Chapter Five
If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people
- Confucius
Understanding what a culture values is one of the surest and speediest ways of making connections and forming vibrant, sturdy relationships that will sustain and propel robust business progress and the navigation of contingencies.
If you truly understand what matters to a culture, it is infinitely easier to communicate, engender trust and foster mutual success. Moreover, it offers us a security and a surefootedness that no amount of mere cultural protocol and rules-of-engagement-type advice can offer. It gives us access to deeper pathways for connecting. Signalling an understanding of these values as Western business people is tantamount to offering respect and - perhaps unexpectedly from our point of view - demonstrating acumen. Since China does business on character, values and relationships, individuals who have taken the time to acquaint themselves with these aspects, and to deploy respect through playing conscientiously to these values, pronounce themselves as astute and business-minded, as well as ‘well-intentioned’, in their business strategy and partnership plan.
Relationship skills, as this book has demonstrated, are everything for the Chinese who expect commitment, finesse and even elegance in the way we seize the finer points of what matters within their culture to an individual, a company, ...

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