Beijing 2008 Olympic has started with a magnificent opening ceremony. All the doubt about the aggressive construction projects suddenly disappear like Beijing’s smog.
An article ‘(Projects) Made In China’
by Janet Carmosky and Bill Lonergan on March 13, 2008 describes how the projects were managed by Chinese project managers. They also state that the leaders of China’s major projects are “the world’s most intuitive managers.”
Chinese are definitely falling behind westerns at scientific management. But is $34 billion spending the only reason that Chinese people can put all these together in time for the Olympic?
'Because the career of a typical CEO of a state-owned enterprise usually straddles the corporate and political spheres, these chief executives pay careful attention to politics—in particular, to developments in the Communist Party...'
'What’s more, the symbiotic relationship between the enterprise and the state makes such CEOs sympathetic to corporate social and economic goals beyond maximizing shareholder value.'
These explain why Chinese can achieve higher level goals even with not so good technologies and managerial techniques.
I’ve been involved in many ‘enterprise transformation’ projects. I find that the most effective way to align the objectives of department/sub-unit to the enterprise goals is to design a career system that promotes the leaders who can not only perform well at their unit but also carry out the corporate policies. If you think of the nation as an enterprise, isn’t it what Chinese government has been doing?
Lots of people asked why it happened after 9/11 attack. How many intelligent agencies do you need to stop it? The common agreement is that it is a ‘system failure’. In English, it failed at interfaces between departments. Do you think add another Homeland Security department above all will solve the problem? Perhaps it will help to make it hard for terrorists to execute another attack. But does it make hates disappear? Or isn't there a linkage between foreign policy and internal security strategy? I think Chinese government and Communist Party did a wonderful job in designing their organization which can pass along their policies optimized at nation-wide level. It takes motivated people to get things done, not another layer of control.
Chinese may be lack of managerial skills, but they are definitely not short of system thinking and motivation. As a matter of fact, you can find this kind of system thinking in many forms in Chinese culture. For example, in Chinese GO game, the goal is not to win at one or two spots on a 19x19 grid board. It’s actually all about strategic planning and win at large.
Needless to say, Chinese have more then enough resources to generate the motivation, from cultural proud, economical benefit, to personal career development, you can feel it every where if you've been there.