by Stephanie Overby

Managing IT in China: Dos and Don’ts

Jun 15, 20062 mins
CareersIT Leadership

You got the job. Now what? Some advice for thriving in your new job in China.

DO seek out a local lieutenant. Someone familiar with the local landscape and with connections will prove invaluable.

DON’T automate everything. Sometimes a technology solution is not appropriate, and manual processes may prove cheaper.

DO attempt to learn the language. Or, at least a few words. That shows respect.

DON’T import your management style without modification. What works in terms of motivation or communication in the United States may not go over as well in China. Keep an open mind and learn what works and abandon what doesn’t.

DO get out of the office. Visit the Forbidden City. Eat in local restaurants. All work and no play makes for a dull CIO. And cultural immersion will not only benefit you personally but professionally too.

DON’T meet reluctance with force. There’s nothing worse than an overbearing expat. Approach challenging situations with patience and empathy. Understand the rationale behind resistance before deciding how to overcome it.

DO make sure you have your family’s support. Eighty percent of executives going to China on an assignment are accompanied by their families. Even if you’re not living in China full-time, constant travel back and forth will affect your home life. If your family’s not happy, you’re not happy.

DON’T assume you’ll have local software and IT services support. The local market is still underdeveloped. Have a plan to fill in the gaps.