Richard was China Sales Manager when I accepted my role as Sales Director, APAC. In hindsight, my appearance on the scene was both a potential opportunity and potential threat to Richard.
During my honeymoon period in China, the initial period when everyone is accommodating your every need and praising all your unmet potential, I was completely unaware of the dilemma I presented to Richard, nor of the potential ramifications of ignorance.
Richard had a lot to gain if we aligned and collaborated, but he also had a lot to lose if I misunderstood and exposed his machinations in dealing with local Chinese stakeholders.
While Richard focused on developing our 'Guanxi' relationship, I naively directed my attention towards "big picture" strategy, neglecting to consider how perceptions within my orbit could have a cascading effect on my ability to get things done, and not being empathetic towards Richard is a principal case and point.
I did not guide Richard towards my alliance, so he naturally formed a covert counterinsurgency against me.
Since the facade of goodwill that Richard extended towards me never waned, my ability to fulfill my responsibilities tipped out of favor before I realized the misinformation perpetrated against me had caused irrevocable damage to my reputation.
I immediately negotiated an amicable separate without firing a single return shot!
I saved my 'Face' and that of the organization and quietly parted company with a nice severance package. I lost due to my myopia, but I survived to fight again.
Did you know negotiations in China begin AFTER the contract is signed?
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