“According to a survey’s result of 2021, 92 percent of CEOs in China stated that they were confident or very confident about the growth prospects of their companies, which has increased from 65 percent in the previous year”. It is evident that when looking at China´s success, one would look at the most successful CEOs and their management strategies. We must ask ourselves, what differs between the way CEOs in China operate and those from the rest of the world? What is the outline of the strategies if there is a specific and traditional way of doing things? And how must headhunting companies look into this and understand it in order to execute an efficient and rigorous assessment or search.
Most CEOs follow the same structure of management based on hard and soft skills as well as a balance between seeking to be profit efficient whilst having an ethical business vision. Headhunting for executives in China whether they be foreign or local candidates must be the right fit to guide the work force behind the company. As employees in China differ to those in the West, when it comes to work culture in particular, foreign executives can’t only focus on the economic success of the business but must also deal to the possibility of a culture shock.
The Harvard Business review wrote that companies in China “teach us management’s current imperatives: responsiveness, improvisation, flexibility, and speed.” As executives’ management styles are linked to the economies in which their personal success and the success of their company as a whole has emerged it is important to note that China has faced with turbulence in the previous years on many scales and executives have therefore had to adapt and manage things differently.
Headhunting in China needs to be based on the knowledge of the current economic situation in order to find executives who can stabilize and structure the various dimensions of the company whether that be sustainability or consumerism trends.
Over the years, China has shifted from being known as the main mass-producing country, coining the term “made in China” as people discovered a cheaper way to consume goods. Yet, in recent years there has been an immense push back from society towards a sustainable way of consuming. Therefore, as markets evolve very quickly, headhunting companies need to look towards finding executives who can process information fast, act quickly and are flexible enough to face organizational realignment for example.
Three of China’s biggest leaders: Haier’s Zhang Ruimin, ZTE’s Hou Weigui, and Wanxiang’s Lu Guanqiu were once employees at the bottom of “the ladder”, they strived thanks to a change of management from the traditional ways of being a CEO and as a consequence saw great success.
Successful companies in China as well as the rest of the world are looking towards innovation and taking risks. Headhunting companies must therefore look for innovative leaders as well as the other characteristics of a good C suite leader. There is for example a push in China’s innovative start-ups to employ younger people who may be more understanding of the vision as the new generation of C-suite leaders are coming into the spotlight.
Headhunting companies should base their search on candidates with high aspirations, an ethical compass yet an openness to experimenting with the ability to revolutionise management techniques and strategies when its needed.