Mobile Revolution- World of ‘5G’ Wireless- Business Enabler, Disruptor: Drive $Trillions– Faster, Greater Connected World…

World is about to change– 5G is coming: Mobile technologies have transformed the way people– live, work, learn, travel, shop, stay connected… Not even the industrial revolution created such a swift and radical explosion in technological innovation and economic growth worldwide. Nearly all fundamental human pursuits have been touched, if not revolutionized by mobile…

According to Ericsson; in less than 15 years– 3G and 4G technologies have reached over 3 billion subscriptions making mobile the most rapidly adopted consumer technology in history… The shift toward mobile is reshaping world economic landscapes; mobile is not just an industry in and of itself, but it’s also the foundation upon which an impressive array of industries, new and old, take root and flourish…

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Globally mobile technology has emerged as the primary engine of economic growth, and stimulating enormous private-sector investment in R&D, infrastructure… and profoundly changing business and ways people live their daily lives everywhere… ‘5G’ is the name used as the next generation of mobile wireless connectivity… with the promise that it’s going to provide unbelievably fast broadband speeds, and many other unimaginable features…

According to Professor Andy Sutton; the aim of 5G is to be invisible– ‘just like electricity’… By year 2020, experts predict there will be over 50 billion connected devices worldwide through 5G wireless networks, including; homes, all types of vehicles, smart-phones, smart-watches, appliances, machinery, medical, sports, games… (you name it and ‘5G’ will be there) even smart clothes…

However 5G is a misnomer; the ‘standards’ (specifications) does not even exist yet, and it probably won’t for at for several years… Because it’s going to be very difficult for industry stakeholders to all agree (consensus) on one final set of ‘standards’… Hence today, 5G is only concept and one that needs to go from vapor-ware to real-world rollout in the next few years… And if the first 5G networks are to be rolled out by the projected 2020, the standardization (specifications) process must be completed within the next two to three years– the governing bodies for certification of standards, include; 3GPP, ITU, IEEE, as well as, universities, public bodies, special interests groups…

According to David Goldman; great mobile speed and functions comes at great cost, i.e., more than three times average monthly data plan in a single hour… so prepare for a truly shocking 5G wireless bill…

According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Report: Globe trade is largely done by developed economies and large multinational companies… however more digital and mobile form of globalization is opening doors to– developing countries, small companies, start-ups… billions of people… Tens of millions of small, midsize enterprises world-wide have turned themselves into exporters by joining e-commerce marketplaces such as; Alibaba, Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, Rakuten… And today approximately 12% of global trade is done via international e-commerce…

Even the smallest enterprises can be global; 86% of tech-based start-ups surveyed by MGI report some type of cross-border activity, hence even the smallest firms can compete with the largest multinationals. According to MGI’s analysis, mobile communication (and even more with the promise of 5G connectivity), will raise world GDP by over 10%, over what would result in a world without it… mobile revolution of 5G will expand growth globally, and more important expose the world economies to– new ideas, research, technologies, talent, best practices…

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According to Juniper Research; a robust adoption of 5G service revenues is set to exceed $65 billion by 2025, compared to just $100 million during its first year of commercial services in 2020. This figure would represent approximately 7% of all operator-billed service revenues… Juniper notes that while the first commercial roll outs are expected in 2020; widespread adoption will not begin until 2025 when national spectrum licensing occurs over a period of years, as per 4G…

There seems to be growing consensus around defining the basic 5G standards (specification) in terms of technology performance, e. g.: ‘5G’ key standards requisites includes; network speeds of at least 10Gbps, 1ms latency or less, improved spectral efficiency, low energy consumption, longer battery life, 10 to 100x number of connected devices, along with improved reliability, flexibility…

Juniper Research found that 5G will not only enable faster connections but will act as a catalyst for a wide range of new consumer and enterprise experiences, including; data intensive and energy-efficient applications, high-definition 4K-8K video, self-driving cars, advanced virtual reality, and a sensory/tactile Internet with constant monitoring and controlling… Juniper estimates– companies will investing at least $25 billion in 5G technology research, trials and development over the next 5 years…

In the article Glimpse Into 5G Wireless World by Jeff Kagan writes: 5G is coming; whether you are a wireless carrier, handset maker, app developer, mobile TV provider, worker, investor, consumer… the world is about to undergo a major transformation… Several service providers have recently announced plans to start testing 5G technology within a year, projecting that wireless data transmissions will be 10 to 100 times faster, than with 4G networks… Industries with 5G will super-charge offerings, change-disrupt industries, markets…

Most industries will experience some type of reshaping as wireless carrier moves toward 5G– this change will pressure pay TV competitor to move into the same space, and those that don’t will simply lose market share. Tomorrow’s pay TV will look much different, e.g.; bold service providers who are ‘visionaries’ will create rules for the next wave of competition as the industry evolves to next level of performance… in turn, ‘follower’ companies will be forced to yield to this disruptive transformation and adapt their offering as they begin to lose market share… then there are the ‘lagging’ companies that simply won’t change and just vanish…

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In the article 5G Will Change The Way People Work, Shop, Park, Live by Fionna Agomuoh writes: A world with 5G mobile connectivity envisioned a future in which smart homes and driverless cars are commonplace, as consumers begin to see potential of a fully wireless economy… Manufacturers are taking different approaches to 5G: Some believe it should be a consolidation of 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with some extra features, and taking the best of each technology… Others see 5G as a completely new platform that turbo-charges data speeds, reduces network latency… However when it does arrive, 5G networks will be able to support significantly more devices more than 4G networks, all at once…

Some of the more obvious implementations beyond connected cars, include; virtual reality, gaming, completely wireless offices, factory floors… The timetable for 5G will depend in part on market demand; some businesses are ahead of others in terms of consumers’ ready for ultra high-speed services… Hence, 5G will probably rollout at different rates around the globe, e.g.; currently many emerging markets are thriving on 2G and 3G mobile networks and are only just now embracing 4G… And consumers in markets where 4G networks are now prevalent may not see an obvious need for 5G until later… Whereas other consumers may see an immediate need for 5G type performance…

In the article Wireless Becomes Fourth Utility by Jeffery Steinheider writes: The next generation mobile 5G will be the wireless standard of the future. The wireless community is still debating the details of 5G, but the overarching goal is achieving the ultimate user experience. From a bandwidth perspective, the global objective of 5G is to deliver 100 Mbps for every business, every person, every where, every time… some experts referred to 5G as the ‘fourth utility’… it provides ubiquitous fast broadband access for business and individual worldwide…

5G is going to be the launching point for more application convergence. The market is already focused on mobile network convergence for many communications applications, but there is much more on the horizon… Most major economies around the world have already started to lay significant plans for 5G. Consortiums worldwide are being formed to determine the standards (specifications) that must be in place by 2020 to allow for the natural progression of 5G, e.g.; the European Commission has already allocated over €700 million as investment to enable 5G technology by 2020…

Embracing the mobile revolution: A better connected world is a smart world, one that drives the emergence of new business landscapes… Digital network technologies are developing much faster than predicted, e.g.; there is smart connectivity between people, between people and things, and between things and other things, which is propelling the world on a new journey… one that will see profound integration of digital with physical; the result is a revolution in business…

New trends will redefine the business landscape, in a world of infinite possibilities… 5G promises is a real game changer: The world will become much more connected as a result of this technology, e.g.; cars, appliances, wearable devices all communicating with one another… 5G will change the way people– work, shop, play, travel, socialize…

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One of the biggest benefits of 5G from a business standpoint is its ability to support far more devices at a single time than even today’s superfast 4G. This would potentially help enable business to move completely to the cloud, with more reliable connection speeds, wireless offices… There will be less worry about networks being overloaded, which is critical for eCommerce business and retailers reliant on high periods of traffic… also it will be much easier to target large groups of customers, e.g.; using interconnected neighborhoods and targeting ads to consumers based on their interests, location…

The one thing to realize is that 5G leads to increasingly intelligent devices– ‘Internet of Things’… and more connected business infrastructure worldwide… 5G is the promise of a mobile wireless revolution– if/when– it happens; will it be as advertised?

Coping with Corporate Dementia– Forget to Prepare, Prepare to be Forgotten: Cognitive Decline in Workplaces…

Some organizations behave as if they are not fully functional– a form of ‘corporate dementia’ or ‘cognitive decline’… they have difficulty– reasoning, remembering, planning, organizing, coordinating, communicating, erratic behavior, difficulty with complex tasks, paranoia…

So question is: Is there such a thing as corporate dementia? Short answer is: Could be… These symptoms of dysfunctional organizations are often synonymous with the symptoms of dementia… (Note: As disclaimer, this reference is not meant to be disrespectful to people who are affected with dementia, it’s very serious disease)…

According to Ben & Chris; etymologically, dementia means deprived of mind… According to Wikipedia; dementia is serious loss of cognitive ability or cognitive decline…

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One report identified the prevalence of cognitive decline among working-age adults at 4.9% of the population… Another report suggested there that are more than 28.5 million people living with cognitive decline in U.S. alone. And still another report indicates that there may be as many as 30 million individuals with mild ‘traumatic brain injuries’ (TBI) or cognitive decline… Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) causes a slight but measurable decline in people’s memory, language, thinking, judgment…

According to Anek Belbase, Mashfiqur Khan, Alicia Munnell, Anthony Webb; cognitive decline suggests 3-potential workplace outcomes: 1) struggling, barely coping with job cognition. 2) shifting to less cognitive demanding job. 3) unable to adapt and are displaced… About 10% of workers experience cognitive decline, and are more likely to ‘downshift’ to a less demanding job, leave, retire…

In the article Remember to Forget, Borrow, Learn by Marshall Goldsmith writes: Many organizations underestimate just how hard it is to disconnect from its past. Organizations understandably are very complex machines– machines hard-wired to excel in the existing business… But then, as most highly competitive organization do, they come up with a breakthrough idea for an innovative new business, or significant change to the existing business… and that usually suggest that one of the first objectives is to radically change (or destroy ) the existing hard-wiring of the organization…

In other words, when creating a new business, leaders must question every assumption about the way the core organization works… For a breakthrough idea to have a chance, an organization must exercise three fundamental activities: Forget, Borrow, Learn…

They must ‘forget’ the formula that brought success in the existing organization, e.g.; business model, value proposition… They must ‘borrow’ resources from the existing organizational structure, e.g.; experience, talent… They must ‘learn’ how to adapt and succeed in a new environment… Forgetting is one of the most important steps for innovation, e.g.; coaches often preach to forget all of the bad habits that you picked-up along the way

Coaches understand that forgetting is often prerequisite for learning. Forgetting is crucial for innovation because at its core, innovation is an experiment-and-learn process. When a company clings to established mindsets and assumptions, or when it fails to forget, it cannot learn… For organizations to forget they must change the underlying rules and controls of behavior, e.g.; how it hires and promotes, how it confers status, how it plans, how it evaluates business performance, how it awards bonuses, the core values to which it aspires…

In the article Learn To Forget by Alix Spiegel writes: The tendency to forget is something that most people spend much time cursing, e.g.; Where are the keys? What is that person’s name? Where is the meeting? However, Malcolm MacLeod takes a radically different view of– forgetting; how can people improve their ability to forget… he is interested knowing if it might be possible for people to improve their ability to forget… more specifically, the ability to intentionally forget things– eliminate, erase things from a person’s memory. Certainly there are people who compete in memory competitions who practice techniques for ‘remembering’ things, and they are wildly successful at it…

But what if people could use these same techniques but only in a strange reversal way in order to forget things (e.g., techniques for forgetting)… Then could people expand their ability to forget things in the same way that people expanded their ability to remember things? According to MacLeod and Saima Noreen; they decided to give ‘forgetting’ a try, and went about setting-up some experiments… and what they consistently found was that– people do forget things or facts, but they don’t forget how those things or facts made them feel…

Similarly a quote by Carl W. Buehner; people may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel… Hence, MacLeod and Noreen believe that capacity to forget is as important, and as interesting, as an ability to remember… and learning to forget can potentially help people to move forward in business…

Curve of Forgetfulness: Do you know what you did two hours ago? What about at 8:45pm yesterday? What if you were asked to recall exactly what time you finished work on Wednesday last week? What about every start and finish time for the whole week? In 1885, a German by the name of Hermann Ebbinghaus published his theory of the exponential nature of forgetting… and he represent it on a graph called ‘the forgetting curve’… which provides a rather succinct explanation of how memory worsens over time.

The ‘forgetting curve’ hypothesizes decline of memory retention over time. The curve depicts how information is lost, over time, when there is no attempt to retain it… A related concept is the ‘strength of memory’ that refers to the durability that memory traces in the brain, e.g.; the stronger the memory, then the longer the period of time a person is able to recall the information…

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A typical forgetting curve graph purports to show that people tend to ‘halve their memory’ (i.e., remember one half) of newly learned  information in a matter of days…  unless they consciously review the learned material again… For example, consider new information you might have heard at work on Monday: If you don’t reinforce or ‘touch’ this new information again, and often, after you first learn about it then this is what happens: After 24 hours without reinforcement, you forget about 40% of it. After two days without practice, you forget 60%…

Hence, forgetting information you hear only once or twice is not the result of a poor mind– it’s the result of an efficient mind that remembers what’s important, and forgets what isn’t… (Clearly there are exceptions– there are people with a special gift for memory retention). Hence by reviewing information several times after you have heard or read it; you in effect are telling your mind that it’s something important enough to remember. But without reinforcement and review, you will most likely forget a large portion of what you learn…

In the article Organizations Suffer From Leadership Dysfunction by Mike Myatt writes: Have you ever wondered why organizations tolerate dysfunctional leaders? The answer is that dysfunction (or cognitive decline) is so prevalent in many organizations that it’s often not even recognized as problematic… Many organizations hire leaders to go along with the agenda, and get along with everyone, more than they desire a proactive leaders.

Hence, organizational leadership is rapidly becoming an oxymoron… Think of those you know in a position of leadership, and you may more likely than not conclude that most of these people are not leaders, but risk managers… When leaders become conformists who desire to control instead of innovate, they not only fail to inspire and challenge, they fail to lead… Leaders have become synonymous with babysitting in many organizations… They do nothing more than signal a lack of trust in the workforce. There is probably no time in modern business history where employees feel– less valued, less trusted… Remember, a leader’s job is not to place people in a box, but to free them from boxes…

It’s not difficult to find signs of leadership dysfunction or sense of cognitive decline… in many organizations– just look around… Most organizations eventually reach a point of– what is often refer to as– ‘maturity’ and some call it ‘institutionalization’… This occurs when– innovative cognition is replace with– blending to a norm, and that sadly becomes the norm...

The larger an organization becomes the more acceptable mediocrity seems to become, and the more corporate dementia seems to settle in… Hence, the problem; leadership must exist to disrupt mediocrity; not embrace it… but when it does happens, it’s a sign of pending cognitive decline… When history offers its commentary on the evolution of modern organizational practices; surprise story-line is that  organizations are unwittingly accepting cognitive decline, and engaged in systematic killing the concept of leadership…

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The so-called advances in organizational theory have been so grossly over-weighted toward risk management that organizations are now built to prevent failure rather than encourage success… Great leaders possess a healthy embrace of failure– they encourage team members to take risks…

When ‘process’ becomes more important than people, when ‘collaboration’ is confused with having a meeting, when ‘potential’ is held in higher regard than performance, and when ‘independent thinking’ takes a backseat to conformity, then leadership is dysfunctional at best and cognitively deprived at worst…

Leadership simply cannot be engineered according to the mass adoption of a set of rules (I.e., best practices). Leadership is breaking rules to discover change and innovation (i.e., next practices)… Leadership is about resisting corporate dementia and cognitive decline…

Distress of eCommerce – Shop Cart Abandonment – $4 Trillion Challenge: Shoppers Abandon Carts For Good Reasons…

Shopping cart abandonment is the nemesis of any business in eCommerce, or retailing, e-tailing, e-retailing… According to Baymard Institute; 67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned– think about that: For every 100 potential customers, 67 of them leave without buying… 

This study is important because it’s a collection of 22 different studies containing statistics on eCommerce shopping cart abandonment… and other studies report a much higher abandonment rate, as high as 80.3%; clearly shopping cart abandonment is a big problem…

According to BI Intelligence; about $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year, but about 63% of that is potentially recoverable by savvy retailers… However, shopping cart abandonment is on increase and it will continue to do so as more consumers shift to online and mobile shopping…

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According to Annual Merchant Survey; the typical shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%, with an average of 67.91%… According to Meir Fox; average shopping cart abandonment rate is about 69%… That’s a frustrating figure because it means that despite all the time and resources an eCommerce business invests in providing the best overall shopping experience, more than ⅔ of shoppers are still leaving the website after substantial engagement without completing their orders…

According to Forrester; shopping cart abandonment causes an eCommerce brands to lose a staggering $18 billion in sales, and with about $4 trillion worth of merchandise predicted to be abandoned in digital carts… cart abandonment has become a burning issue that retailers can no longer afford to ignore… hence, the big challenge for many eCommerce brands is to create, implement a viable abandonment reduction strategy…

 According to eMarketer; smart retailers are recognizing that while some abandoned carts do indeed represent missed revenue opportunities, many others do not, e.g.; some consumers may just use the cart to compare online prices and shipping rates, or treat the cart as an ongoing shopping list, which is eventually converting in-store… Also, the rising number of consumers who research purchases via smartphone are inflating cart abandonment rates; they often place items in shopping carts through their phones but than prefer to switch over to a PC or laptop to complete the purchases… According to SeeWhy; an abandoned shopping cart does not automatically translate to a ‘lost sale’ because three-fourths of shoppers who have abandoned shopping carts say they plan to return to the retailer’s website or store to make a purchase…

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In the article Shopping Cart Abandonment Can Be Huge Opportunity by Cooper Smith writes: Shopping cart abandonment– when shoppers put items in an online shopping carts but then leave before completing the purchase– is the bane of the online retail industry but it’s also a huge opportunity; there are a range of techniques  proven to drive incremental conversion after customers have abandoned carts. Estimates based on real market impact of conversion techniques suggests that 63% ($2.52 trillion) of $4 trillion in unrealized revenue is recoverable. This may sound too good to be true, but research supports a belief that the scale of the opportunity at hand may be even greater than what current techniques have been able to demonstrate…

Recent consumer research reveals that three-quarters of shoppers who are abandoning carts plan on returning to the website or going in-store to complete their purchases… According to SeeWhy; analysis of over 60,000 abandoned carts found 54% of all carts that are successfully recovered are won back within first few hours after abandonment. Another 10% can be saved within first 48 hours and 82% recoverable within a week… Two of the most powerful  techniques to deal recovery of abandoned carts are:

  • Ad Retargeting: According to AdRoll; 2% of shoppers convert on the first visit to an online store, and retargeting brings back the other 98%. Retargeting works by keeping track of people who visit the website and by displaying retargeting ads as they visit other sites online… Retargeting ads are targeted as desired, e.g.; if a buyer comes to a site to purchase a hat, a retargeting ads for that same hat is displayed when the shopper is visiting other websites… as long as the other sites accept the ads, and many of the top sites online these days do…
  • Email Recovery Campaign: Another techniques is through email campaigns… Here’s how it works; a personalized email is sent to a shopper when they don’t complete a purchase… Typically, if they are using a multi-page checkout, it’s easy to get the shopper’s name and email address upfront… Then series of 1-3 emails are sent to that shopper at set intervals after they have abandoned the cart and left the website. These emails should include; pictures of item(s) selected; testimonials or reviews from other shoppers; guarantee and refund policy information; strong call to action to get them back to the website… Timing for the email campaign is critical, e.g.; 1st email– should go out within 24 hrs; 2nd email– send within 2 days; 3rd email– send within 1 week…

In the article Straight Talk About Shopping Cart Abandonment by Jeremy Smith writes: Shopping cart abandonment is a normal occurrence for an online business… hence, it’s best to accept it, but have a strategy on how to deal with it… A few facts about shopping cart abandonment:

  • Website Lacks Trust Factors: People won’t buy from a site that they can’t trust. Plain and simple: The best place for the trust factors is in the most critical phase of your site, i.e.; the checkout phase. Shopping cart abandonment happens because people get wary, anxious, jittery…
  • Website Has Usability Problems: When customers have problems– accessing, or navigating, or otherwise using the site, they become frustrated and abandon the shopping cart… Usability has an end goal; conversions, and easier the site is to use, the more conversions scored: It’s just that simple…
  • Checkout Process Is Long and Complicated: When the checkout procedure has more than six steps: It’s too complicated… The goal is to create a checkout process that is as simple as possible– Its kiss (keep it simple stupid) theory…
  • System Requires Account Creation Prior to Checkout: Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to a completed transaction is the ‘account creation’ requirement. If you’re requiring people to create an account in order to buy stuff, then you’re killing the conversion rate and racking up needlessly high abandonment rates… The whole ‘membership’ thing may seem like a good idea, but it often produces major cart abandonment issues…
  • Shipping Charges Take Shoppers by Surprise: Total openness regarding shipping policies is important; every online retail site must be totally upfront about shipping charges (or lack thereof)… Research of B2C e-commerce sites has determined that ‘unexpected costs’ are the biggest cause of shopping cart abandonment…
  • Don’t Have a Return Policy: Explicit return policy is more likely to encourage purchase and insure purchase satisfaction rather than invite returns. A prominent return policy doesn’t encourage a return; it discourages it… Having a solid return policy inspires confidence in buyers and shows a committed to customer service…
  • Payment Options Are Limited: Policies that limit customers’ ability to pay are policies that generate viral shopping cart abandonment: It’s that simple. The more payment options you give customers, the more customers you’ll reach…
  • Security Measures Are Too Strict or Too Lax: Users abandon shopping cart when they sense there are too few security measures in place… The goal is to give customers assurance that they’re not getting scammed or robbed… so they don’t lose confidence when it’s finally time to buy…
  • Shopping Cart Is Hard to Find: What good is a shopping cart when you can’t even find it? Shopping cart visibility is listed as one of the main reasons abandonment happens…
  • Coupon Codes Don’t Work: There are few things as frustrating as thinking you’re going to get a discount using a coupon code, then experience code problems or the code is nowhere to be found… It’s easy to eliminate coupons, and give consumer discount or best price… this makes things much simpler for the customer and easier for the business… and it reduces a major cause of shopping cart abandonment…
  • No Help During Checkout: Customer help services are important for eCommerce websites and they should provide a variety of ways to help consumers, e.g.; feature pop-ups, live chat, FYQ… customers that feel pampered will be good customers…

Making a purchase is an intensely emotional experience and these emotions must be positive and stable throughout the entire website, buying, checkout experience… When customers arrives at checkout they must feel delighted about the purchase they are about to make: It’s a psychological thing… However, when customers experience a sudden emotional shift… when they are preparing to check-out and pay, it can derails the entire process and cause them to abandon the shopping cart…

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Like it or not, customers are instinctively asking– ‘if’ questions, e.g.; If I’m not satisfied can I return it? If they screw-up my order can I get my money back? If I find a better deal somewhere can I send it back and get a refund? The key to minimizing cart abandonment is to think like a customer; review the shopping cart experience from the customer’s point of view… If the shopping cart experience ‘puts you off’ then fix it…

Hence to increase conversion rates, retailers need to question long-held assumptions about cart abandonment, reconsider strategies for turning consumer browsers into buyers– Cart abandonment is a challenge for retailers, eCommerce… but also an opportunity to make delightful impressions on customers, and sell more…

 

Wake-Up CEOs– ‘Age of Disruption’– Business Landscape is Shifting: Time for New Vision, Rebalance Priorties…

It’s a whole new business landscape — dawning ‘age of disruption’– and the global economy is in greater state of flux than ever before, and instability is the new norm…

Developed markets are becoming stagnant and developing markets are becoming submerged. Along side this, new technologies are transforming industries in a matter of months, populations are shrinking in some markets while booming in others, and environmental trends make managing global business more complex than ever before.

Above all leaders in this ‘age of disruption’ must be more creative than ever, demonstrating extraordinary resilience– capacity to cope with complexity and retain a sense of calm confidence amid chaos… Leaders must think differently with new vision and enterprise business models that can facilitate giant leaps forward, quickly…

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Companies must change strategies by changing their roles; it’s not simply about a new value proposition; it’s about changing the very basis of competition… Companies must break free of the hidden assumptions of conventional strategy, where they are competing on a slow-changing field, or the concept of a neatly ordered industry with distinct buyers and suppliers by recognizing that they can be competitors, buyers, and suppliers, all at the same time…

Companies must focus less on dynamics of value appropriation and more on how they are embedded in a collaborative web of value creation… they must focus less on what happens within sectors and more on how markets are changing… and how players in one part of a value chain try to change fortunes by destroying other players… According to Carl von Clausewitz; it’s an era characterized by disruptive change… by revision of roles in public and private sectors… by reinvention of structure and role of corporations.

In the article Urban World: The Shifting Global Business Landscape by Richard Dobbs, Jaana Remes, Sven Smit, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, and Yaw Agyenim-Boateng write: By 2025, almost half of the world’s biggest companies will probably be based in developing markets, profoundly altering global competitive dynamics… Developing markets are changing where and how the world does business. For the last three decades, they have been a source of low-cost but increasingly skilled labor…

Their fast-growing cities have millions of new and increasingly prosperous consumers, who provide new growth markets for global corporations at a time when much of the developed world faces slower growth… But the number of large companies from the developing world will rise, and this powerful wave of new companies could profoundly alter long-established competitive dynamics around the world…

Projections based on the ‘McKinsey Global Institute Company Scope’ database of large companies that tracks public and private companies, including state-owned enterprises, with annual revenues of $1 billion or more; shows that the developing economies’ share of Fortune Global 500 Companies will probably jump to more than 45% by 2025, up from just 5% in 2000… That’s because while three-quarters of the world’s 8,000 companies with annual revenue of $1 billion or more are today based in developed economies, it’s forecasted that an additional 7,000 could reach that size in little more than a decade– and 70% of them will most likely come from developing markets…

To put this dramatic shift in the balance of global corporate power in perspective; remember many of world’s largest companies have maintained their current status for generations: More than 40% of almost 150 Western European companies in last year’s Fortune Global 500 were founded before 1900… In 2025, almost 230 Fortune Global 500 Companies will be based in the developing world’s cities, up from 24 in 2000…

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According to Michael G. Jacobides; there is growing evidence that current strategy tools are outdated; most tools wrongly assume that incumbents are more important than new entrants; that corporations can easily identify their rivals, suppliers, customers… and that companies can compete only by changing what they do…

However, up-and-coming companies can disrupt entire industries by designing superior products at lower cost, by bringing them to market faster, and by streamlining business processes… Corporate leaders can’t afford to be complacent about change, while many new players are setting their sights on expanding into global markets. Business leaders must monitor trends constantly to spot new markets, competitors… and they must embrace new rules:

  • Optimize sales networks: Companies must assess how to organize themselves so they can sell to a much more diverse and dispersed customer base, they must rethink (and perhaps redeploy) their sales networks…
  • Understand how customers and competitors are evolving: New industry hotspots will be sources of both competition and demand, so companies must track up-and-coming location hubs in developing regions, many of which may not be household names but they are evolving as hubs for multiple billion-dollar companies…
  • Reconsider headquarters configuration and location of other core activities: Many businesses are finding that traditional single-headquarters model no longer meets their needs. Companies are splitting corporate centers into two or more locations that share decision-making and key members of their senior-leadership team…

In the article Shifting Global Business Landscape by Deloitte writes: As the distinction between the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ world becomes blurred, previously held safe assumptions about the global business environment no longer apply… The new trends suggests; rapid expansion of a global consumer class in developing markets, such as; Asia, Africa, Latin America– it’s estimated that by 2020 the number of people in the global middle class will amount to 3.2 billion.

These new consumers are increasingly urban, and by 2030 urban populations will reach about 5 billion with growth concentrated in the cities of; Asia, Africa, Latin America… Organizations must reach out and embrace these new emerging consumers and ‘business as usual’ will not work…

According to Thomas Jankovich; thanks to spreading economic growth, shifting national priorities and new open technologies, innovation comes from everywhere… wealth and privilege are no longer a pre-requisite to success… Capabilities that were once exclusive to large corporations are now available on efficient open markets… For businesses and organizations to take advantage of these new trends, they must make open innovation key to their overall strategy… They are more likely to lead in the use of social business technologies. They are also more likely to collaborate with other businesses beyond their borders than their developed market counterparts…

This suggests that entire executive teams may have to transcend functional boundaries to secure coherence as they transform their far-flung enterprises– without defaulting back to command and control arrangements of a bygone era… global economies are continually rebalancing, hence organizations and businesses must continually rethink, rebalance, and adapt business models and supply chain configurations to remain competitive…

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In the article Growth in Shifting Business Landscape by Michele Molitor writes: Today’s business landscape is a bit unsteady to say the least and it’s a challenge– no matter if you are a CEO, manager, or one-man-band business owner… The disruptive nature of the business landscape means that business must be– agile, bold, and open to new ways of doing business, globally… Here are a few keys to consider:

  • For The Sake Of What: What’s the vision? Where do you want the company or department to grow to and for the sake of what? What outcomes do you wish to achieve and what impact do you want to leave customers and the community with? The clearer the vision, the easier it is to create tangible goals to achieve…
  • Make New Friends: Refine or reconfigure the target audience… Once you’ve clarified the audience, then it’s time to make some new friends… People do business with who they know and trust, so aim at developing the relationship first to create a win-win outcome…
  • Think Outside the Box: Take a hard look at the current business activities… Today’s economy requires businesses to think differently and come up with new creative strategies to out smart the competition if you want to remain a player in the game…
  • Listen Carefully: Talk with customers and listen carefully to what they have to say… The company that succeeds in today’s economy is the one that has ears to ground and is constantly innovating to meet the current market needs.
  • Start With The End In Mind: Start the day by envisioning how you’d like it to go. What intentions do you have for the day? What would you like to accomplish? What impact do you want to leave others with? By focusing on positive intentions, you’re paving the way for it to unfold with grace, ease, desired outcome…

The world has entered what some regard as era of ‘digital Darwinism’ where technology is evolving too fast for many individuals and organizations to adapt to the changes… According to Ifuoma Okey-Ezealah; as the rate of technology change accelerates, people, business, entire countries… struggle to stay aware of the latest technological developments, let alone understand them well enough to exploit them– and this rapid rate of technology change is unlikely to slow down…

According to Lowell Bryan; companies need leaders who are tolerant of ambiguity and who can make others feel comfortable about it… They have to instill confidence in their teams that they are making the ‘right’ decisions, even though it’s not clear how the future will evolve…

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Amid this talk of ‘age of disruptive’ it’s important to remember that not all business landscape are remade violently, overnight. Obsolescence creeps as often as it lunges. While CEOs obsess over getting big-banged out of existence, odds are good that they will suffer a more pedestrian fate; they will simply cease to matter– the brand goes stale, core strengths languish, changing customer needs pass them by… The world moves on; they don’t…

According to Debra Kaye; companies are afraid to ask the ‘relevance question’: Is what I am making or selling still relevant, and will it be five or ten years from now? But they need to ask it every year, because when a company loses relevance, it dies…

According to Andrea Coville; long-established ways of looking at a business– breeds inertia, even as successive generations of leadership lose touch with the roots of company’s success, business are vulnerable when they rest on laurels but also when they are constantly reinventing themselves… Relevance means being relentless about innovating on core competences, assets…

Moment of Decisiveness– ‘Turning Point’ Moment– Deciding Company Fate: Alert– Worst Decision Is Indecision…

Most important trait that a business leader can have is decisiveness… Decisiveness is the power to decide, make decisions, decision-making, take resolute action… It seems so simple but many business leaders get stuck at crossroads and are unable (or unwilling) to put the stake in the ground and decide…

In Latin, the word ‘decide’ breaks down as: to kill all other options, i.e.; the ‘cide’ part gives real meaning to words, such as; homicide, genocide… Thinking of a ‘decision’ in this way means that all other options are killed; they are gone– there is a certain finality to the matter…

According to Lynne Guey; since the digital age is all about ‘big data’ and there is so much information available that there is growing tendency to over-analyze the business… people (leaders) tend to think that regardless of where they are in decision-making process, there’s always more information out there that could help them even better determine the right course of action… According to John Whittaker; with so much information available, it’s easy for leaders to fall into ‘paralysis’ and not be able to make a decision. But the most important quality for a leader is decisiveness…

decide3 untitledBusiness is a contact sport and you can’t be afraid to make a mistake. You can always course correct if you need to, but you can’t make-up for failing to take action when action is needed. Making the wrong decision and course correction is better than missing the timing to take action altogether… Every decision must be made, but not every decision must be made ‘right now’. Leaders must know the difference between being unable (or unwilling) to make a decision and knowing proper time to make a decision…

Businesses must have direction and when leaders abdicate responsibility for decision-making the entire organization suffers and the result is confusion, mistrust… A quote attributed to 17th century French Cardinal de Retz says; there is nothing in the world that does not have a decisive moment and the center piece of great leaders is to know when, and seize that moment… No one wants to follow a leader who cannot make a decision; business leaders must know when and how to make decisions– they must be decisive… They cannot be a ‘deer in the headlights’ decision-maker…

In the article Be Decisive by Scott H. Young writes: Decisiveness is characterized by being firm, resolute, decisive… and from that strength of decisiveness must follow the ability to take action, but often questions arise on whether decisiveness causes hasty decision-making, which can result in costly mistakes…

But decisiveness is simply the ability to decide and the ability to decide is crucial in business, without clear decisions there is no action and there is no result… even if the decision is simply to do more research or brainstorming, a clear decision must be made, or it’s simply procrastination and waste of time…

Being decisive is a rational process, e.g.; review the information available, decide the best course of action (if necessary, get more information, or use the information already available), then simply make a decision with the facts available… Waiting longer is just delaying the inevitable, so decide even in the face of uncertainty… Most decisions are based on incomplete information, but the best decision at a given time is made with the information available at that time… Clearly ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ but you still must make a decision, even if it’s adjusted later… 

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In the article Owning The Decisive Moment by nice writes: Any moment can be decisive, e.g.; for basketball player, it can be that moment when he/she decides whether to drive to the hoop for lay-up or go for the 3-pointer… For cyclist, it could be choice between passing a competitor or pacing he/she for the final lap… For gymnast, it might decision to assess the whole team’s performance and decide which moves in his/her own repertoire can best secure a medal…

To meet goals organizations must also rise to challenge of a decisive moment… Their goal must be to prepare for these decision moments before they arrive, and when they do, to use all the knowledge available to make the best decision and take the best action… Organizations must be decisive and learn from success and failure, and key to making good decisions is– getting right information, to right people, at right time…

In the article Decisiveness Drives Success For Companies by Greg Witz writes: Some people (leaders) really struggle with making decisions– they just cannot make-up their minds… But indecision or lack of decisiveness is costing companies billions of dollars… Opportunities are being lost, productivity is waning, morale is eroded for stakeholders in companies; employees, customers, partners, suppliers… which can seriously impact the very survival of the business…

According to business and economic analysts; cost for the lack of decisiveness (i.e., indecision or late decisions) in companies is responsible for lost opportunities, lackluster productivity… is in the billions of dollars. It’s has a domino effect– lack of timely decision-making impact the entire company and all stakeholders…

According to a large national construction company; they (company execs) dropped the ball by taking too long to make a decision, they lost out on the entire bidding process, which could have been worth over $2 million to the bottom line… Business is full of stories like this… but what’s makes the problem worse is that many businesses are living in fear, e.g.; disruptive markets, recession, downsizing, rightsizing… and it causes many businesses to be paralyzed when it comes to making ‘turning point’ decisions and taking critical actions…

Ask anyone at your office if they consider themselves– ‘decisive’; and you will probably be met with sweaty palms, racing pulses and the response of: Why do you ask? No one wants to be held accountable for what might be considered a wrong decision…

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In the article Effective Leadership: Decisiveness by Tim Morin writes: Dealing with the speed and complexity of a highly volatile global business environment is an everyday challenge… More than ever, leaders are being judged on the decisions they make and  how those decisions help or hurt their companies… The best leaders at all levels of an organization are involved in constant decision-making and the quality of the decisions are typically; sound, defensible, timely… especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. The accumulative effect of these decisions, determine the very fate of organizations…

A leader’s ability to make a high percentage of good decisions is critical to effectiveness of an individual, and success of the organization…

Of course, in the real world leaders must make decisions at the speed of business without always having the luxury of vetting every possible alternative or securing the thoughts and buy-in from every disparate stakeholder. Effective leaders must deal with ambiguity every day and decide and act without having the complete picture… However, most decisions should not be treated as a discrete choice, but rather as a ‘process’ that unfolds within an organization…

Leaders should follow well vetted process, which can vastly improves the odds of making the right decision and, as important, putting it into action… Further, the most leverage-able and therefore, most critical decisions are decisions about ‘people’, i.e., having right people talent, in right positions, at right time… is the best way to ensure good decisions; having ‘right’ people make ‘right’ decision at ‘right’ time will improve the  likelihood that– the best decisions are being made at all levels of the organization…

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Shift Alert: According to Rosemary DiDio Brehm; in some business ‘right now’– someone, somewhere, i.e.; employee, supplier, customer, partner… is experiencing a ‘turning point’ moment… Right now email is sitting in an inbox that could shift the fortunes of a business, or a voice mail could totally require the reinvention of a business, or outcome of a meeting may change a business forever… nothing ever remains the same– a business is always in transition and it requires all decisions to be decisive… and especially when business is comforted with crises involving events, such as; tipping point, turning point, inflection point…

Like it or not monumental shifts in business happen and they are common occurrences and it’s leaders responsibility to managing– around them, over them, through them… Effective leaders know that ‘turning points’ are both, threats and opportunities… and they must be managed with decisiveness…

According to Theodore Roosevelt; in any moment of decision; the best you can do is the ‘right’ thing, the next best thing is the ‘wrong’ thing, and the worst thing you can do is ‘nothing’… When it comes down to it decisions are rarely clear; even with a rational decision-making process; but the only way forward is take– a deep breath, gather courage, and be decisive– make the decision…

Art of Dynamic Pricing, Surge Pricing, Demand Pricing– It’s About Pick or Be Picked: Match Price-to-Demand…

Welcome to the world of dynamic pricing… According to Mike Fridgen; it used to be about ‘where’ to buy to get a good price, now it’s about ‘when’ to buy to get the best price… for many consumers and business– fixed price is a thing of the past; today consumers are faced with prices changing minute-by-minute…

Dynamic pricing, or real-time pricing, or surge pricing, or demand pricing… are flexible price schemes for when business decides to nudge prices up-or-down, on the fly, in response to specific market demand… Typically changes are controlled by pricing ‘bots’, which are software agents that gather data and use algorithms to adjust pricing according to a retailer’s specific business rules…

Where business rules take into account things such as; customer location, time of day, day of the week, level of demand, notable events, competitor pricing… Through collection, analysis of data about customer behavior, vendors make informed guess-estimates on price that customers might be willing to pay then price is adjusted, in real-time, accordingly…

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Dynamic pricing is a common practice in e-commerce in markets, such as; hospitality, travel, entertainment, retail… Retailers and online retailers in particular, adjust prices according to competitors, time, traffic, conversion rates, and sales goals, e.g.; hotels based on demand can generate more revenue by bringing in customers at different price points… or, airlines adjust prices depending on– day of week, time of day, number of days before flight… or, entertainment events adjust prices based on the level of ticket sales…

Triggers for dynamic pricing are often based on, e.g.; competitors prices– adjust prices up-or-down… or, demand is low– adjust prices lower… or, demand is high– adjust prices higher… Dynamic pricing is legal, as long as discrimination isn’t based on federally protected factors, e.g.; age, gender, race… It’s safe to assume most major online retailers are engaging in some form of dynamic pricing

In the article Magic of Dynamic Pricing by Seth Godin writes: When you produce physical goods, such as; a book, it’s really hard to change the price over time, especially if there are retail stores involved, but changing the price on electronic goods is trivially easy… So, for example, you could charge $24 for the Kindle edition for the first two weeks, then $15 for the next two weeks and then $9 for the year after that. Once it’s a back-list classic, it could cost $2… Or, thinking about how you might create launch excitement, you could reverse it, e.g.; $2-first day, $5-first week, then $9 later…

Better hurry! Or, to get more sophisticated, you could reward the market for getting excited. But, what if the price for everyone drops, if enough people pre-order it? This isn’t just about books, of course. It’s about anything where you have the ability to change pricing based on– time or demand… with tolls, music, phone calls, consulting… Technology puts a lot more pressure on your imagination and creativity, even in pricing…

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In the article Paying Higher Prices While Shopping Online by guestauthor writes: Dynamic pricing, or commonly referred to as time-based pricing, is a type of price discrimination that companies use to change prices, on the fly, based on circumstances and estimated user demand… With modern web browsers, websites have the ability to collect all kinds of information about you and your online behavior by using tracking cookies and other tools.

Using collected data, companies can then make guesses about how much more willing you might be to pay for the same item or service, and adjust prices accordingly in real-time… The fact that demand increases ‘value’ is a time-tested market sentiment… Hence, the question: when is dynamic pricing an effective tool for the retailer and when is it counter-productive? Consider the following:

  • When Dynamic Pricing Makes Sense: There are times when dynamic pricing makes sense. You may experience this first hand while booking airline tickets during the peak travel season (i.e. increased demand) or paying additional fees for rush orders (i.e. buyer needs it fast and is charged more). Dynamic pricing is widely accepted in the banking industry as well, e.g.; rates and fees changing based on bank balances, credit ratings…
  • When Dynamic Pricing Stinks: Most major retailers are engaging in dynamic pricing online, even though they know you hate it. They quietly change prices from one visit to the next based on your behavior during the previous visit, e.g.; if you look at an item a second time, the site assumes you have a greater desire for the product and increases the price; they hope that you, like most consumers, don’t have the time to shop around…

In the article Dynamic Pricing Matches Rates With Demand by Jason Q. Freed writes: In a study examining retail prices, researchers looked at the price of a single microwave oven on three different online channels– Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Sears.com… In a 12-hour period, the price of the microwave fluctuated about $75: Sears did not alter the price… Best Buy changed the price twice over the time period… Amazon changed the price nine times…

These fluctuations are result of trends in real-time pricing schemes being used across many industries, it’s called dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing is defined as; time-based pricing that matches goods, services based on ‘time’… According to Vishwas Bhatia; prices are often altered to meet real-time demand… Dynamic pricing is fluid, changes base on ‘demand’ reflecting true market value at that ‘time’…

Industries that are adopting dynamic pricing as a key part of their sales models include; airlines, theaters, cinemas, sports teams, hotels… Dynamic pricing simplifies the pricing process, e.g., it allows hotels to make changes instantly while maintaining rate parity… According to Cynthia Paynter; dynamic pricing practices attempts to– match rates with demand… it’s an opportunity to increase or decrease (average daily rate) with changes in market demand…

Often dynamic pricing is equated with discounting, but it’s not– it’s more of an attempt to provide ‘fair’ pricing based on demand, and possibly other factors… But ‘fair’ doesn’t necessarily mean the same price for everyone…

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In the article Implement Dynamic Pricing Strategy by Patrick Campbell writes: At it’s core, dynamic pricing is the concept of selling the same product at different prices to different groups of people. Technically, it’s the same as ‘price discrimination’, an illegal practice with roots in the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936… Yet, that Act has more holes than a wheel of swiss cheese, which makes any legal basis of a price discrimination lawsuit incredibly grey, especially when dealing with non-commodity goods, online.

In fact, U.S. courts and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have repeatedly shot down dynamic price discrimination cases, unless the discrimination took place on the basis of a suspect category (i.e., gender, race, sexual orientation…). As a result, businesses have taken it upon themselves to institute dynamic pricing in two forms: Dynamic pricing based on ‘groups’: In this scenario, companies are using algorithms or just statistical splicing to offer different prices to different groups… Dynamic pricing based on ‘time’: Many people complain about this form of dynamic pricing– having a price go up-or-down based on– time of day, week, month, events, holidays…

Most consumers are accustom to one standardized price for everything, and it seems almost unfair that business can offer one price to one group of customers while charging others something different. But as retailers gain access to increasingly seductive amount of consumer data, they have ability to generate a unique price for each customer…

Some experts likened this to the pricing models seen in ancient bazaars; rather than charge everyone same price, merchants would look at patrons, size them up, and decide what to charge them on an individual basis… Today’s ecommerce retailers can do the same thing, but rather than relying on intuition, they use the sizable data trail each customer leaves behind as a result of their previous purchases…

Browsing habits, demographic characteristics, and a wealth of other relevant data points are aggregated to determine what that customer can be charged… It comes down to getting the most out of each customer interaction, and that’s what businesses that are using dynamic pricing are trying to do… According to Econsultancy; businesses who have flexible (dynamic) pricing are able to increase profits by an average of 25%… some online retailers change prices every 10 minutes based on data it collects in real-time… It’s all about the law of supply and demand…

Prices can change from one day to next, depending on– category, season, promotions, competing site… However, savvy consumers who do comparison shopping and can easily find cheapest price– for given item, at given time…

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Setting ‘price’ is challenging, particularly given many outdated ideas, misconceptions surrounding pricing structures. The problem with conventional wisdom is that it’s not always wise to follow. According to Sheri Bridges; finding the perfect price is not the ‘holy grail’… which is not to suggest that pricing is not important but that business would do better to treat price as a function of ‘value’ that is provided to customers.

In fact, value is the benefit that customers receive for dollars paid… Most customers don’t mind paying more if they get more in return (value), and benefits (value) is in mind of the customer– it may be real, or perceived…

More U.S. Companies Renounce Citizenship, Maneuver for Greater Global Competitiveness: Shades of Not ‘Made in USA’…

U.S. companies are bailing out, leaving, renouncing U.S. citizenship, reincorporating overseas. According to Roberto Ferdman; nearly twice as many companies have shifted their corporate tax paying duties abroad since 2003, or almost double the amount that did in the twenty years prior, and this trend is only slated to continue

There are several advantages inherent in reincorporating, e.g.; more fluid overseas business acquisitions, lower borrowing rates due to increased cash reserves, more skilled workers… but some would say that the real motivation for companies shifting corporate citizenship is to pay less in taxes…

According to Charles Thorington; there are two underlying issues motivating these maneuvers; the extremely high U.S. corporate tax rates… plus the world-wide tax approach of U.S. government… U.S. corporate rate is 35% and increases to an average of 39.1% when state taxes are included, which is the largest of any industrialized nation and third highest in the world… According to Scott Hodge; only Chad and United Arab Emirates levy higher tax rates on corporations…

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As for  world-wide tax approach, the U.S. is one of only six countries  that taxes foreign corporate profits after they have already been taxed in the country in which they were made… Almost all other countries have adopted ‘territorial approach’ in which a company’s profits are taxed only in the originating country… Having one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, plus one of the few world-wide tax systems where U.S. corporations are twice cursed…

Hence by staying in U.S. companies lose a great deal of competitiveness. and this is not matter of being ‘unpatriotic’, as some politicians suggest, but it’s a matter of survival… One fact is certain: if U.S. corporate taxes are not reduced to internationally competitive rates, and if U.S. does not adopt a ‘territorial’ tax approach to corporations, then expect U.S. companies to continue to flee to countries that treat them considerably better: Capital tends to travel to those places that treat it the best…

In the article Why Companies Are Leaving the U.S. by Edward Alden writes: A survey of some 10,000 former Harvard Business School (HBS) grads carried out as part of the school’s U.S. Competitiveness Project’ has some telling results. In the 1990s U.S. headquartered multinational companies created 4.4 million jobs in the U.S., even as they were also expanding abroad, creating 2.7 million jobs in their foreign affiliates.

Over the past decade, however, while U.S.-based companies went on adding some 2.4 million jobs abroad, and cut U.S. workforce by 2.9 million… This HBS survey, carried out by Professors Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin offers some interesting observation; they suggest that initially U.S. companies probably bought a bill of goods, believing that the cost savings from off-shoring would be greater than they turned out to be…

Many companies faced unexpected business challenges abroad, including; rising wages, increased transportation costs, and weak intellectual property protection… Hence, buyer’s remorse may account for why some companies are starting to bring work back to U.S… But the survey reveals deep skepticism about the U. S. as a business domicile… The survey responses were grouped into three categories: problems we can do nothing about; problems we could do something about but shouldn’t; problems that we could and should address…

The first category is things like– proximity to customers, proximity to suppliers, faster growing markets abroad– it’s inevitable, desirable that some business activities should move offshore to meet that demand. In many cases those investments also serve to boost U.S. exports…

The second category is lower wages, cited by 70% of those involved in making domicile decisions– it’s virtual impossible for U.S. to offset lower wage advantages of a China, or Mexico, or other developing countries… As Michael Porter suggested; having companies succeed while wages fall is not competitiveness…

The final category is where the game for investment will be won or lost by the U.S– astonishingly 31% of executives cited better access to skilled labor as a rationale for moving overseas, versus 29% who cited it as a reason for staying… Also lower tax rates is big issue, though intriguingly complaints were primarily about the complexity of the U.S. tax code rather than level of corporate taxation. Tax reform and immigration reform (e.g.; H-4, H-1B visas) are one and two on wish list of business leaders, with education a close third…

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KPMG’s 2014 edition of Competitive Alternatives: This report is a guide to international business location (domicile) costs; it assesses the general tax competitiveness of 107 cities in 10 countries with a focus on 51 major international cities. The 10 countries examined are; Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, UK, U.S… The report compares the total tax burden faced by companies in each country and city, e.g.; corporate income taxes, property taxes, capital taxes, sales taxes, miscellaneous local business taxes, statutory labor costs (i.e., statutory plan costs and other payroll-based taxes)…

Total tax costs are compared between countries and cities using a Total Tax Index (TTI) for each location. The TTI is a measure of the total taxes paid by corporations in a particular location, expressed as a percentage of total taxes paid by corporations in the U.S. Thus, the U.S. has a TTI of 100.0, which represents the benchmark against which the other countries and cities are scored…

The overall results for all locations are based on average results from 7 different business-to-business service sector operations and 12 different manufacturing sector operations… Among the countries studied, Canada had the lowest Total Tax Index at 53.6. In other words, total tax costs in Canada are 46.4% lower than in the U.S... The UK, Mexico, Netherlands also had a TTI score below the U.S., while at the other end of the spectrum, France’s TTI of 163.3 signifies that total tax costs in France are 63.3% higher than in the U.S.

The TTI rankings of countries in 2014 are broadly consistent with the 2012 rankings among the 10 countries. The UK  moved ahead of Mexico and Australia moved ahead of Germany, but all other countries rank consistently between the 2012 and 2014 standings. Even among the countries whose rankings have not changed, Japan, Italy, and France had seen significant improvements in their TTI scores. The changes in ranking relate to both changes in tax policy since 2012 and other sundry changes…

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In the article Business Leaders Are Blowing Smoke on Corporate Taxes by Richard C. Longworth writes: U.S. corporate leaders love to complain about the nation’s high corporate tax rate as one of the highest in the world. This rate, they say, is stifling business investment and encouraging U.S. corporations to move headquarters to other countries… It sounds logical, but it may not be true.

A scholarly look at global tax payments, coupled with an on-the-ground look at the effect of taxes on business investment, suggests that these corporate leaders not only are crying wolf but may be blowing smoke… Corporate leaders are always beating drums for corporate tax reform by which they mean corporate tax cuts… The U.S. rate is 35%, which is one of the highest in developed world, Japan is highest at 38%, which are both above the average 24% for the 34 advanced countries that make up the OECD. The rate in France is 33%, Germany 30%, UK 21%…

Many of these differences aren’t huge but corporate leaders are right when they say– U.S. nominal tax rate is higher than most global rivals…

However, according to Edward D. Kleinbard; the reality is very different and big U.S. corporations, i.e., the global corporations that are threatening to pick-up and move… actually make out like bandits at tax time… One of their biggest practices is to keep much of their income overseas and out of reach of the IRS. Altogether U.S. corporations paid, on the average, an effective tax rate of 12.6%…

According to Mr. Kleinbard; it isn’t tax rates that are tempting U.S.-based companies to move headquarters or operations to relatively low-tax venues… Instead, they want to be able to use that money parked abroad without having to pay taxes on it. He estimates this hoard of over $2 trillion when taxed at 35% would bring in about $700 billion to the U.S. government treasury… This is a very good reason to move to a more friendly domicile…

In the article U.S. Companies Leaving by IBDEditorials writes: Companies headquartered in U.S. are at a major competitive disadvantage… A recent OECD study says; ‘integrated tax rate’– taxes on capital and income– for U.S. companies is a nightmarish 67.8% Vs. 43.7% for the OECD… Many companies facing steep tax rates and insane regulations in the U.S. have had enough, hence they’re keeping profits overseas…

According to Ron Wyden; U.S. corporations hold $2.1 trillion in earnings in overseas accounts– a massive amount, roughly equal to 12% of U.S. gross domestic product… A total of about 547 companies, including; Apple, GE, Microsoft, Pfizer… have dramatically expanded the so-called– foreign indefinitely reinvested earnings overseas, which let them avoid the punishing tax rates in the U.S…

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Not only are taxes too high but also new laws, such as; Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare, expansion of business regulation, debt and size of government, bullying Wall Street, demonizing CEOs, forced CO2 cuts, abandoning the coal industry, tax on oil production, and many other unfriendly business policies… have made U.S. one of the least desirable and unfriendly corporate domiciles in the world…

According to Laura Tyson; the facts, not perceptions, should guide policymaking where multinationals are concerned, and facts indicate U.S. multinationals continue to make significant contributions to the U.S. and they locate most of their economic activity in the U.S. not abroad…

However, as long as other countries have lower tax rates and lax income-shifting rules, there are incentives for companies to move headquarters to those countries. Corporate tax reform vastly improve U.S. position relative to other developed nations… and it’s one of best things government can do to improve its competitiveness as domicile for multinational corporation…

Smartness Syndrome– Smartest Person in the Room: But If Room is Full of– Idiots, Dummies… So Much for Smartest…

Many people in business like to think they are the smartest person in the room: But is that good or bad?

According to Jack Welch; I was never the smartest guy in the room: From the first person I hired, I was never the smartest guy in the room, and that’s a big deal. And if you’re going to be a leader or if you’re a leader and you’re the smartest guy in the world– in the room, you’ve got real problems…

Then there is the quote; if you are the smartest one in the room, you are probably in the wrong room… which is often taken literally, of course, it’s not quite accurate but the advice still holds true… There will always be someone who knows more than you or is better than you at something. The ‘wrong room’ is a metaphor for the wrong mindset. If you feel like you cannot learn anything from the people around you (people in the room) then by all means find another room…

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However, according to Dallon Christensen; there is a place in business for being the smartest, e.g.; educate customers about your business, the market, the industry, the competitive environment… Be the smartest person in the room when it comes to your specialty. Show your smartness and give customers a glimpse of what it would be like to work with you… As a core strategy in business, consider yourself a teacher and educate– customers, partners… and show them that you have experience, expertise to fulfill their needs… you want people to trust your capabilities, so be the smartest person in the room and provide them with something memorable…

In the article It Doesn’t Matter If You’re Smartest Person In The Room by Kyle Irwin writes: How do you know you’re the smartest person in the room? There’s no way to definitively rate how ‘smart’ someone is overall. Sure you can test people in specific subjects, but as far as knowing and ranking people in overall smartness– its absurd…

According to Alastair Dryburgh; the dynamics of smartest person in the room work something like this; as you develop experience and expertise you may very well be the smartest person in the room for a specific area but as you move up in management the story changes… You need to cover more and more different areas, e.g.; you may need to deal with– R&D, marketing, sales, finance… and a whole host of other things. There is no way you can be the smartest person in the room for all of these different areas. And trying to do so just means that you surround yourself with mediocrity…

So here’s a question: Who on your team is smarter than you? If nobody comes to mind, be worried; you career probably wouldn’t be going much further…

In the article Let Go of Your Need to Be the Smartest Person in the Room by Art Petty writes: One of the most common and damaging ‘blind spots’ for a leader is compulsion to consistently demonstrate that they are the smartest person in the room… Many well-intentioned leaders don’t recognize their own smartest-person-in-the-room behaviors. They don’t realize that their greater-than-thou behavior inhibits participation from team members rather than encouraging it. By definition blind spots are difficult to see but with a little self-diagnose and some simple corrective actions, you can mitigate a few common behavior flaws, for example:

  • Final word: Leaders who struggle with smartest-person-in-the-room syndrome often operate with a false belief that being in charge means always having the answer. This can drive you to assert your opinion as the final word, and it teaches people to suppress their own ideas and wait for solutions from the person in charge…
  • Eyes, face and voice say it all: Some leaders telegraph their smartest-person-in-the-room persona through verbal and non-verbal responses. Some managers portray what is perceived as disinterest or disdain for the commentary of team members by interrupting them in mid-sentence or maintaining a facial expression that seems to ask: Why are you using up my valuable oxygen with this stupid idea? While a leader may not intend to communicate disregard or disdain, team members will pick up on visible and audible cues…
  • Ask more than tell: Questions are powerful leadership tools and more effective than orders in most circumstances. Train yourself to respond to ideas with questions that help you and others better develop ideas. Strive to understand before offering your own perspective…
  • Shut up and let others decide: While you never have to cede your right to veto an idea or approach, use this power sparingly. Through questioning and building upon the ideas of others, you can often encourage the modification or adaptation of someone else’s approach without throwing your weight around. If you must, use the line-item veto…
  • Look for the beauty in ideas, not the flaws: Some people see the beauty in an idea, while others find the flaws. A micro-managing boss sees flaws and hammers people for changes to minutiae. An effective manager acknowledges the beauty inherent in ideas and focuses questions and efforts on realizing that beauty…

In the article Are You The Smartest Person In The Room? by Cory Treffiletti writes: Are you the smartest person in the room at work? If you answer ‘yes’, then you might need to rethink how you operate in business… Humility is often overlooked personality trait in business but it’s probably one of the most important characteristics that can lead to success…

The most successful people possess a combination of smartness, confidence, ego, humility… They are smart enough to know what they ‘don’t know’ and they are always willing to hear other sides of an argument.  Approaching an argument with the willingness to be proven wrong is important… it’s the willingness to be wrong that defines a great leader… surround yourself with people who are smarter and more knowledgeable than you are… Hence you learn more because you’re forced to see challenges through the eyes of others… However when you think that you are smartest person in the room, then you need to either; take down your hubris a bit and learn some humility, or you need to start filling the room with people who know more about things than you do…

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In the article Smartest Person In The Room by Dan Oswald writes: In a study the average IQ of top performing leaders is 104. Now since the average score for an IQ test is 100 and 68% of the scores fall between 85 and 115, a score of 104 is exactly ‘average’… And maybe that’s why most CEOs don’t brag about their smartness and why no one seems to be drawing a parallel between IQ and successful leadership.

Maybe this is why autocratic forms of leadership have come under attack in recent decades. Autocratic leaders often think that they are the ‘smartest person in the room’ and they make decision based only on their own ideas and judgments and rarely seek the advice of group members… even though the average autocratic leader is no smarter than the rest of the group…

In the article Never Think You Are The Smartest Person In The Room by Howard Lewinter writes: There are business leaders who believe they are the smartest person in the room and choose never to listen to what others have to say… In business, you can rarely think that you are the smartest person in the room; if and when you do you instantly lose the opportunity to connect with people… A true business leader listens to what others have to say, asks questions and listens…

As a leader, you must rely on team members to be smarter than you in their area of expertise, e.g.; For sales? Ask and listen to sales force… For products, services? Ask and listen to marketing people… For customer service? Ask and listen to customer service team… The point is that your team should be the smartest in the room for their area of responsibility…

So never act like you are the smartest person in the room just– listen, ask questions… However, there are times when you must take the lead and be smartest person in the room, i.e.; give directions, make decisions… The key is finding the right balance…

In the article Why the Smartest Guy in the Room Isn’t by Anthony Iannarino writes: To build a successful business you must have the situational smartness that will reassure  customers, partners, stakeholders… that you can solve all the issues… But it’s counter-productive even dangerous to suggest that only you have the best ideas… that you are the smartest person in the room and quickly dismiss other people’s (i.e., customers, partners…) thoughts, concerns, ideas, suggestions…

People can quickly pick-up your greater-than-thou attitude– the smugness, patronizing look, body language, and facial expressions. They all give away the fact that you do not value other people’s ideas… and yes, your ideas may be the smartest… but that misses the point; you must at least listen, understand that other people, especially customers, want to be heard…

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For some people being the smartest person in the room is important– it’s an ego thing– but sometimes it’s nothing more than being the smartest person in a room full of idiots, dummies… According to Ken Okel; the challenge is that while you may be the smartest in that room… that doesn’t mean you are smartest in the ever-changing business world…

Being the smartest whether it’s in– your team, your business, your industry… requires an ongoing commitment to learning, listening… otherwise the idiots in the room may realize that you’re not so smart, after all… According to Rachelle Gardner; surrounding yourselves with people ‘smarter’ than you; people who are already at a place where you want to be, people who inspire and encourage you toward goals… that’s the  ultimate smartness– It’s great to work with people who’s ‘smarts’ make you smarter…

The ‘Big Push Model’– Critical For Business Success– Create a Domino Effect: Success or Failure is a Chain of Actions…

Getting to be Number One: The Domino Effect is a series of chain reactions that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then causes another similar change, and so on… in linear sequence. The term is best known as a mechanical effect, and is used as an analogy to– a row of falling dominoes…

The effect is also known as a chain reaction, or snow ball effect, or cascade effect, or butterfly effect, or avalanche effect… It can be used literally (as observed series of actual collisions) or metaphorically (as causal linkages within systems, such as; business, finance, politics…).

According to Gary Keller and Jay Papasan in their book ‘The One Thing’; every person’s routine has a  potential ‘domino effect’ and by toppling the first ‘one thing’ (that first domino) it will begin a chain of reactions to a final outcome… But the key is to identify and focus-on that ‘one thing’ that begins the chain of movement– action/reactions (like a series of dominos)…

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Hence that little domino, that small action, that first step… can start a ripple effect, chain reaction that can result in great success, or like wise if that chain reaction is in the wrong direction it can result in failure.

According to Herb Morreale; it might seem daunting that one person can change the direction and effectiveness of a business but simply taking one action, one step (i.e., knocking-over that first domino), which sets into motion a series of events culminating in either; success or failure… Similar to placing a series of dominos on end and with simple push they knock each other over in succession– its due to energy transferred by impact of each domino against each other.

Domino theory is framework that can help business people understand that no matter how large or small their hopes and dreams, it can be accomplished by seeing the world as a set of dominos. All it takes is one small strategic action to set ‘things’ in motion… with alignment of the actions of others…

In the article Unstoppable Success: Domino Effect by Andrew and Pete write: Achieving great things often starts with a first action; the first domino… People often ask: Where do I start? How do I achieve greatness? All good questions and the answer can be had with one simply analogy; the domino effect... What/where is that first domino that will trigger an unstoppable chain reaction knocking over every other obstacle in the path to success.

It’s powerful effect but all too often people follow the advice of many pundits who say; start off small and grow slowly to achieve success… but it’s a fallacy, don’t believe it… Since most people are adverse to failure they take a very cautious approach in business and set ‘minimal’ goals with the ‘hope’ they can make incremental progress to a better business, but typically the reverse happens…

Remember the quote by Norman Vincent Peale: Shoot for the moon and even if you miss it you will land among the stars. That is exactly the point, dare and reach for an ambitious first domino; it’s easier than you think; and even if you fail and you will: A) be proud that you tried: B) you are further ahead than if you set minimal goals… Minimal goals mean that you are not pushing the business, which means that you are destined for mediocrity and not achieve true potential…

Hence be bold and take a giant leap and figure out where/what that first domino is for the business… then work smart to achieve it… Once you knock-over that first domino, everything else becomes so much easier… that chain reaction is in motion and the big dream for success is within reach…

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In the article Domino Effect For Extraordinary Results by Andrey Sergeyev writes: Getting extraordinary results is all about creating a ‘domino effect’ in business… According to BJ Thornton; every great change is like a series of falling dominoes… Toppling dominoes is pretty straightforward; you line them up and tip over the first one… however, in business it’s a bit more complicated.

Rarely is a business positioned in a predictable line where everything is prepared for– a simply push… and highly successful businesses know it. So every day they line-up priorities, find or position the lead domino, aligned the required chain of actions, and then manage and motivate the process… This approach works because extraordinary success is sequential– first you do the right thing and then do the next right thing…

Success is built sequential; it’s one thing at a time; just like geometric progression, when you line up the dominoes correctly, it only takes the– smallest push, smallest action… to start the chain of events that will achieve goals… But the critical challenge is to identify the– ‘what/where’ of the first action (first domino) and execute it, such that the impact of the action will create a series of events that will result in the desired outcome…

According to Gary Keller and Jay Papasan; think ambitiously, think big ideas, and don’t let the fear of failure detract your quest for a successful business– shoot for the moon– put all energy into accomplishing the ‘one thing’ (the first domino) that gets the process started…

In the article Domino Effect– Don’t Play Games With Organizational Success by Scott Span writes: Have you ever played dominos? If so, you know how long it takes to set-up the pieces in what ever pattern you choose. Yet regardless of how long it takes to set-up the pieces– once you push that first piece over, it takes just seconds to cause the chain reaction that brings everything to completion…

Dominos are a learning lesson when it comes to business, e.g.; an organization will spend months, if not years, setting-up the business pieces in a pattern such that they think will yield a successful outcome… But then someone adjusts or replaces one piece and that change inadvertently knocks-over other pieces, and that causes a chain reaction– the domino effect… Remember the ‘domino effect’ can either work for your business or against it… it’s a linear sequence of events– it connects sequences of events or linkages within a system that can either produce the– desired good outcome, or run amok and create a crisis…

Regardless of the catalyst that sets the dominos in motion is some type of change– businesses need to navigate these changes carefully and be sure the changes, or the people making the changes, don’t over or under react and make the process worse… Unfortunately most businesses don’t approach changes with a systemic focus– often most business don’t take into consideration all the interconnects of organizations.  Linkages that could set domino effect into motion, which  impacts  implementation  of potential changes to the business, and its overall sustainability…

An organization is an  interconnected system; changes in one area have a direct impact on changes in other areas. Hence, even though the pieces to the business aren’t actually dominoes– you should treat them as such…

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The physics of dominoes is very simple: You place one behind the next and continue this pattern until you are ready to knock them over… Social media work this way; connect with someone on Twitter they check out your blog, then refer a friend to an article and now their friend is checking you out and buying a product or service; it’s a domino effect.

Every action you take, whether you give amazing customer service, write blog post, tweet, leave a comment on Facebook or create something so amazing that people cannot help but tell friends about it. The more people who are talking about you, the more dominoes you have in place and the more chances you have for engaging a group of fans for your business…

However, the problem with dominos is when they are spread too far apart they miss out on hitting the next one, and hence they won’t gain any traction within a community to create excitement, build trust, make sales… According to John Woods; everything affects everything else in one way or another. Whether you are aware of that or not does not change the fact that this is what is happening…

Your business is a system and you must understand it, in order to better manage it– all actions within your business are connected and each action will reverberate throughout the entire business with some outcome, intended or not… The potential for a ‘domino effect’ lurks in shadows of all businesses– it a catalyst for growth and success, or crisis and failure…