More than 2 years in China – Experiences around our projects in Beijing

It started with an e-mail more than two years ago. A long-term client requested us to consult him on a challenge he was facing in China. His organization needed to grow - by more than 100% within one year; therefore, corresponding structures had to be implemented by also staying focused on personal growth and development of affected employees at the same time. And, of course, the intended structures, processes and roles had to be sustainable for the local market. We took on the challenge and together established needed structures and processes and trained new people for ramp-up purposes as well as in newly required skills due to changing frame conditions and collaboration models. Focusing on sustainability, we also deployed leadership development measures for local, as well as expat managers. Starting from the development of one specific organizational unit, we were soon faced with several other project requests and step-by-step we were able to grow in line with the challenges our client was facing.

Now, after more than 2 years, our team in China comprises 5 consultants with different levels of experience as well as an intern. Since arriving in 2011, we have worked on many different projects in several units ranging from IT to sales, to logistics and to financial services. We have managed to establish a reputation as reliable partner with our client in China - as it is also the case in Germany. Furthermore, we also managed to take the step beyond China - with small assignments taking us as far as Singapore and Australia.

As the results show, this approach has worked very well. We could gain a lot of experience in the Chinese market. This experience did not only come from the projects with our clients. In addition, we learned about the market by engaging with many people from very diverse industries whom we met in different environments and at different occasions in Beijing. Together with them, we deepened our understanding of how collaboration with local people works best as well as on what the key factors are to succeed in the Chinese market.

Based on these learning, we are currently developing ideas on how to proceed with our business in Asia. Indeed, after more than two years of continuous presence in the Asian region, CPC is thinking about a more international orientation and about taking the next logical step to better serve our clients also in the Asian region.

Some experiences of our employees in the last years in China are shared below.

Stefan Engleder (Senior Consultant): "How do you enable a fast growing organization and its people to compete in a highly dynamic market environment? This was the challenge our client, an international automotive manufacturer in Beijing, faced. Over the course of 1.5 years, we carried out a holistic organizational development program focusing on leadership and steering, the implementation of standardized methods and processes as well as integrative HR development on different hierarchy levels. With this program the organization successfully managed a staff growth by 100% without losing track of the day-to-day activities. Furthermore, the operational readiness was stabilized, key functions and processes were strengthened and the individual as well as the team performance capabilities were enhanced. The key to success was a constant interaction among people. Seeing how things change for the better and how people improve their performance was what motivated me anew every day - even when facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. Today the department plays an integral role for the whole company to successfully compete in the Chinese market."

Michael Teubenbacher (Manager): "In the midst of the ramp-up of our Asia activities we were approached with the request to prepare a concept and implement an approach for creating organizational readiness upon the introduction of a new core IT application. This "creation of readiness" comprised the entire organization - including several hundred dealerships nationwide. Our changed architecture included the verification and alignment of to-be processes, and thus the facilitation of future collaboration, the ensuring of proper communication across all organizational levels and the development and execution of an approach for qualifying the related dealerships. The achievements as confirmed by the client - step by step perceiving the desired changes and movements within the organization. The biggest challenge? Creating and upholding organizational focus along the change process in a shaky economic environment."

Sebastian Heymann (Senior Consultant): "For seven months, I worked with a Chinese project team to implement a business process management system. The major challenges were the different expectations in communication between the senior management and the local project team as well as the relatively young and inexperienced project team. Parallel to the daily project work, we conducted a series of teaming workshops to enhance the team performance and team management of the project manager. Together, we achieved remarkable results for the whole team and the manager. A holistic collaboration approach was a key success factor which included an efficient communication between all key stakeholders. To me it has proven to be beneficial to apply the right combination of a structured project management methodology and coaching on the job activities."

Anne Babilon (Senior Consultant): "My first project in China was the implementation of the corporate project management methodology into one department. Therefore, we needed to set-up and align the required roles, processes and structures for the methodology with the situation in the department. In the next step, the training of the whole team was necessary. Based on their running projects, we explained the methodology and transferred the already existing projects into the new structure. After the training we finalized the most important templates together with the project managers in individual one-on-one sessions for quality assurance. With the application of the new common methodology, the project managers could manage their projects in a more professional way and could cooperate easily with other departments and colleagues on joint projects. Beside this, the work on the projects created the baseline of the project portfolio and provided the required transparency to prioritize these in the future. My highlight of the project was the final meeting when all team leads committed to practice and support the new methodology in their teams."