Three Cups of Tea
I remember once being told that, “if you want to do business in Asia, you need to take 3 cups of tea”. Over the years, I’ve found this to be a great analogy to use with clients and business partners as it places the emphasis on relationships before transactions. Something we’ve ignored in western democracies where we tend to rely on contracts, lawyers and the courts to resolve business disputes and/or to punish recalcitrant clients or negligent suppliers. Of course, the reality of enforcing your legal rights is actually quite onerous and expensive, but the existence of these things makes us feel safe enough to do business with people we may not actually like or trust.
How would you ever get anything done if there were no contracts, lawyers or courts? Because that’s exactly how China and many parts of Asia managed for literally thousands of years before the last 30 years? The answer is that you could only do business within the trusted circle of your friends, family and close networks, which is exactly the way it’s still done today.
I’ve re-released my ebook on this topic under the heading of “The Art of Building Relationships in Asia” and, while you’re thinking about how to bounce back from this crisis, I hope you will take a moment to read it?