In just 30 years, China is nearly the world’s largest economy. A new Wharton book looks at how they did it — through the eyes of the nation’s top CEOs. China has come a long way. In just over 30 years, its economy has evolved from a closed market that is centrally planned to soon becoming the world’s largest. That is an incredible feat considering that it lacked a capitalist system and regulatory framework to support its entrepreneurs. So the Chinese did it their way: bootstrapping their enterprises while continuously learning from their own experiences and the outside world. The first priority was setting strategy. The second was setting the culture and the third was setting the original architecture. Whereas for U.S. executives, the first priority was investors, then it was external communities, and strategy was way down.
- The most distinctive thing about these companies is that within the small circle of, you might think of as the operating committee, there may be seven or 10 people at the top of the companies. There is a lot of loyalty and there is a great deal of trust. And there is a belief among those people that the boss will not fire them — that if you at least come clean with mistakes and you do it soon, you are not going to lose your job.