It is said that the Chinese guanxi is responsible for ninety percent of business success in China and globally. I often tell the managers who attend our Asian business culture workshops that if they want to succeed in business, they should find an overseas Chinese who is willing to die for them. In other words, they are willing to let them enter their guanxi. If at the end of my two day workshop, our Aussies get a glimmer on how to do this, I know they will do well in the years to come. Guanxi is Chinese networking yet it is not. Guanxi is the English old boys network – yes, but not quite. Guanxi is not how you do it but who you know. Well, it is both. Guanxi is a cobweb that is intrinsic in Chinese culture for thousands of years. In the late 60’s and 70’s when the women’s movement first took off in Australia, women tried to master the art of networking in order to break through the patriarchal sexist corporate walls and ceilings. I had thought then that it was quite cold and calculating, a deliberate and heartless way of meeting people who we hope, will be of use to us one day, and in return we owe them a favour. This morning as I climbed into the plane heading for LA, I opened the Financial Review and there it was – a whole article on networking and how it had failed. The smug little ego in me started to read with glee. Yes, my feeling was right two decades ago.
The real Guanxi, the one that really works for me, is usually tinged with a heavy dose of spirituality. By spirituality, I mean the connectivity between people that defies logic and rational explanations. It is the connection of souls. In the Taoist and Buddhist/Hinduist worldview, all of us are fragments of an universal soul. And the universal language of soul communication is love. The soul knows that falling in love is an accident, a chance meeting. One shouldn’t really go searching for love. Love finds you when you are ready. Similarly with business. How many times have you tried everything, done all the right things, but no contract eventuate. Yet many will tell you of great successes through a chance meeting. So Guanxi is about connecting on a deep archetypal level. I believe it is to do with synchronicities, meaningful coincidences.
This morning, while standing in the queue, waiting to board the plane for LA, I turned around to the man behind me and muttered something about the long queue and he agreed. We got to talking. He turned out to be a lecturer from Monash University, Caulfield campus. Guess where Moni used to teach? A synchronicity, a chance meeting.
Gaunxi always has an element of an ‘accident’, but it must also be empowered with good intention. Some call it luck. I call it love or ren in Confucianism. Soul talk.
Usually for me, the most effective Guanxi happens by ‘chance’. I met my husband by ‘chance.’ And it lasted 35 years. I got my first job by ‘chance’ and it lasted 27 years.
How can we tell when a ‘chance’ Guanxi occurs, whether romance or business? One is usually suffused with an awesome energy when it occurs. It has the quality of ‘we have met somewhere before’, ‘this has happened before’. We share something significant in a moment of time. We usually remember the person long after he or she has continued on his/her journey. What they have left behind is a fragment of their soul. What we have given is a bit of ours. We have loved in a moment of time. A lovebyte has been shared. How does the universe work? It works for us. Through an energy called love. Skeptical? Just answer this question. Would you choose to have love in your life or not at all? Didn’t someone say it is better to have loved than not love at all? Be open to the synchronicities in your daily life. They come to you to smooth the way, to remind you that “life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” Just like love.
Postcript to my editorial:I arrived back in Melbourne as this goes to print. The trip was a wild success on many fronts, personal and business. Leaving Waterloo, Canada, I flew to Singapore via London. In Singapore, my childhood friend of 50 years, Evelyn, had set up a meeting with a company called the Julia Gabriel School of Speech and Drama in view of a possible joint venture! (Evelyn owns a kindergarden business based on Accelerated Learning in Kuala Lumpur for the past 13 years). Julia’s son, Mark Gabriel, is into Accelerative Learning and had just bought over a company called Quantum Learning which is derived from the principles of Accelerated Learning.
Now in Melbourne, I look back on my trip to Waterloo and can say without a doubt that I enjoyed some amazing loving kindness all the way and to crown it all, I launched the Heartwork workshop in London. A huge success. I met up with Angela and Kevin Filmer who played the part of the taxi driver in our play: Our Man in Beijing. Angela was the stage manager. They gave me much love and sweetness. That is what I called success loving friendships that is beyond time and distance. The good news? I have come back with renewed energy to continue living and learning. And growing.
PS: If you want to extend your Guanxi by learning Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese in an online group environment which is engaging and fun, check us out at ChinesebyDesign