you say may backfire. Your client may have a lot of respect and/or preference for them. They could even be friends…

Look at it this way: amateurs badmouth and professionals PRAISE their competitors. Praise them for what they do well and show contrast. Never say a bad word.

Everyone who is your competitor clearly has value…whether you think so or not. You don’t know if you are talking to a friend or enemy. Why risk offense?

Plus if the competitor is formidable, praising them makes YOU look good too.

#Competitors #China #eCommerce #InternationalBusiness

Sabotage: Alive and Well in China

Recently, I was pulled into an emergency meeting with a client. As a result of a high profile Tmall launch, we are under attack. Harassment like this is typical for foreign brands who launch successfully in China.

Sabotage includes:

– Fake Orders
1/3rd of orders are competitors making use of Tmall’s unlimited 7 day, right-of-return policy. They try to hit store rank and reputation (high return rates) and cause losses.

– Aggressive Audits
The commerce department and the tax authority both have tried to fine and hamper my client’s operations.

– Gangster Thugs
They show up to our client’s physical showroom and refuse to leave, intimidating office staff.

Such aggression is the mark of SUCCESS in China…not failure. The more of a threat you are to incumbents, the more likely you will be a victim. We’ve dealt with this so many times with so many brands I thought sharing it would be an eye opener.

If you’ve had experience, share it here please! I’d love to know how you handled it. (FYI, we have proven counter measures, so we usually win long term, but may take a hit…which can be costly)

#China #eCommerce #Alibaba #Tmall #Taobao #Success #Sabotage

Doing Business In China: How to Act Like a Local

Doing Business In China: How to Act Like a Local

Recently, I was asked how foreigners can “act like a local” while doing business in China. That’s a really good question, and I think the foundation is built on cultural understanding.

There are so many ways that you can make people more comfortable in any situation. If you speak the language, one way that I have found very effective is to use a saying that only a very local person would know in a conversation. People will often stop in their tracks. It changes their thinking about you from “he’s an outsider” to “maybe this guy is didao,” he knows his stuff.

Another way to “act like a local” is simply to do your research on the culture as a whole, and then observe those around you to get a better understanding of how things are REALLY done. For example, when I’m out with Chinese, I don’t follow typical American customs; I’ll serve the way they serve as a sign of respect. Be open and willing to learn.

And when all else fails, humor is the universal language. I’ve been in China for 20+ years, yet it never fails that when I’m in a taxi they’ll ask where I come from. So of course, I tell them. But then I ask, “And you?” This usually gets a laugh, but then I get to learn about their story and their home town.

#China #Mandarin #Local

Doing Business in China: Is it Essential to Speak the Language?

Doing Business in China: Is it Essential to Speak the Language?

I’ve been doing business in China for 20+ years. I speak fluent Mandarin, but know many fellow entrepreneurs in China who do not. Shanghai in particular is a city of foreigners and I’ve met countless successful business owners & executives who are living here and don’t speak the language (and are doing quite well for themselves.) This is a very well educated, welcoming city & a huge portion of the Chinese population speak excellent English.

If you’re interested in doing business in China, but don’t know Chinese, there are so many resources available. Even with an international staff (many of which speak Chinese as their 1st language and English as their 2nd language,) we run into complicated scenarios where technical or legal documentation needs to be translated and we use professional translators. Even my team can’t take technical language from the West and translate it into technical language in China (and vice versa.) Translators, third parties, AI, and apps can help you navigate and make the process relatively painless.

What it all comes down to though, is that you need to have the right mindset. Respect the culture, make an effort to understand, and remember that China belongs to Chinese.

#China #Mandarin #English #Entrepreneur #InternationalBusiness