Tag Archives: connection

Legacy and Future – let’s not throw away the past!

Strategy + Business published an article about Adidas reconnecting with its past in order to inspire its future. It reminded me of a discussion we had this week while we were “ideating” for the future of one of our organization’s business units; I mentioned the unit’s “legacy” and how this presents challenges and opportunities for the organization going forward.

In the cited article, the authors talk about how Apple, Adidas, Lego, Burberry and others came to a point where each company:

…realized that it had a distinctive history rich with memories, experiences, and signature processes that could be used to design the future — not through a slavish adherence to tradition, but through thinking differently about strategy, innovation, and products.

People and organizations all go through moments when they fail. Sometimes organizations never recover and slowly become irrelevant to their stakeholders. Case in point: Netflix vs. Blockbuster.

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Last year at the Peter Drucker Global Forum I heard Nilofer Merchant talk about “seeing around corners” in order to understand what we should expect as leaders of organizations. For those companies who have a legacy, a history, a track-record, a story, a “tribe” – sometimes it is a matter of looking at “signature” products/services/processes/experiences in a new way. Successful businesses (past, present and future) connect with stakeholders in a unique way: bringing out the best and brightest of the brand, its clients and the overall organization.

EMC

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Visual Business Inspiration September 8, 2015

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A beautiful feast for the eyes. Color, texture, shape and light.

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Ethical Systems Thinking – Connection and Purpose

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If we look at the world around us, we see systems and processes intertwining in service of humans, organizations and society. But what happens when those systems and processes break down? What happens when they no longer serve organizations, society or humans? What happens when particular interests overtake those systems, twist them, corrupt them or make them serve purposes far removed from the purpose for which they were created?

People reading this blog will know that I love innovation. I love finding connections between things and I think that systems and processes should be dynamic, flexible and transform with society and organizations. One of my favorite courses during my Masters was called “Persona y sociedad” and was an ethics courses for leaders of organizations. It was pure Peter Drucker. We explored the purpose of organizations and their role in society.

My post today is simply a reminder for current and future leaders of organizations to seek out opportunities for innovation through improvement or creation of processes and systems that serve a purpose; mediocrity or self-interests break those systems and end up serving only one person or at most a handful of particular interests. Without connection we are nothing. Even two strangers in an elevator are a temporary society – sharing a common purpose. Connection and purpose is what makes an organization relevant to stakeholders. Breaking this does nothing in the long run than break apart the organization.

EMC

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Savvy Saturday June 6, 2015

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

— Daniel H. Pink, Drive

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Savvy Saturday March 7th, 2015

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I was reminded of this wonderful quote while watching Brene Brown’s excellent presentation Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count. Here it is:

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Savvy Saturday February 14th, 2015

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.

—Peter Drucker

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Why I Love Transformation (and Sailing Ships!)

Transformation is about profound change. Peter Drucker predicted that by 2020 a new world – completely different form our grandparents’ reality – would exist. Drucker, father of modern management, explained in a 1992 essay for Harvard Business Review, that “every few hundred years throughout Western history, a sharp transformation has occurred. In a matter of decades, society altogether rearranges itself – its worldview, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions.”

It is a privilege to live through transformation; to be given the opportunity to see how society rearranges itself over the course of the years; to experience our grandparents’ reality along with our children’s triumphs and challenges. But no privilege comes without responsibility and I feel extremely responsible having been given the opportunity at a young age to take a step back and experience a bygone era; in my case, an era of sailing ships, leisure travel, unchartered waters and traditional navigational tools like compass and sextant.

Pacific Swift First Offshore

Last year I wrote about what I had learnt about leadership on a 111 foot topsail schooner. This year I am grappling with how to be leaders in an age of transformation. The 2014 Global Drucker Forum focused on Transformation: Managing Our Way to Prosperity and it got me thinking about how we are given gifts through our experience and upbringing and how these gifts – when aligned correctly – can help us be able to “see around corners” and build a future in a transforming world; a world, as Drucker says, completely different from the one our grandparents and even parents grew up in.

I grew up on sailing ships; traditional wooden sailing ships that had very few comforts beyond a bunk, a well-stocked galley kitchen, and solidly built hull and rigging. How did this prepare me for thinking about transformation? I think living simply helps us to see something right in front of all of us: humanity. I think that with a human focus and finding those things that connect us all – the shining Southern Cross constellation, dolphins playing at the bow, lava rolling into a frothy sea off the Hawaiian Islands or voices joined in chorus to accompany raising sails – we are more prepared to see how we can keep continuity, stay relevant and move towards bettering our organizational practices even in a completely transformed (and transforming) society.

Transformation is about profound change so we must dig deep to find the simple things that connect us all. We must align ourselves with human interest and a larger purpose in order to survive and be relevant as the world changes around us.

Aristotle said that society is something that precedes the individual. If society undergoes change we cannot look to further individual or even organizational goals but rather have those goals connected to something larger.

EMC

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Savvy Saturday November 22, 2014

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

— William Gibson

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Getting attention for your brand in Latin America

Chiminea
Photo: Chiminea (Blanca Gómez)

I have been helping international brands connect with their markets in Latin America for over 10 years. Here are some ideas that I have picked up over the years and want to share with you. Most of them are relevant and can be applied elsewhere – US, Canada, Europe etc.

So, here are some ways (in no particular order or linear process) for you to connect with Latin America and get the attention your brand deserves!

1) Choose your influencers
2) Make friends with the media and thought leaders
3) Tell your story – unique and compelling content
4) Solve a problem – be creative!
5) A picture is worth 1000 words – be visual

At some point in the future, I would love to delve down into each one of the items on this list but until then, I would urge you to think about your brand (and corp) values and how those apply to what you do. If you can connect with your values and with people who share the same values – especially if they are influencers and thought leaders – then your brand will get the attention you want and deserve. Coherent, simple, organic growth.

EMC

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Why Latin America? 5 ways that opportunity knocks

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Opportunity: we look for it every day. It’s what our organizations are built upon, it inspires us to create new products and it helps us set our sights and company vision on creating something of value; today’s best new ventures are those that act on an opportunity of changing (even just slightly) the status quo. But if there is opportunity at home, why consider expansion to a region like Latin America?

And that’s exactly the question posed to me this year by a group of executives in a stuffy office in downtown Quito, Ecuador. It’s an all too familiar question according to my colleagues in trade and investment promotion. Partners, clients and sponsors all want to know: “What’s the big deal about Latin America?”

Based on ten years of working in Latin America and conversations with hundreds of investors, entrepreneurs, employees and corporate executives, there are 5 reasons that seem to resurface when we talk about the “why” behind business expansion and opportunities in the region:

1) Heterogeneous
The fact that Latin America is a heterogeneous region gives companies a wide range of possibilities for market entry, collaboration and how they manage their operations. Countries in the region vary in their acceptance of foreign investment and ease of setting up a business representing opportunities for innovation, partnerships, and use of local resources. I have collaborated with international brands that have been wildly successful in this dynamic region – mainly because they didn’t try a monolithic approach to market entry and expansion in the region. BMW Group and their country specific local partnership strategy (usually allowing one well established business group to manage the brand in each country) is one example of a successful approach tailored to specific markets in the Latin American region.

2) Economic Powerhouse
Latin America represents a $4.8 trillion economy with about 600 million citizens. Brazil is seen as an economic powerhouse but there is no denying that rapidly growing Mexico and resource-rich countries like Chile, Colombia and Peru (the Andean Region) also have tremendous buying power. Buying power and growing number of consumers represents an opportunity for new ventures as well as entrenched players.

3) Burgeoning Middle Class
In the last 10 years, 50 Million Latin Americans have joined the middle class and present an opportunity for foreign companies not just as consumers but also as sources of talent from an increasingly well-educated and globally savvy middle class.

Apple is aiming to launch its first retail store in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by March 2014 in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup; the rising middle class is driving demand for consumer products and electronics and, in the future, may be a factor in the establishment of more manufacturing plants if public and private sector are able to convince the manufacturing side of business that the talent and opportunity exist in the region.

4) Connected
Mobile penetration in the region is above 100% and Latin America will have nearly 300 million Internet users by the end of 2013 and nearly 400 million by 2017. Public and private sector organizations in Latin American countries are bringing most of their service and product offerings on line making the dynamic region more connected and transparent for doing business. This also brings ample opportunity for brands – from startups to large corporations- to engage with their customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

5) People
Latin American countries have high context cultures meaning there is a real focus on relationship- building and the “context” associated with doing business. While international companies studying their market entry strategy may find these nuances daunting – such as how connected you are – it is an opportunity for foreign firms to start with a clean slate and connect with the right people – and make the right impression – from the very start.

The risk-reward argument in favor of doing business in Latin America doesn’t quite cut it anymore; Latin America used to be touted as an opportunity for brave companies to make large amounts of money: “high risk brings high reward” people would say. But after helping organizations understand, engage and grow their market in Latin America in the last ten years, I have learnt that risk-reward is not the answer to why companies should “bother” with Latin America. Ventures that want to take advantage of opportunities in the region will likely enjoy monetary rewards as well as foster innovation and learning in their organization by diversifying their market, accessing new talent and resources, building a loyal following and creating a strategic contact network.

EMC

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