Word 4 Asia is a consulting firm offering service and expertise in a specialty field for clients whose objectives require a deep cultural understanding of China. In particular, we are specialized in the communications field. Our core competencies include deep understanding of Chinese culture, history, language and laws. Our work helps to open mutually beneficial avenues for personal and organizational growth for the people involved on both sides of the transactions we engage in.
As consultants, we are proud members of IMC USA (International Management Consultants, USA). We proudly identify with IMC USA’s Code of Ethics and we encourage our fellow consultants who may not be familiar with IMC USA to look into membership for themselves.
This month’s blog is about some of the codes we uphold as members of IMC USA, and how Word 4 Asia interprets and implements that code within our daily business practices.
IMC’s Code of Ethics
I will serve my clients with integrity, confidence, independence, objectivity, and professionalism.
A clear thread that runs through all five of these words is ‘trust’. Long-time Word 4 Asia clients know from their experience that our character is disciplined, and that our word is our bond. For example, as a matter of policy, should we be unable to faithfully complete what we were contracted to do, we return all payment. Because we place excellence in performance among our highest priorities, our clients experience exceptional customer value every time we are engaged.
Willingness-to-Change is another hallmark of the way we do business. Our clients entrust us with their projects because they know we keep a very close eye on China’s changing legal landscape. We will only do things in ways that are transparent and within the scope of Chinese law. We know that our longevity and ability to deliver what we contract for is entirely based on maintaining a friendly relationship with the Chinese officials. As China continues to evolve, this requires us to continually adapt in appropriate ways.
I will mutually establish with my clients’ realistic expectations of the benefits and results of my services.
In order to faithfully execute our client contracts, we have to be very good at a number of ‘soft skills’. These include:
Recognizing our limitations. Depending on the project, these may be defined as available time, financial resources, areas of expertise, and more.
An ability to accurately predict and manage around the kinds of situations (internal or environmental) which could impact our ability to deliver on a promise. We are thorough in our planning and diligent in our execution. For every plan, there is always at least one and usually more than one back-up plan.
I will avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of such and will immediately disclose to the client circumstances or interests that I believe may influence my judgment or objectivity.
From the start, Word 4 Asia has conducted bench-marking exercises and adopted practices from other non-competing organizations and industries when we thought it was beneficial. The Gap Consultancy is one such organization whose practices encouraged us in this area. Their Nine Principles of Consulting Excellence’ include:
We are responsible and good citizens.
- We conduct our business ethically.
- We foster an ethical culture.
- We provide excellent consulting services which deliver the outcomes clients seek and need.
- We are transparent with clients in response to their concerns.
- We always strive to improve the value we can deliver to our clients.
- We undertake training and professional development planning each year.
- We promote strong core consulting capabilities and specialties in our consultants and teams.
- We support our employees career progression, professional development and welfare.
Before accepting any engagement, I will ensure that I have worked with my clients to establish mutual understanding of the objectives, scope, workplan, and fee arrangements.
I believe that client satisfaction and project success can be determined in the early ‘scope-setting’ phase of a relationship or project. When Word 4 Asia conducts this critical phase of a project, we follow a four-step process which includes:
Starting with customer-centric curiosity. We rely on a series of open-ended questions which we post to our clients. The goal of this interview process is to identify the ideal outcomes of the project and to identify any areas that might require a unique approach. No two projects have ever been identical, nor have any two clients represented the same set of factors we’ve needed to plan to. The interview process ensures we identify everything or almost everything early.
Following every meeting, we create a written summary which provides an opportunity to clarify any confusion or prompts further important questions.
Since we provide customized solutions, budget setting is always a factor. We work closely with our clients to identify their priorities and budget limitations. Then, we work hard to provide an approach that accomplishes the client’s project goals within their budget. There are times when we have to help our clients identify their highest priorities, since scope determines costs.
For over twenty years, Word 4 Asia has faithfully served the aspirations and goals of our clients when their goals lead them toward China. If yours are leading you there as well, we’d love to talk with you. You can reach Dr. Gene Wood at Gene@word4asia.com.
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