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King Canute Reproving His Courtiers, 1848, engraving (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Leadership Humility Is Defined in the East and in the West

Idea posted: July 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Two studies in Singapore reveal differences in the definition of leadership humility between Eastern and Western cultures. Attributes such as self-awareness and recognizing the strengths and achievements of followers were common and important to both cultures, the Singapore studies showed, however, a number of unique dimensions that are viewed as significantly humble in a culture where one’s place on the hierarchy is important. These unique humility dimensions included leading by example, empathy and approachability.

Idea #530
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Five gantry cranes, built at ZPMC, destined for Hamburg, on the vessel Zhen Hua 20, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Lesson from China: Growth Is Not Eternal So Be Prepared

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) was a high-flying builder of large-scale container cranes whose decisions — such as lifetime guarantees on all parts and ambitious diversification — reflected a belief that growth would last forever. It didn’t.

Idea #495
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Indian business and education leaders at 'Strings', 2012, an annual kite show by Worlds of Wonder in association with shOObh Welfare Society (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

From Charisma to Autonomy: How India’s Generations Rate Leadership Qualities

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

What do the different generations in India expect from their leaders? Charisma, being team-oriented, seeking participation and inclusion, and treating subordinates with humanity are particularly prized, according to a recent cross-generational survey. Of less importance are the old stand-bys of yesterday’s leaders: autonomy and a strict adherence to hierarchy.

Idea #490
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The commercial centre Xujiahui (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers Beware: Costs for China Rising

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: NUS Business School

An extensive survey reveals new cost challenges for China-based suppliers, although the country maintains the strengths that it made it the go-to supply source in the first place.

Idea #461
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The Mexican Stock Exchange (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Companies from Emerging Markets Are Putting the Heat on Multinationals

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

While multinational corporations typically establish their dominant competitive advantage thanks to their position in the industry and/or access to strategic resources, somehow firms from emerging markets who have neither of these advantages are beginning to dominate globally — or at least compete for domination — in their industries. The reason: while MNCs compete on position or possession, the emerging MNCs are competing on action. They have developed innovative business models, often as a direct result of conditions in their home markets, that give them the edge. 

Idea #427
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Three Product Innovation Strategies for Emerging Markets and How to Choose

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets such as India or China represent lucrative new markets but also present a set of challenges, including lower income customers, poor infrastructure and poor service availability. There are three fundamentally different types of product and service innovation that can serve these markets: cost, frugal and good-enough innovation. Understanding the differences can help companies choose the right emerging market product innovation strategy for them.

Idea #430
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Inclusive Leadership: Aligning the Different

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
Institutions: Mercer LLC

Globalization, advances in technology, and the impact of emerging markets have made the leadership of organizations increasingly complex. To address this complexity leaders need to embrace the ‘different’ and to become ‘inclusive’.  Inclusive leaders have the skill to engage with people with different backgrounds and outlooks, are willing to adapt personally, and are able to create a shared vision which brings diverse individuals to a collective focus on a coherent end-goal. Organizations should follow the advice from Apple and their strapline “Think Different.”

Idea #415
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Emerging Market Strategy: Creating Order out of Chaos

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

New and emerging markets present a wealth of opportunities but they also comprise highly complex business environments that can change rapidly. The key to success is understanding – understanding competitors and what they are up to; understanding consumers and what they want, now and into the future; and understanding the host governments of the countries you are targeting. It’s a complex process but recent research proposes a two-step approach to strategic thinking that can help make sense of these emerging economies.  

Idea #373
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Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1994, when finance minister. He subsequently became Prime Minister of India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Modernizing without Westernizing: Social Ties and Indian Business

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The modernization of India’s economy, begun in the early 1990s when Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, introduced a series of reforms, has not reversed centuries-old traditions. Personal affiliations and kinship ties, long the bedrock of Indian society, continue to exert a powerful influence in the financial sector. India’s economy has been liberalized — but not, necessarily, Westernized.

Idea #341
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Changing Attitudes to Business Ethics: Insights from South Africa

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The past 20 years or so have seen a marked change in attitudes towards ethics among South African business-school students. Recent MBA graduates have stronger opinions on what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’ business behaviour and are more likely to think in terms of moral absolutes. This has significant implications for business schools and educators — and for companies and employers.

Idea #319
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The Reception, by James Gillray, published 1792. Lord Macartney, the first envoy of Great Britain to China, meeting Emperor Qianlong  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

When Supply Chain Partners Move Up the Value Chain

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

The role of suppliers in global supply chains has been evolving from simply providing components to manufacturing entire products. Especially for suppliers in emerging economies, however, successfully moving up the value chain requires internal skills and capabilities as well as the willingness of the client to share not only technology but customer-facing capabilities as well. 

Idea #320
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Oilholics Anonymous Club. Allegory of the oil corruption

Reflective Leadership to Counter Corruption in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Corruption remains a major obstacle to doing business in rapidly developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. It destroys value, distorts markets and encourages executives to work in their own rather than shareholders’ and stakeholders’ interests. Solving the problem depends on a new approach from companies: ‘reflective leadership’.

Idea #307
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Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma, 2013. Courtesy of Brazilian Foreign Ministry

The 'Brazilian Way': The Future for Africa?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Recent years have seen increased investment and activity in Africa from newly industrialised countries. While China leads the emerging-power pack in terms of trade and investment, Brazil could be the one to watch. A policy of development co-operation, begun in the early 2000s, means that the future of the South American country and the future of countries in Africa are closely linked.

Idea #300
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Overload' by George Pemba, 1989, courtesy Ann Bryant Art Gallery, RSA, www.annbryant.co.za (Source: Wikipaintings)

Collectivism and Consumers at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ in South Africa

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Despite their poverty and limited purchasing power, people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ in South Africa increasingly attract the attention of marketers. At more than one third of South Africa’s population, they represent a significant, or potentially significant, market for companies. But they will not be ‘reached’ by conventional approaches — or by applying the individualistic perspective of the developed world. At the bottom of the pyramid in South Africa, communities are different — and collectivism still counts. 

Idea #290
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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, Caspar David Friedrich, 1818, Kunsthalle, Hamburg

Body Language: Power Poses That Get Lost in Translation

Idea posted: December 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Expansive postures and gestures — leaning forward, standing tall with arms outstretched, etc — are considered part of the ‘body language’ of power. They make the ‘actor’ feel more positive and focused and they communicate confidence and authority to the observer. But not all of them ‘travel well’ or cross cultural boundaries. Recent research suggests leaders should stop and think before striking a ‘powerful pose’.

Idea #278
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Blue Ballet, by South African artist Glen Josselsohn, 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and External ‘Clusters’ in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Regional clusters, combining companies and research institutes and government agencies, have long been considered important for the development of new businesses and new ideas, particularly in highly competitive and turbulent environments such as emerging economies. But they need to be complemented by external networks. A recent study underlines the link between successful innovation and partnerships outside ‘home territories’.

Idea #263
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Taxcaltecans meets Hernan Cortez. Mural created by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin 1956-2000. Palacio de Gobierno, Tlaxcala City (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Managerial Derailment in Latin America

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Why do some managers ‘derail’ and how do these factors differ in various regions of the world? In the research behind this Idea, managers in Latin America and the U.S were compared to analyse managerial derailment. The Idea offers suggestions as to what Latin American organizations can do to avoid this and effectively develop their leaders to an international level.

Idea #245
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Madhubani, or Mithila, painting from Northern India (Source: mithilapaintingtraining.blogspot.co.uk)

Family Business in India: Meeting 21st Century Challenges

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

With 75% of the Indian workforce employed by a family-owned business, how they are run and what challenges they face will be of interest both to organizations in the country and to those interested in doing business there. In this Idea, some of the key features of India’s family-owned businesses are looked into, and some advice is offered to such firms for their long-term success.

Idea #235
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  The Roman Forum, the commercial, cultural, and political centre of the Republic (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Centralized or Decentralized Decision Rights in Multinationals

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Certain company and country factors determine whether decisions should be centralized at parent company headquarters or decentralized to the foreign subsidiary. Ignoring those factors will hurt parent and subsidiary financial performance. And fixing the inappropriate decision-making structure could prove costly.

Idea #237
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Klaus Kinski in Fitzcarraldo,1982, written and directed by Werner Herzog, winner or the Best Director award at the 1982 Cannes film festival

Working Abroad: The Value of Experience

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Intuitively, experience reduces the chance of failure. An experienced manager will make fewer mistakes than the inexperienced manager. The same logic can be applied to international business activity: companies experienced in foreign markets are going to fail less frequently than companies without foreign experience.

New research shows, however, that this assumption is too simple. Previous experience in a foreign market helps if the company returns to that market. It also helps if the company ventures into a different foreign market, but only, the research shows, as long as the

Idea #205
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Solar-powered Camel Fridge System, Nomadic Communities Trust (Source: Wikimedia)

Reverse Innovation: Ideas from Emerging Countries

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Emerging markets are usually coveted for the potential customers they represent — perhaps hundreds of millions of new consumers who are looking (or will be looking in the near future) for products to buy.  Most companies, however, develop products for developed markets first and then adapt them to the emerging markets. Research conducted by two professors from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business reveals a new strategy that reverses the traditional flow of innovation. This new strategy calls for developing products that are adopted first in emerging markets and then adapted for

Idea #127
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The Chinese Business Leaders of the Year pose for a group photo, Horasis Global China Business Meeting, 2011 (Source: Wikimedia)

Developing Business Leaders in China

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A critical way of developing more effective leaders for China-based companies is through lessons based on events they experience. By paying attention to which events or on-the-job experiences are the most developmental, Chinese companies can help their leaders grow and maintain a broader talent pool.

Idea #054
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3:10 to Yuma, is a 2007 production directed by James Mangold produced by Cathy Konrad, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, distributed by Lionsgate Films and Columbia Pictures

Leadership: Beyond the Western Model

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Understanding and relying on traditional Western models of leadership alone is no longer sufficient in a world where most companies operate globally. Progressive organizations need to accommodate cultural differences and approaches to leadership. It is crucial that their managers learn to understand and adapt to this and work hard to acquire the competencies needed to prosper. 

Idea #055
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Chinese Folk Art (Source: Cultural-China.com)

Chinese Philosophy: Lessons for Western Leaders

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Some of the limitations in Western leadership theories can be overcome by using classical Chinese philosophy as a mirror to hold up against them. Chinese philosophy offers a different way of thinking, focusing more on relationships than the leader in isolation. These ideas can help find alternatives to current leadership models. 

Idea #065
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