Seemed like a great idea to me

I'm going to do some leadership training with my new team here in Beijing and I've lined up a great instructor, Chris Barclay, who gave me a discount so I'm plugging him for free on my blog.

Anyway what I still need is a venue. Turns out it's totally expensive to rent a conference room at the hotel that I was considering, the Somerset. However, the guest rooms in this hotel are spacious suites with a bed of course but also a living room area, full kitchen and dining room. And it's fairly inexpensive to get a guest room for a day (well, for a night technically). Maybe they'll give me a discount now that I've plugged them too.
hotel, hotel

(Thanks to Robs for the pictures.)

Being ever-conscious about using Sun's money wisely, I was considering having the training in a guest room at this hotel. "Is that weird though?" I asked Jasper, one of the managers in my team.

Most books that attempt to describe Chinese culture for Westerners will tell you that Chinese people tend to defer to their managers and will never openly disagree with them.

Not so with Jasper! Without blinking an eye he answered, "Yes, that's weird." He went on to explain, "Imagine people heard we went off for a day of leadership training. In a hotel room."

Yeah, I guess he has a point.

I am so happy to know that my team doesn't mind disagreeing with me openly. Please keep it up guys.

Unless I say something like "I think these jeans make me look thin, don't you?" Then you just smile and nod, ok? ;)

If you have time, leave a comment and tell me what you think about disagreeing with your manager in public, bridging cultural gaps at work, or about the appropriateness of a hotel room as a venue for corporate training.

Comments:

Disagreement! Ha!

You are not really managing until you get public humiliation.

You are really there when they simply laugh and proceed as if you did not say anything.

Posted by Sin-Yaw Wang on March 15, 2007 at 02:40 PM CST #

On bridging the cultural gap, jokes are generally the double edged sword. Understanding local sensitivities is a big problem. I personally feel that apart from the usual stuff about weather and traffic, asking people to crack a few jokes may break ice and give an idea about their taboos.

Posted by Madhan on March 15, 2007 at 03:27 PM CST #

If it is possible, I trend to give disagreement in private. Not only to the manager, also to your peer and friends. On the contrary, praise him or her in public.

Posted by Forrest on March 16, 2007 at 08:45 AM CST #

I'm fine with public, but diplomatic, disagreement (& praise) of my manager and so is he.

Regarding the hotel room, it is kind of weird, but I applaud your resourcefulness. What about reserving a private room in a restaurant? Or perhaps there is a local business or gov't facility conference room that you can rent or borrow? If not, Sun can/should pay for a renting a mtg room at a hotel.

Posted by Skrocki on March 16, 2007 at 05:41 PM CST #

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