爱赢娱乐国际_Four Culture And Globalization Lessons From LeEco's Successe
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This was contributed by Elliott Zaagman a trainer, coach, and change management consultant who specializes in aiding Chinese companies as they globalize. He uses a comprehensive 4-dimensional model that enables organizations to take a holistic approach to global readiness, from the inside out. To contact him, check him out on LinkedIn, or scan the QR code at the bottom to connect with him on WeChat.
I worked at LeEco from March 2016 to May 2017 at their Beijing office. Beginning as an external consultant hired to coach leaders in the company’s rapid overseas expansion. I was later hired as a full-time employee, where I headed up their Culture Globalization program, an HR initiative designed to bridge the cultures of the China and overseas offices. This program was also designed to develop the language, cultural, and leadership skills of the staff at the Beijing headquarters.
In some of those areas, LeEco has made incomplete progress. In others, we missed the mark by a long shot. What follows is my understanding of why we were not able to achieve our goals in this area as well as key takeaways that other Chinese companies can use in their globalization process.
My motives here are not to tear down YT Jia or LeEco. Actually, I really admire YT as a leader. We can all learn a lot from his emphasis on learning by doing, being unafraid to fail, and taking the time to self-reflect.
What I hope to do is provide an analysis framework so that LeEco, and companies like LeEco, can improve their globalization strategies. One consistent theme is evident: while technical and surface-level changes can take place rapidly (companies can be acquired, talent can be hired, and strategies can be laid out), the necessary cultural changes in people’s hearts, minds, and habits are complex processes that require time and patience. The speed and scale of LeEco’s development did not allow for that.
In analyzing the culture globalization process, I believe a comprehensive understanding can be gained by looking at four dimensions: language, the resonance of organizational values, leadership and management skills of those in power, and localization. By looking at LeEco through these lenses, we can come to a better understanding of how companies can better globalize.
1. Language: Are internal documents and key information bilingual? What is the level of English competency of key staff?
As LeEco began its globalization journey, they recognized this need and took steps to address it. They hired a highly-qualified team of translators and interpreters, who would provide simultaneous interpretation in all relevant meetings. For executives with poor English skills, coaches were hired to help them improve quickly. Most internal systems and communication were made bilingual.
“The translation that was provided to us was the best I’ve ever experienced,” said one US employee, who worked for other Chinese companies prior to LeEco.
However, despite their best intentions to integrate English into the company, the reality was far more complicated. When selecting people for key overseas and global positions, English competency was considered much less important than the implicit trust YT had in them. While many of them were provided English coaches, the high-pressure demands of their jobs meant they had little time to study and develop their English skills.
One case was in that of an executive who was responsible for driving the go-to-market process in the US. He only had a very basic level of English, and this had a demoralizing effect on some of the US staff.
“People were shocked by how poor his English was, and I think it made a lot of US staff just feel like the leadership in Beijing didn’t respect us,” said one US employee.
By putting thatexecutive in that position without the necessary language skills to succeed, the leadership of LeEco put both the US team and that Chinese executive in a very difficult position. The degree to which the US office was staffed by transplants from China also took a toll on their ability to recruit and retain local talent.
“The working language here is more Chinese than it is English,” one senior leader mentioned. “This makes it very hard to recruit and keep non-Chinese staff, and therefore severely limits the talent pool that we can recruit from, meaning that the skills of our people just won’t be of the same caliber as those of our competitors.”
Key takeaway: Language matters. It is the foundational building block, not just to direct work-related communication, but to the building of trust, a key ingredient to any effective team. Without a shared language, the team will be severely disadvantaged.
2. Corporate Culture: Are your company’s story and values globally resonant?