Why U.S. Businesses Urgently Need To Develop Global Leadership Skills

5 Critical Areas to Begin Focusing on Now

Globalization has been the buzzword of the decade, and yet, many U.S. business managers are still unaware of the skill sets they urgently need to compete in a global market, says business consultant Kathleen Brush.
“The most attractive business opportunities in this century will be outside the United States, but identifying the best bets and tapping into them requires new and augmented skills,” says Brush, a 25-year veteran of international business and author of “The Power of One: You’re the Boss,” (www.kathleenbrush.com).
There are 32 developed countries with 1 billion potential customers, and 162 developing nations with 6 billion people, many heading into the middle class for the first time, with all the attendant needs and desires, Brush says.
The IMF has forecast $27.3 trillion in economic growth between 2011 and 2016. Eighty-seven percent will occur outside the United States, most of it in developing countries. The forecasted growth for developing China, India, Africa, and Latin America is two to four times that of the United States and the European Union.
“In 2013 and moving forward, U.S. business leaders will not come out on top without developing new skills to navigate the global opportunities,” Brush says. “Managers need to increase their understanding of how other countries operate.”
Brush offers five areas of critical importance to American business leaders:
• How to develop strategies that can’t lose. Being able to evaluate opportunities and threats around the world has to be a fundamental skill and one that is exercised regularly. This is because political, economic, and social issues are different and they change. How different are they? How about new regulations that appear without notice; judicial systems that do not administer justice; economic systems that can’t support the needs of operations, workers, or goods; and social cultural systems that condone corruption.
• Managing and motivating employees from different backgrounds. There is a good chance that Employee A from Country A won’t be motivated by the same things as Employee B from Country B. In part, this can be cultural, for example, pitting employee against employee may inspire the competitive spirit in Americans,but contests for individual supremacy can be culturally offensive for many others. Or, it may be regulatory. In the United States, it’s relatively simple to terminate an underperforming employee. In many countries, it will cost a fortune and even require external approvals.
• Traditional decisions on the 4Ps are being turned on their head. American managers have always preferred to build innovative/different products overproducts that are the lowest cost. But, this option will often be unavailable in the newest attractive markets. Besides competing on cost, there is the challenge of getting paid without credit. How do you promote products to people who read at a basic level, or in countries where there are many official languages? How can products be delivered on time when roads are primitive and airports inadequate?
• Reading financial statements. What if financial data is unreliable due to cultural inclinations, political machinations, or manual reporting systems? Gone are the days of blindly valuing what comes in black and white.
• A strong moral compass. Operating within unfamiliar, unpredictable places can make it challenging to distinguish the gold mines from the land mines. Some cultures will see bribery, the concealment of data, and quality shortcuts as business as usual. Today’s leaders know that a strong moral compass is the only reliable navigator of behaviors and decisions.
About Kathleen Brush
Kathleen Brush has more than two decades of experience as a senior executive with global business responsibilities. She has a Ph.D. in management and international studies. Brush has been teaching, writing and consulting on international business and leadership for companies of all sizes, including those that are public, private, foreign and domestic. 


Great Leaders Motivate With Communication

Great leaders give their people an overview of what the company is trying to achieve and then they work with each person to establish individual goals that will meet or exceed those company objectives.

Goals should have a good chance of being achievable while still challenging the individual to push themselves beyond their existing comfort zone.  Each goal must be relevant to the main objective of the organisation and relevant to the overall success of the company.

Work with your people to help them determine the goals that would be most appropriate for their development and growth and work with them to develop the appropriate action steps to achieve these goals and you will see a noticeable improvement in their performance.

Communicate and tell your people what is happening, people are hungry for information and from my experience can be trusted with company details. Unfortunately, too many corporations and their middle managers feel that people should only be given information that is relevant to their specific job.

Communication must be clear and concise, employees want to know where they stand and want to do a good job. They want to know how, you, as their leader, view their performance. That's why it is critical that you give them direction and feedback on a regular basis.

Experience has taught me that people will work harder for someone who praises them and recognises the effort they put into their work.  Acknowledge their energy and performance, their effort and commitment, how hard they worked and how involved they were with it.

Your people have a lot of knowledge and information and can often contribute valuable suggestions to improve the business. If you really want to create a team of highly motivated people take the time to listen to their comments and ideas.

This last point is the most important. If you want a highly motivated team, then you must lead by setting the example. You must demonstrate enthusiasm, energy, team cooperation, honesty, integrity and commitment.

Set and communicate high standards, provide positive reinforcement when your people perform and involve them. You will soon see a motivated team that will do almost anything to help you succeed.


Business Workplace Improvements

Changing the workplace environment can lead to a change in employee attitude and productivity. There are numerous practical tips that can be incorporated in order to overcome workplace ruts, among them:

·        Mentoring and Professional Development
Workplace mentoring, professional development opportunities and a steady influx of fresh perspectives can help shift stalled teams. Monthly lunch-and-learn sessions with inspirational guest speakers can build team cohesion. Employees need to feel comfortable voicing concerns and making suggestions.

·        Initiate an Incentive Plan
When effective teams are challenged they will work hard to meet a goal, especially if there is an incentive at the end. Incentives can build team dynamics and contribute to employee satisfaction. They can include a team lunch, a monetary bonus, coupons or the chance to participate in additional training.

·        Be Flexible
Flexible work schedules can allow employees to feel more at ease as they juggle the responsibilities of work and home. When employees feel trusted to manage their time and to take responsibility for their role in a team’s progress, then a manager has created a win-win situation.
·        Make Time to Listen
Not all employees communicate in the same way. Some have great ideas you will never hear because they won’t speak up in a group meeting. Instead of expecting employees to conform to one way of communicating with you, learn different ways of listening and talking with your team. That can include more one-on-one or smaller group meetings, follow-up email questions and “drop-in” times where you are available to speak in an informal setting.

·        Improve the Environment
Sprucing up an outdated break room, upgrading lighting or adding a few office amenities can go a long way toward showing employees they are valued. If the budget is tight, funnel some of the savings from an office recycling program or energy efficiency project toward making the workplace more comfortable for everyone.

·        Express Gratitude
In today’s hectic workplaces, it is easy to get so caught up on behind-the-scenes management tasks that you may end up being perceived as dismissive or aloof. Taking time to thank employees for a job well done helps build long-lasting rapport. Be specific in your compliment and deliver it in person when possible. Also, be sure to acknowledge the most consistent employees who are often neglected because they require little attention. You should cultivate their loyalty and possibly provide ways to allow them extra opportunities to grow, such as mentoring.

Taking these and other steps to improve the workplace environment will positively change employee attitude within the workplace, promoting more productive and creative work.

This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson who contributes on Leadership and Management for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.


Substantially Increase Your Business Success

For most businesses the biggest problem that they experience is a lack of real success. And yet they could substantially increase their business success if they would only realize that it is well within their reach by applying these five simple rules.

Determine what is working well in the business and repeat it.
Determine what is not working well and immediately eliminate it.
Instill a mentality into the workforce of new ideas and innovation.
Watch closely what the competition is doing and copy their successful initiatives.
Ask your customers to sample many more of your best selling products and services.

Collectively these five rules will move your business to a new level, one that is progressive and full of growth potential, all of which will substantially increase your business success.


Are You Bringing on the Best Worker or the Best Personality?

In an ideal world, employers would get the employee who is both a great worker and exhibits a fantastic personality. Remember, I said the ideal world.

Truth be told, many employers end up getting outstanding workers who have the personalities of a door mat or workers whose personality lights the room on fire, yet they can’t think their way out of a paper bag. In a day and age where employers use internal human resources, outside staffing agencies and even social media sites to get a better idea of who they may be interviewing and ultimately hiring, just what exactly should companies be looking for when adding to their payroll ranks?

Know the Cost of Hiring Someone?

Keep in mind, the average expense of hiring and orientation for a non-exempt employee was reported a decade ago to be approximately $1,100 (Saratoga Institute - 1999 Human Resource Financial Report). The average cost of hiring and orientation for an exempt employee came in at around $9,000 (Saratoga Institute). While the cost of replacement figures will differ from company to company, take note that today’s tight economy makes hiring the right people all the more critical.

I have always been of the belief that while finding a strong worker with a good personality is the ideal catch, there are many more cases where you will end up with one or the other.

When you hire someone who is more than qualified for the job yet they tend to keep to themselves, you typically end up with:

* A worker, who will give you 100 percent on the job, yet may shy away from after-hours activities involving the company. They also may keep to themselves during the day and not engage in a lot of one-on-one conversation with others;

* A worker, who is not going to be one who needs much attention and/or micromanaging. This person knows what is expected of them and will come to work regularly with the attitude of accomplishing the goals and tasks set for them.

When you hire someone who is mildly or extremely personable yet they may not entirely focus on their jobs, you typically end up with:

* A worker, who will in most instances, be very outgoing and take part in different office functions. They may end up being the life of the party in the office, so one may wonder if they’re not spending too much time talking and not enough time concentrating on their jobs;

* A worker, who oftentimes takes it upon themselves to bring others into the fold as far as office happenings both during and after the work day. This person can sometimes have too much placed on their shoulders as far as helping to bring the team together outside of work or for in-house functions. Remember, you did not hire them to be a party coordinator in most cases.

One of the oftentimes overlooked factors when hiring people is where and how they will fit into your corporate structure.

If you’re hiring someone for your sales team, you want an individual who is outgoing and can make a connection with both current and potential clients. Someone who is more to themselves is not in most cases going to be a good fit. Conversely, the people you hire for in-house work that will not have direct contact with customers and/or upper management do not necessarily need to be bubbly and outgoing.

Another factor to keep in mind when hiring is where the individual will be placed.

Some new-hires are great fits for your company individually, but then they find themselves lost and unhappy when you match them with a manager who is of the complete opposite personality. Conversely, you may hire someone who is more than qualified, yet lacks the ‘people skills’ to be entirely productive. Yet, when you match them up with a stellar manager, you can see them emerge from their shells.

As you can see, there are a myriad of things to consider during the hiring process.

Both talent and personality are just two of the things to consider when the interview process begins.

Dave Thomas writes for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.


Are You Using Social Media in Your Small Business Aspirations?

With 2012 here, many small business leaders are looking to get the New Year off to a positive start, removing any negative memories of the past 12 months.

For those small business heads who have not implemented productive social media campaigns into their plans over the last 12 months, now is the perfect time to plow forward with such efforts.

One of the great things with deploying a social media strategy for your small business is that it essentially doesn’t cost much money, along with opening you up to a new realm of customers.

Some Small Business Leaders Missing the Boat on Social Media

That being said, many small business leaders have been slow to embrace all social media has to offer, meaning the competition is oftentimes getting a leg up. The bottom line is that one’s return on investment (ROI) can be greatly impacted, leaving them playing catch up to competing small businesses.

If you are a small business head and are still lagging behind when it comes to social media, recognize that a consumer or other business may be a potential lead.

When using social media in your small business plans, this allows you to instantly introduce yourself to potential customers. Not only that, you can guide them to your company’s Web site, providing pertinent information that may lead them to start up a business relationship with you.

Most social media campaigns involve more time than money, so this can be especially attractive for those businesses working on a tighter budget, yet still need to spread their message and attain more leads.

What Are Our Social Media Options?

For a small business who has yet to fully embrace social media, what are some of the better SM outlets to assist one’s business in generating more customers?

Among the more notable options (these are not all of them):

* Facebook – As the leader of social media, Facebook and its approximate 750 million users provide a great resource for small businesses seeking to create more leads. Begin with forming a fan page for your small business. Be sure the page offers visitors’ pertinent information related to your business, is set up for back-and-forth conversations with other small businesses/consumers that follow it, provides linking/subscription information to a company newsletter, and is monitored regularly. One aspect where some small businesses come up short when putting together such a page is that they forget about it and only update it off and on. Doing so will turn off consumers and other small businesses coming to you for possible business;

* Twitter – While a budding rival of Facebook, Twitter differs in the sense that small business leaders can use this SM tool to provide both businesses and consumers interested in their product and/or services with valuable links to industry information. As an example, if your small business falls in the salon area, use a company-based Twitter page to share hair-related information with interested parties. By using Twitter hashtags, you can use keywords like hair, haircuts, hair coloring, hairstyles etc. to link up with others who would find your business useful, therefore bettering your opportunity to generate leads;

* LinkedIn – By interlinking both the professional and company profile, you offer individuals who locate your profile information regarding both you and your business. In generating leads through this social media option, make sure you effectively optimize your profile, become linked up with groups that are interested in your audience so that you can be involved in discussions, and lastly search for individuals at companies you want as potential clients.

Should you still be questioning the importance of social media and its ability to help in generating leads, think about the numbers from a study via Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey. The report notes that 51 percent of Facebook fans and 67 percent of Twitter followers claimed they were more likely to buy from the companies they “liked” on Facebook or “followed” on Twitter.

As all small business owners should know by now, it all comes down to being social.

Dave Thomas, who covers among other items starting a business, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.


The Secret of a Business Leader’s Success

Experience plays its part and there is always a good measure of luck involved when it comes to understanding what makes a business leader successful.

But there is in fact a deep embedded secret that greatly influences whether a business leader will find success.

That secret is not in the way that they work or indeed not even in what they do, it is a secret that dwells within them.

It is the capacity to believe that they can and will make a success of their business and that nothing will in any way stop them from doing it.

This self confidence and self determination is the secret that drives all of the successful business leaders to be even more successful.

Now you know the secret use it, believe in yourself and make it happen.


Filling Your Forward Order Book

The purpose of a forward order book in any business is to log everything that has been ordered but not yet bought by prospective customers. It will include any deals where contracts have been signed but have not yet reached completion, as well as reservations for specific items.

The forward order book will act as a good barometer of how a business is faring.

Now is the time to fill your forward order book for 2012 while your prospective customers are beginning to feel the spirit of the season of goodwill.

Share with your customers the future innovations which you intend to develop for your business in the coming year.

Inform them of next year's seasonal promotions and special deals in advance.

Show your customers how much you value them by offering them discounts now on future purchases.

By making an environment of customer inclusion in your ongoing business planning you will discover that your customers will greatly assist you in filling your forward order book and making the prospects for your business much more successful.

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