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What’s an “Asian Mindset”?

Asia is home to few of the world’s biggest economies. When it comes to entrepreneurs and culture, Asia has a unique challenge; a fear of failure. In a recent session with Yale-NUS, it was discussed with a representative from Peru, Latin America that in some Asian countries, failure is still a concept that may still be a burden.

Here, “Asian Mindset” refers to fear of failure which is more often than not prevalent among Asian communities. Asians are raised to value hard work as it is a common belief that hard work beats everything. However, this work ethic produces perfectionist entrepreneurs with a “winning mindset'' where they often end up making safe decisions mostly based on thorough and detailed calculations in order to ensure success. This perfectionism leads many Asian entrepreneurs to fall in the fiery pit of fear for failures, thus preventing them from taking bigger risks and taking attempts to overcome major hurdles.

Other than that, “Asian Mindset” as an obstacle in scaling a business is further churned by Asian culture where failure is condemned and shamed rather than being seen as a learning process. As a result, possible international trade negotiations or business mergers and acquisitions failed due to this particular mindset. For example, there’s a huge geographical distance and time differences between Asian countries and other major continents e.g the United States. While this is indeed a big hurdle, it must not be an absolute deterrence factor in scaling a business.

An Asian mindset that was also brought up in the session between Yale-NUS and Endeavor, is that entrepreneurs in Asia often forget to balance organization structure and localisation when scaling. In scaling a business, entrepreneurs are advised to contextualize company welfare and policies to the local. Play by the circumstances and unique environment a country has; strategize and build your organization culture by the holidays, culture and unique nuances the country has. Scaling a business in Asia requires an Asian mindset, but scaling a business elsewhere, entrepreneurs are pushed to adapt.

Asia has all the ingredients to make it a nurturing ground for entrepreneurs. The challenges and considerations based on these stigmas or opinions on the lines of “Asian Mindset” are neither the entire fact nor entirely false. However it may become more complex as more entrepreneurs would attempt scaling if not given care to such mindsets or approaches. The good news is that, in a dynamic region such as Asia, the galaxy is the limit! Of course, if one dares to build a rocket.

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