Cédric Schlicher, a General Manager in China
Interview with Cédric Schlicher, the GM of Fil Control in China
Cédric Schlicher arrived in China in 2007 and developed the subsidiary of Fil Control, a company specializing in the design and manufacturing of electronic products for textile machinery. Cédric is an intrapreneur. Discover his career path and his state of mind to remain enterprising.
Cédric Schlicher: his favourite slogan to remain enterprising
The best form of defence is attack.
When you decide to set up a project, you can’t let yourself be pushed around. You must be strong and know how to react in case of problems and external attacks.
Can you describe the context of the subsidiary you manage?
I manage the subsidiary of Fil Control, which is a factory located in Wuhu, a third-tier city in the province of Anhui, in China. It has been created in 1990. We are specialized in the study, development, industrialization and sale of equipment products for the textile industry. We respond to the generic needs and specific requests of our customers and partners. The textile market in Asia is particularly dynamic and we assist our clients to offer not only quality products but also a proximity which is necessary in our sector.
Here is Fil Control’s website
What do you start your working days with (morning routines)? Why?
My working days are often very different but a few missions remain the same. Indeed, I begin with meeting the different department managers and with an inspection of teams to check that everything is ok. By nature I am an organized person so I know what I have to do each day. My goal is to make my team work effectively by solving problems which may slow down activities. Chinese people need someone who can support them but who can also decide quickly, at the best moment.
How do you do to decompress when pressure rise?
It is true that working can sometimes be a little bit stressful. China is noisy and crowded. At those times, I like to have a rest with my family. However, I am not solitary by nature; I need to be in contact with people I appreciate. For example, I sometimes talk with other expatriates who also face problems and so on. I think that to live one’s expatriation well, it is necessary to avoid isolation.
How to avoid isolation?
Good question! I am fortunate to be surrounded by a large number of people from different backgrounds, Chinese and expatriates, and we can share our experiences. Expatriates move a lot, thus I know some people in a large number of cities in China, but also in other countries: this allows remaining surrounded even during my numerous business trips. When I am in Wuhu, share a meal and privileged moments with my family, close friends and colleagues is vital for me. And there is the essential call to my family in France every Sunday!
What do you do when you can’t concentrate to work?
Relax, take a step back. The constant pressure in China can make you forget to take a step back from what you do, but it is essential to remain effective at work.
How do you react to an error or a failure?
The best way to avoid errors is to do nothing, but this often leads to failure! You should not be afraid of making mistakes; you should know how to bounce back rapidly, offer new solutions in order not to repeat the same errors. It is also the same philosophy which I try to involve within my team. I prefer corrective actions rather than sanctions.
When you wake up exhausted or in a bad mood, what do you do to find motivation and a good state of mind?
I enjoy getting up in the mornings; breakfast is a moment of pleasure for me; I often get up with the smell of baked bread prepared the evening before, associated with coffee. How not to be in a good mood? In difficult moments, I always try to relativize. I also like to go running when I have time, in order to empty my mind.
According to you, what are the 3 key success factors in China’s industrial world?
In China, it is called “Guanxi”. Chinese people are very sensitive and enjoy contact with people. Relationship always comes first.
2- Being innovative and competitive
China is a highly competitive market, but Chinese people enjoy innovative western products. It works very well in the country. A lot of competitors are on the market and offer similar products. It is important to differentiate oneself from competitors by offering value-added products or services.
3- Understanding of one’s environment
It is well-known that Chinese culture is very different. But when it comes to put into practice, very few companies succeed in adapting their organization and decisions to the reality. Adaptation requires putting into question, which is sometimes difficult to implement, but with open-mindedness, it is not an insurmountable obstacle.
More information about Cédric Schlicher on his LinkedIn profile