In Chinese culture, we are not accustomed to promoting or talking about our accomplishments. This is not accepted as appropriate behavior. However, “Once upon a time …” one of my American bosses told me he was moving certain of my colleagues to the next higher level because they knew how to promote their own accomplishments. Some of them, I knew, even claimed credit for other people's accomplishments. As he put it, “Madge, do you know how to blow your own horn?” I told him that it was not in our culture to do so. He replied, “Then you need to learn American culture, if you want to work in America.” I realized, hard as it was, I was going to have to learn, in spite of my culture and my upbringing. It wasn't easy, and I tried to figure out how to “blow my own horn” somewhat gracefully, so it didn't sound like bragging.
Throughout the years, as my job responsibilities grew, I came to realize that, not only did I have to make sure my boss knew about our successes, I had to make sure that he also understood what my team had accomplished, since we worked on highly technical issues. I came to realize the importance of recording our accomplishments promptly and accurately. I also came to see that the best way to promote achievement is through facts and data. Reporting facts and data cannot be considered bragging, so it became a very comfortable way to register our performance. I'd put together reports showing our financial achievements, how we performed against industry ...