Interested in exporting to Southeast Asia?

September 28th, 2014

Do you. like General Electric, see huge opportunities to do more business in the region? Watch this short video with Stuart Dean, GE ASEAN CEO, outlining how to seize the ASEAN opportunities:

The video speaks for itself. ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,is already a free trade area and will become a common economic community in 2015. The region’s need of infrastructure is tremendous and you will find opportunities in aviation, power, water, railroads, other infrastructure businesses as well as oil and gas. So many, in fact, that General Electric now considers infrastructure to be their second-fastest growing category.

GE more than doubled it's orders in ASEAN the last few years.

GE more than doubled it’s orders in ASEAN the last few years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have cooperated with several secretary-generals of the ASEAN Secretariat and have only positive experiences with the organisation. Their unity actually convinced China to come to the negotiating table to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Are you already doing business with Southeast Asia? If so, with what countries? Or are you contemplating exports to the region? Do you agree with Stuart Dean about the opportunities in the area? Are you interested in seizing them? What positive experiences do you have of doing business in the region? Any pitfalls you would advise businesses to be aware of? 

Video: McKinsey & Company

Do your customers recommend you?

September 21st, 2014

If not, what psychological strategies would make them share their positive experiences with others? Listen to suggestions from Christian Wheeler, professor of marketing at Stanford:

Word of mouth is the best advertising we can get. So getting your customers to advocate for your business is fundamental. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything but applying the psychological strategies outlined by professor Wheeler might still be a good idea.

Have personally found that another way of making customers really happy is to follow in Apple’s footsteps and call customers to make sure they are really happy and content. Discontent clients are not likely to recommend you. On the contrary.

After watching the video you may have found some answers?

After watching the video you may have some new strategies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do your customers recommend you? If so, have you any idea why? If not, why don’t they? Have you ever tried the psychological strategies outlined in the video? If so, what results did you get? Do you agree that word of mouth is the best advertising  a business can get? If not, what in your opinion is better?

Video: Stanford Graduate School of Business

How do you network on social media?

September 14th, 2014

Do you ask strangers to recommend you? Get you a job? Send you money? If you are, your online networking  is bound to be a failure. But still an abundance of members of social media behave like that. Cannot understand why they are trying to get people to do what they would not do?

Never, ever forget that networking is not all about you and what you want.

Never, ever, forget that networking is not all about you and what you want.

Don’t they understand that that’s not what networking is all about? Simply cannot understand why so many people are trying to jump the gun like that? They only annoy people and make sure their new connections don’t want to have anything to do with them again. Even remove them as connections.

Why do people ruin their reputation?

Don’t know how many times I have started a discussion on Linkedin only for members of the group to comment by pitching for business, even leaving their contact details. One man actually posted his CV as a comment in a discussion on branding for success. Would have understood if it was a discussion about jobs, but branding? On top of it he was nothing to write home about. He desperately needed branding, but obviously didn’t realize that.

Don’t ask for a job

Recently got a message on Linkedin from a man saying I could get him a job in marketing and demanding I did so. Just removed him from my connection and marked his message as spam. Have even written at the bottom of my Linkedin profile that I am not in recruitment and cannot get anyone a job. But that doesn’t seem to stop all individuals.

Another bad side effect is that once you accept their invitation to connect they start spamming you with newsletters and all kinds of other un-solicited offers. Never ever sent newsletters to people who have not asked you to do so. If you do, your mail will be sent to the junk folder and if enough people do so your email address will be classified as junk.

Behave like you do in real life

Have had considerable success in networking in real life. Leaders all over the world have agreed to do what I wanted them to do – sometimes even on the spot. But if I had demanded something I would have failed.

Another important aspect is to not send the standard invitation to connect i.e. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Make it personal and explain why you want to connect. Have started clicking ignore on most “I’d like to add..” invitations I get for the simple reason that many of them are spammers.

Build long term relationships

Successful networking is in most cases about building up a long term relationship. If you are not prepared to do so, don’t network. One lawyer who sent me an invite to connect immediately asked me to recommend him to my connections. When I told him that wasn’t possible since I don’t know him he got upset and said connecting on Linkedin was all about getting more business. Not only are people like that annoying, how can they respect someone who actually recommend them when they haven’t even met? Only a person with no judgement whatsoever would be stupid enough to recommend a stranger. Am sure such people actually laugh when strangers recommend them.

Want to lose credibility – recommend strangers!

If you recommend, or endorse, strangers online you will lose credibility, people will lose respect for you and I actually believe your business friends will start avoiding you since you will be not be regarded as a serious person.

It works two ways

To try and network swiftly is in most cases impossible and actually gives networking a bad name, which is a shame. How you connect will have a huge impact on building a relationship. But too many people are so much in a hurry they forget to take the other person into account. Pity, because they really shoot themselves in the foot by looking after “number one” the way they do.

But then again, some people really go too far when it comes to building up relationships with people they connect with online. Am really pleased about how many people want to connect with me because of my international blog you are now readding. But far too many start writing long daily e-mails to me and expect the same from me in return, which unfortunately is simply impossible since it would be a full time job. Again, all they think about is what they want without even wondering how many people have the time to exchange e-mails like that with strangers. Pity because it means the wonderful success of my blog has a negative side to it that wouldn’t exist if people understood how to network.

Don’t push

You can get fantastic results from networking if you have patience to do it properly. In real life you agree with the person you approach at an event that you will contact him/her. You contact them, they remember you and decide if it’s in their interest you to cooperate with you. If you try to push them you will fail. So why should networking online be any different?

As far as I’m concerned networking online is building up long term online relationships with interesting people. The more the merrier and discussing with people from every corner of the world is not only fascinating but you also learn a lot. And that’s what life, and networking, is all about. Breathing down people’s necks to get a job or more business is a nuisance that simply doesn’t work.

People observe you online and in the future some of your connections may deliver jackpot. Much more than you ever bargained for. But not if you try to make them do all kinds of things for you before they have even made up their mind about you, much less decided you are worth while. Be professional, show respect and don’t ask others to do what you would not do for them and networking online may become a very positive experience for you. And never, ever, forget that networking is not all about you and what you want.

(Photo: Blaine Stiger, Photoxpress)

Are grades being inflated?

September 7th, 2014

Do universities care too much about what students and parents want and give students better grades than they deserve? The Economist takes a quick look at how it works at Ivy League universities:

The video speaks for itself. We have the same phenomena going on in Europe. Even at high schools. Isn’t it better to give students the grades they have earned? Is there a danger that education will lose impact and other qualities becoming more important for succeeding in business? Anna Tavis, head of talent and development at Brown Brothers Harriman is of that opinion.

The best students resent the system that clearly doesn't favour them.

The best students are not happy with the system that works against them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you believe that grades are being inflated to please everyone? Should the best students be disappointed because their grades don’t show how they stand out? Or are students actually getting smarter? So much so that the average grade at Harvard is an A? Do you believe this development is positive for society? Or is it just a way of making student select a university where they will get high grades? What impact will it have on employers? Will it lessen the importance of grades? 

Video: The Economist

 

Social media – influence talks!

August 31st, 2014

Have you thought about the fact that the quality of the content you post on social media is branding you? You actually need to be a bit like a skilled politician and convey your thoughts and ideas in ways that have an impact.

Maybe it’s time to decide what you are trying to achieve on Twitter and other social media networks? How are you going to influence others if you don't have a strategy?

Maybe it’s time to decide what you are trying to achieve on Twitter and other social media networks? How are you going to influence others if you don’t have a strategy?

What do you want out of social media?

Maybe it’s time to look at what you are trying to achieve on Linkedin and other social media networks? If not, the likelihood of anything beneficial happening is slim. How are you going to influence others in order to achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are?

And influence that’s what social media is all about. If nothing else influence to create a good impression of yourself and your company.

The originality syndrome

Google’s Algorithm rewards originality. Am really pleased about that because I refuse to write for search engines. It ruins your writing to constantly have to think about using the right key words and writing a headline the search engines would love.

Originality is also what counts on social media networks if you would like to have influence. Business professionals are changing how they cooperate because of online communities. They want to be associated with people with a mind of their own. And that doesn’t mean people who criticize for the sake of criticising. Or complicate an issue so much it’s difficult to understand what they are trying to say. Or worse, prove themselves at the expense of others.

Thought leadership is the name of the game

Are you up to thought leadership i.e. ideas that merit attention? Because that’s needed if you would like to be recognized as a thought leader. Needless to say that signifies that you know what you are doing, say on Linkedin, and what the people you are trying to influence are interested in getting from you.

Are you in the driving seat?

An abundance of information is coming at us online. And your ability to act and get others to respond is critical in this new economy. Nor least since professional networks facilitate interactions by enabling us to cooperate no matter where in the world we are. That’s the currency on social media.

Do you have influence?

How many people request to connect with you on say, Linkedin, on a weekly basis? Do people interact with you in discussions you start? Are your posts being syndicated? Do people share your posts with their networks? Are you getting positive feedback from other members of social media networks? Are you being criticized? The latter you unfortunately can’t avoid unless what you have to say is of no relevance whatsoever.

There are many ways of determining how much influence you have. However, unless you honestly look at those issues you will just be drifting along and not contribute the quality that makes you a thought leader. Maybe your actions are even branding you the wrong way?

Search engines record everything and forget nothing

Do you realize that more and more companies are beginning to use new software that show exactly what a person has been doing on social media? So people leaving nasty comments or parroting should be careful. Search engines record everything and forget nothing. Those who insult others and pretend they are someone they are not will pay a heavy price.

Do you know what you are trying to accomplish on social media? If so, what are you trying to achieve? If you are not sure, maybe it’s better to keep a low profile until you have a strategy? Then when you have made up your mind, you can start having an impact and build up the influence you want, and need, to reach your goals.

Are you a global asset?

August 24th, 2014

Global experience is more important than education when it comes to succeeding in business, according to Anna Tavis, head of talent and development at Brown Brothers Harriman. If she is right, not only will the way global businesses are run change drastically, a different kind of people will be in charge. Devote 4 minutes to watching her explain her ideas to Harvard:

According to Anna Tavis, the requirements of today’s global market place has changed and the traditional success formula of education will no longer open up opportunities. It’s taken for granted that you are educated. But what else do you  have to offer?

Globalisation of talent

People looking for talent for global organisations are on the lookout for a different profile than in the past, she says and adds that they now recruit all over the world as opposed to only in the country their head office is located in. The same holds true for finding the next generation of leaders.

Will headhunters looking for global assets find you?

Will headhunters looking for global assets find you?

Head offices a thing of the past?

Speaking the local language and thoroughly understanding the culture of the market you work with is essential, if you wish to succeed in business around the world. And because of time differences the next generation of leaders will be spread around the world, as opposed to all working out of the head office.

This will initially put a lot of pressure on people in the head office. But there is no longer a need to have the entire top management in one location. We can work from anywhere in the world and provide the same kind of service, expertise and knowledge, with the added benefit of understanding the culture we work in, speak the language and  hence be better able to negotiate and succeed in business.

What do you think? Is she right that education is taken for granted and it’s your global experience that counts nowadays? Or do you believe it’s possible to understand how people on the other side of the world think, what drives and motivates them through education only? To what extent can you understand a culture you haven’t integrated in? Will having one head office gradually become a thing of the past? Is talent globalised? Will top management be spread around the world instead of in a head office? Are you better able to succeed in a country where you understand the culture? Or maybe you disagree with her and believe that the traditional reciepe for success i.e. education still holds? Or do you agree with her ideas and, if you are not already a global asset, will strive to become one?

Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube

Be yourself – instead of – parroting

August 17th, 2014

Can’t help wondering why so many people on social media are just parroting others? Copying and pasting. And what’s worse that seems to account for part of what’s called creativity today.

A copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will turn you into Marilyn Monroe. So be yourself.

What happened to creativity?

Have a section of humanity stopped being creative? Or is it just that too many people are lazy and hence just copy others? Don’t they realize that they will not impress the people they are trying to impress? Only ignorant people will buy what the parrots are doing. If you don’t have anything new to contribute, to say a discussion, don’t just re-write what someone else has already said. Coping and pasting from say, Harvard Business Review to make you look intellectual is not a great idea either. What’s wrong with saying that you agree or disagree?

Original ideas

If imitating others were just a social media phenomena it would be one thing. But unfortunately you have an abundance of people selling services online that haven’t got any ideas of their own. They just copy what others have done and charge for doing so. And we should not forget the copy and paste that’s becoming a problem in academia. A prominent European policician was caught having copied and pasted into his thesis.

But a copy is never as good as the original. No parroting in the world will change that. It may work short term but long term it will work against you. The European politician is a good example. He had to step down. Doubt that his future is as bright as it would have been if he hadn’t copied and pasted. Am sure he regrets what he did. But sincerely he should have thought through what he was doing before cheateing. Can’t help wondering if parrots, like him, have really stopped thinking for themselves?

One article I wrote was copied and pasted by a US woman who calls herself an expert on corporate communications. She has her own company and can be hired as a consultant. Sad that she has to steal content for her web site isn’t it?

Hard sell on social media

The amount of parroting on social media most likely boils down to people believing they have to sell themselves aggressively online. Can understand that to some degree. But don’t they understand that it’s obvious to others what they are doing? Am active on social media and almost every day someone re-writes what someone has already written to make it appear to be their new idea. One interesting phenomena are the people who are experts on all issues relating to all countries in the world, regardless of the fact that they have never even visited the countries in question. But copying and pasting they certainly know how to do. Nobody, including myself, knows everything so what’s the point in pretending you do? People only lose respect for you.

Current buzz words leader, expert, entrepreneurial & innovative

The fact that many people believe they have to portray themselves in what they consider to be the right way is a major reason for all the parroting. Wouldn’t it be much better to have an honest look at yourself and decide what your strengths are? If you are not say, innovative, describing yourself so will work against you since you will be found out. Read in The New York Times that 70% of high school graduates in the US believe they have more than average leadership skills. Only 2% considered themselves below average. Truly wish their assessments were correct, but unfortunately 70% of them are not leaders and will never be leading anything. If this applied to the United States only, i.e. approximately 5% of the world’s population, it wouldn’t be too bad. But unfortunately it applies to the remaining 95% of mankind as well.

Use social media to portray the real you

What’s wrong with having talents that are currently not in fashion? Whatever talents you have you can create a lucrative niche for yourself. Why does everyone feel they have to portray themselves as business tycoons? Looking at profiles on social media today you easily get the impression that the majority of people in this world are on par with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. It’s normal for children to imitate, but grown ups really should give up that habit.

Social media is a wonderful thing and I have met many fantastic people online, mainly thanks to my blog and Linkedin. If the parrots were just themselves and stopped pretending to be what they are not they would also start reaping positive benefits of social media. To start with they would gain respect. We are all unique and can contribute to society in different ways. That’s the beauty of humanity. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all parroting each other.

Photo: mseckington – Flickr

Crowdsourcing – the way of the future?

August 10th, 2014

Will R&D departments be replaced by crowdsourcing? Or at least partly? A problem solved is a problem halved, the old saying goes. But what happens when you share a problem with an abundance of people instead of just a few colleagues?

Somewhere out there is the person who can find the missing piece for you. Do you dare to use crowdsourcing to find that expert?

Research and development is usually regarded as top secret and fiercely guarded against prying eyes. However that seems to be changing a bit due to the increased use of crowdsourcing, which allows you to tap into a much wider pool of knowledge and specialist skills.

Reach out to experts you don’t know

The idea behind crowdsourcing is to harvest both internal and external knowledge to solve problems by reaching out to capable people outside your company and regular network. And more and more companies post challenges on web sites and offer a reward to anyone who can solve it.

Get some of the brainiest people in the world competing to solve your problem

A good exampel of such a web site is InnoCentive. It has a network of about 200,000 of the brainiest people in the world that will be able to look at your problem from an objective point of view. The rewards are substantial and to get $50,000 for solving a problem is normal.

A tool for industrial espionage?

Needless to say there are voices are raised against crowdsourcing in particular when it comes to security and the dangers of industrial espionage. InnoCentive believes it has solved that by being responsible for the IP process by making both the source that posts the problem and the sources that solve them anonymous to start with.

Money saver as well as new job market

Crowdsourcing is becoming increasingly popular and new sites are appearing on a continuous basis which seem to indicate that companies are increasingly regarding it as an efficient way of handling innovation. R&D is extremely expensive and by out sourcing, at least part of it, to freelancing scientists not only saves a lot of money but also give companies access to some of the best brains in the world. It’s also interesting to note that it is creating a new job market for the intelligentsia of the world where they can pick and chose what they want to work with.

Goldcorp struck gold

One good example is that of the Canadian mining company Goldcorp, which was struggling financially and unable to find gold on its land in northern Ontario.

When a new chief executive arrived he put all its geological data online, asked for help on where the gold was located and put up $500,000 in prize money for accurate suggestions.

“They got submissions from people all over the world, including people using 3D computer modelling techniques. They found $3bn worth of gold on the property and Goldcorp became one of Canada’s largest mining companies.”

Secrecy versus solutions

Where would Goldcorp be today if secrecy had been more important to them than solving the problem? Crowdsourcing actually enables small and medium sized companies, as well as individuals for that matter, to have an R&D department comprising some of the best brains in the world. With worms like Stuxnet around is it actually possible to keep anything secret nowadays? Unless of course you don’t in any way involve computers in R&D (you don’t even have to post it online for Stuxnet to get access to it).

Useful tool for governments?

And governments are starting to use it as well. It can be particularly useful when there are difficult decisions to be made, such as where the axe must fall in terms of cutting public spending. Critics on the other hand, say it has been proved that crowd sourcing for governments gets out of hand and becomes a tool for lobbyists.

Crowdsourcing in your personal life

Are you using crowdsourcing to solve your own problems? You can actually do so even as a private person. Networks such as Globe Forum allows you to post your problems to their global pool of networks and instantly have a team of experts collaborating to solve your challenge.

What are your feelings about crowdsourcing? Do you believe it’s the way of the future? Or is safety more important to you than a solution? Will crowdsourcing enable small and medium sized companies to better compete with the giants? Do you already use, or plan to use, crowdsourcing?

Photo: PhotoXpress Alexandr Shebanov

How many people live in shantytowns?

August 3rd, 2014

Even in the West, inequality and poverty are on the rise. Poverty has, in fact, reached the levels of 1933. Devote 4 minutes to watching Thomas Pogge, professor of Yale University, talking about the current international system that allows a large part of the world’s population to live in abject poverty:  

The great recession pushed millions of people into poverty, or worse, extreme poverty. Add to that the fact that people all over the world are moving into urban areas to seek their fortune and we have a danger of slums increasing tremendously. 

How do we keep them safe in urban areas?

There hence is a huge need to reduce vulnerability in urban settings. Half the world’s people now live in cities, a share that will rise to 70 percent by 2050.  

So what are we going to do to give more people in the world a decent life? If we don’t do anything the amount of people living in shantytowns will rise, everywhere. Or call them homeless, if you wish. 

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz believes we are paying a high prize for inequality

Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz believes we are paying a high prize for inequality

Extreme poverty leads to crime – or worse

Countries with a lot of poverty easily gets trapped in crime or worse, become failed states. And I don’t need to tell you how easily failed states can follow in the steps of Afghanistan and Somalia, do I? Iraq and Syria are in the pipeline. So it’s in the interest of all of us to start eradicating poverty in the world. 

And let’s not forget poverty in the developed world

Frankly find it unbelievable that child poverty is on the increase even in a country like Sweden. And so is poverty in all age groups, for that matter. And the same applies to Europe as a whole and the United States Isn’t it, like Thomas Pogge put it, a crime against humanity? 

Do we really want a world where poverty is increasing and the middle classes are in decline? Just look at what has happened the last few decades in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Russia.

Negative for much of the world’s population

One hundred faculty members at University of Chicago wrote a letter of protest when university president Robert ZImmer announced the creation of a $200m Milton Friedman Institute stating that “The effects of the neoliberal global order … strongly buttressed by the Chicago School of Economics, have by no means been unequivocally positive. Many would argue that they have been negative for much of the world’s population.” Since the time when Reagan was president the Chicago boys have dominated not only Washington but the world, not least through the IMF. So isn’t it time to stop implementing policies that favour multinational companies at the expense of the majority of people?

Do you agree with Pogge that many of the people who support the current international system are like passive Germans during the Nazi era? Do we really want the world’s middle classes and poor to be worse off? Is it really a good idea to have more people across the globe living in shantytowns? Or being homeless? What’s your opinion? Is it time to put market fundamentalism aside and start stimulating economies in order to grow again and give more people a decent life? Or are you of the opinion that Friedman’s version of corporate capitalism is the way forward?

(Video: carnegiecouncil – You Tube, Picture: GovernmentZA )

Are successful leaders lucky?

July 27th, 2014

The Warren Buffetts and Bill Gates of this world are often described as just lucky. But is that really the secret behind their success?Watch Morten Hansen, management professor at UC Berkeley and Insead, describe the charachteristics of leaders that make their organisations thrive in times of chaos and uncertainty:

Hansen studied high performing leaders and what he found goes against what we commonly believe about successful leadership.

Bold & visionary leaders a thing of the past?

That’s the case according to Hansen. He brings up people like Bill Gates as prime examples of great leaders. Apparently Gates had no vision at all, in fact he was often wrong in his predictions.

Outstanding leaders instead create a future for their empirical trials. If the trials work out according to plan, they invest in the new idea. In other words, leadership is not about big bets but safe bets. Buffett is a prime example of such a leader which has led to an abundance of investors making fun of him and saying he had lost it.

We all have good & bad luck

Good and bad events happen to all people and in all organisations. They are out of your control and not expected. Good or bad luck is another way of describing it.

When comparing companies that are successful with companies that are not, Hansen’s study found that they had more or less the same amount of good and bad luck happening to them. So he concluded that success had nothing to do with luck.

Did luck make Warren Buffett a billionaire?

Did luck really make Warren Buffett a billionaire?

If not luck, then what?

What the study found was that the well performing leaders and companies had a higher return on the good luck they got because they seized the moment.

So how do you get higher return?

Successful leaders are prepared for bad luck, i.e. make sure that if worst comes to worst they know what to do.

They are prepared to seize the moment when good luck strikes. Bill Gates is a good example of that when he was still at Harvard but realised he couldn’t finish his studies because he had to seize the moment when it came to personal computers.

And the third point is to execute brilliantly when you have good luck. That’s how you get a higher return on luck.

Do you agree with Morten Hansen that luck has nothing to do with success? Are we great by choice? Should we, like Bill Gates, have nightmare memos to be prepared for the worst that can happen? Are you one hundred percent committed and focused on succeeding with what you are doing? Are you creative in an empirical way i.e. don’t make one big investment into a new area but spend years trying out a new concept and only when it shows that it’s a great idea do you take the risk of moving into that area. Do you seize the moment when good luck strikes? If so, according to Morten Hanson you are a great leader and not an average one.

Video: HarvardBusiness – You Tube – Photo: Aaron Friedman