Americans/Canadians react differently from Israelis to Asian face saving

The case:

An organization forced very aggressive numbers on its Sales force 4 months ago.

Wong from Beijing was asked today in a sales call about “meeting his numbers” this quarter. Wong gave lots of details, and then said he was “optimistic” about making the numbers. After the call, Wong told his CFO to “leak” that the Chinese office would not meet its numbers.

A North American manager’s reaction:

Wong lied. We are playing hard ball and this is no time to monkey around.

Wong is not up to managing in a first class global company. How can we trust him?

We need to get someone in that job who tells things like they are, someone who knows how to bite the bullet, take the heat and make the numbers happen at all cost.

An Israeli manager’s reaction:

Wong is trying to look good at the wrong time and in the wrong way.The way to look good is to refuse the quotas and fight the system

I wish Wong would have told me that we were forcing these high quotas down his throat. When I gave him these quotas, I tried as hard as I could to tell him that he can “push back” on me, but the trust was not there.  He should have advocated for realistic  numbers; this would have helped me re-negotiate something more realistic for him.

I need to build a more trusting relationship with him so he can help me fight the system.

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2 thoughts on “Americans/Canadians react differently from Israelis to Asian face saving

  1. I love your “individuated-integrated” approach to OD. I feel I am a beginner at integrating these concepts in my work – having been shaped by a North-American cum French view of what work is. Not much exists in the world of OD with regard to holding differences as the common ground for connection. It requires, on the part of the OD practitioner, humility and curiosity in listening appreciatively to the listening of others as the place to speak from. How often have I listened to others from my in-the-background OD “shoulds”!

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