4 rules for motivating your team members

When managing teams in China, it’s easy to think about managing the team as a whole while forgetting that you’re also managing individuals. This is of course true anywhere, but it’s especially easy for foreigner managers working abroad to think they only need to manage the group.

It can be helpful to compare managing teams in your home country to managing a team in China. Understanding the general differences in motivations and expectations help guide how you talk to the group when explaining initiatives, defining expectations, and generally building the team’s culture.

But when I first moved back to China three years ago I fell into the trap of only managing the group, forgetting that I was actually working with individuals, each with unique motivations. I’ve also seen other foreigners managing Chinese teams fall into the trap of thinking only of the group as a whole, rather than also thinking of the group as a collection of individuals.

It’s time to start managing both the group and the individuals.

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The humble entrepreneur

I’m lucky to frequently meet with entrepreneurs as part of my job. Like many who work in the entrepreneurial space, I spend as much time getting a feel for the team as I do considering their idea.

I recently met with an entrepreneur who impressed me with his humble attitude. He didn’t try to convince me that he knew everything about his customers, or that he knew the industry better than anyone else — instead, we had an engaging discussion about his key assumptions and how he would like to try to validate them in the market.

That great discussion not only gave me confidence in the entrepreneur and made me interested in working with him, it also got me thinking about what traits I look for when considering working with an entrepreneur. Like many investors and partners in the entrepreneurial space, I spend as much time getting a feel for the team as I do understanding their idea and assessing its potential. Here are some of the traits that turn me on, and some that send me running as fast as I can in the other direction.

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Chinese studying abroad — an interview with Danny Wang

This is the third and final post in my series on Chinese studying abroad and the entrepreneurs serving them. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Danny Wang, co-founder of WeblishPal, a platform that connects Chinese English language learners with native English speakers. WeblishPal focuses on serving Chinese students who are interested in studying abroad in North America.

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Chinese studying abroad — an interview with Greg Nance (part two)

This is the third post in my series on Chinese studying abroad and the entrepreneurs serving them. This is the second and final part of my interview with Greg Nance, serial entrepreneur and CEO of ChaseFuture. As noted in the first part of this interview, ChaseFuture offers services like mentoring and essay proofreading for Chinese students aspiring to attend top schools in the US or UK.

In this part, Greg talks about ChaseFuture’s strategy in China, India, and Russia; co-founders and finding early employees; growing organically and creating a business that can scale; and gathering customer feedback as ChaseFuture considers expanding their services to better serve their customers’ needs.
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An effective project kickoff meeting in 4 steps

Have you ever left a project kickoff meeting not knowing why this team was brought together or what the project is about? Were you the one leading it?

If you’re an entrepreneur, or are leading an important project within your company, you have an opportunity to take individuals and turn them into a well-functioning team during the project kickoff meeting. But, as I’ve discovered the hard way, you sometimes only discover that you didn’t run a successful kickoff meeting much later, when you’re reflecting on a project that failed.

Follow these 4 steps for an effective project kickoff meeting to avoid that fate.
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