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October 2013 – Publisher’s opinion

Last week I had with me a visitor from the UK who has both built a very large business from nothing and sold it, and gone on to be the CEO of a number of other global brands, taking them from a poor trading position to a very profitable status before they were sold off, all of which have been in the sports footwear or fashion sectors. As an ex footballer who went on to study accounting, he probably isn’t what most of us would consider a stereotypical sportsman turned businessman, there are few that could compete at this level.

I am not at liberty to say why he was with me in China, and he is no newcomer to the country having been visiting since 1990, but there were two aspects of his character that I wanted to mention because I have rarely seen one of these attributes, and never both from any international executive not based in China. The first was his ability to quickly get to the point, to focus on the here and now, and not to be dragged into subjects that might be possible but not today. This doesn’t mean he didn’t register them and we didn’t discuss them, but he had focus and a task to complete and he did just that. The second was his listening ability, no interruption, no cutting off others in the middle of a sentence, everyone had a chance to speak and their views were considered. …

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