Since I wrote my blog post “Avoid the complex of superiority when doing business in Asia” (January 16th, 2014) and “5 tips to avoid the complex of superiority when doing business in Asia” (January 17th, 2014) not a single day has passed without me thinking about this issue, a problem that has fascinated me, and its possible solutions. For the past 25 years, Asia, and specially China and India, have maintained an impressive rate of growth while Europe and America have failed to recover strongly after 2008, eight years of more or less crisis already. Yet, I haven’t seen any change, even a minor difference in the approach of western business people to Asia. No doubt that for many centuries a western power has dominated the world and its economy (Spain, France, Britain or the USA) but, to me, it should be pretty easy to see the facts in front of our eyes, that the economic power lies today in Asia and not in the West. And if Asia, it is only normal that rules or, at least, that they are consulted about the rules. What nobody can expect is that the rules are written by the West alone.
Why the western business people behave like this? First, due to a massive failure in the education system, from primary education to the best business schools, to teach the tectonic shift from the West to the East. Second, because the diplomatic and political international forums (like the UN or the World Bank) hasn’t adjusted to the new reality which, naturally, will make the East to create its own forums. Third, due to the individualistic nature of westerner, almost close to arrogance and with no sense of humility.
One day after another, I thought how to fix this blindness. I couldn’t. Maybe it is not possible. It will require future generations to understand the world as it is and not as it was until the end of the twentieth century.
But today, at least, I have a solution. I know many western companies fail when they enter into Asia, but not all. Who survives?. The ones which listen to their clients. So, the solution to avoid the complex of superiority consequences is: to listen to your clients. After all most companies, and certainly the successful ones, must listen to their clients and this listening is common to Asia and the West, so there should be no cultural rejection to this solution. Today, with internet and its spin offs, specially the social media, clients have the power, not the corporation anymore. And it is with this power that they decide who succeed and who fail.
So, through internet, Asian clients are deciding the fate of western companies. Clients will speak. If they are listened to, success will come, if not, failure and, ultimately, even the end of the complex of superiority, because the change is of such proportions that there will no longer exist “western style only” business people. They will disappear. And with them, all of their complexes.