The Wall Street Journal reported that Mattel is recalling millions of toys made in, you guessed it, China. It’s not been a good year for China (wow is that an understatement). Apparently, the Chinese manufacturers didn’t think lead based paint would be a deal-breaker for toys that kids play with and, more than likely, put in their mouths.
With all the emphasis on China as, the next big economic thing, the company, I mean country, needs to be cognizant of a couple of things–something every organization or leader needs to remember:
1) Consumers are in charge
2) Consumers are in charge
Yep. Deja Vu.
China’s governmental philosophy and structure are not exactly set up to understand my two rules (above). This is a problem, and here’s why. A culture of a country (or organization), steeped in authoritarianism, will not think first about the consequences of irritating (or worse) consumers. Why? The consumer is NOT in charge–the leaders are. When leaders delude themselves into thinking THEY are in charge, rather than that market (the people), they do dumb and dismissive things that end up annoying the consumer.
If you annoy the consumer, well, just remember my two rules.
Now, to be fair, if you can control the consumer than my rules are irrelevant. But, if you "democratize" your market place and you play with other countries who do the same, then my rules apply–big time.
Maybe someone should tell this to China’s CEO.