Trust and mu­tual re­spect the bedrock on which busi­ness is built

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS - Jon Gel­dart, chair­man, Institute of Di­rec­tors in York­shire and the Hum­ber

THERE ARE times when it is worth tak­ing a dif­fer­ent look at the world.

Seem­ingly be­set as we ap­pear to be with Brexit over­load, Trump tweets and Merkel mur­mur­ings, may I sug­gest an an­ti­dote?

My some­what un­usual com­mute be­tween Har­ro­gate and Hangzhou as well as Bei­jing and Shang­hai, I be­lieve gives me a some­what unique per­spec­tive.

Do­ing busi­ness in and with China is here to stay.

The ris­ing mil­lions of mid­dle class Chi­nese are not only hun­gry for brands but also for lux­ury ones as di­verse as Cana­dian maple syrup, New Zealand manuca honey and York­shire tof­fee.

Far­rah’s Har­ro­gate tof­fee and fudge to be ex­act. This unique and lo­cal sweet has be­come part of my per­sonal brand in China and says more than any ‘com­mon’ gift.

It’s part of my per­sonal brand and helps me stand out in the crowded Chi­nese mar­ket­place.

I strongly be­lieve all lead­ers should stand for some­thing per­son­ally, not just from a busi­ness stand­point.

The giv­ing of gifts is a part of ev­ery­day busi­ness eti­quette in China.The thought­ful pro­vi­sion of a per­sonal gift re­mains an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of mu­tual re­spect and hon­our which un­der­pins a re­mark­able sim­i­lar­ity be­tween the Chi­nese busi­ness com­mu­nity and the Brits.

In a coun­try which has strug­gled with the re­spect of copy­right and the pro­tec­tion of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty for many years, the Chi­nese have a very strong be­lief in the per­sonal re­la­tion­ships that de­velop on the back of a very Bri­tish no­tion.

“My word is my bond” trans­lates ex­actly in ev­ery re­spect into Chi­nese and Chi­nese cul­ture.

Where con­tracts are usu­ally the start of a re­la­tion­ship rather than the end of a ne­go­ti­a­tion, and can be sub­ject to change at a moment’s no­tice, trust and mu­tual re­spect are the bedrock upon which busi­ness is built.

It’s all a mat­ter of per­spec­tive and the les­son is clear.

If you are seek­ing to build a per­sonal re­la­tion­ship as well as a busi­ness deal then look­ing for mu­tual ben­e­fit, win win, the mid­dle way or bal­ance as my Chi­nese con­tacts, col­leagues and clients are con­stantly striv­ing to do, is the only way to suc­ceed.

It is an ap­proach I would en­cour­age all busi­ness lead­ers to de­ploy.

In my new role as chair­man of the IoD in York­shire and the Hum­ber I am seek­ing to bring a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to build on the good work of my pre­de­ces­sors.

This col­umn will not al­ways ref­er­ence China of course.

How­ever, I do be­lieve that busi­nesses need di­rec­tors with a strong and in­de­pen­dent per­spec­tive.

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