The Key to Winning in Global Markets

Winning Global MarketsAs a Kellogg Graduate School of Management alumnus, it was a true honor to receive a copy of the most recent book by Philip Kotler, our prestigious S.C. Johnson and Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing. Co-authored by Milton Kotler, “Winning Global Markets” lays out the case that, “The destiny of the economic world today is in the hands of the interplay between global MNCs (multi-national corporations) and global cities.”

The book does a very effective job at proving this claim.

Replete with global examples, the authors clearly show how “an inversion is taking place between the role of the nation and the role of its cities.” They create a compelling case that it is the multi-national corporation that has the power to create wealth for a city and to drastically change its cultural and civic landscape, and global cities that are more attractive economically than their countries as a whole. “Mid-size and large cities in developing countries generally have a growth rate exceeding that of their host countries,” say the authors, and “top cities have grown faster in GDP than the rate of their country’s GDP growth. Major cities are the source of a nation’s wealth, not the other way around.”

FOR MARKETERS

Thus, for marketers, this book turns on its head the current approach for determining where to expand globally for the greatest gain. Until now, the practice has been to consider which regions in which to expand, and then narrow it down to countries, only to select a city toward the end of the process after much negotiation with national government officials. The authors call this practice ‘out-of-date,’ asserting, “Business and marketing organizations have to overcome decades of thinking that global market expansion has to proceed at a global regional level and a country level…The strategic tendency of company marketers is to investigate opportunities at a national level and do business at a centralized government level. We call this the diplomatic route and it is out of date. Economic growth is not happening at the national level. Company marketers have to shift their focus to global city growth, and they must mine city region-level economic data for company growth opportunities.”

The book presents a clear process for doing this, along with concrete examples of companies that are successfully targeting global cities based on specific industry and supply needs.

FOR CITIES

On the flip-side, the book recognizes the imperative for cities to be exceptional marketers in their own right, attracting the right MNCs to their cities to fuel growth and wealth. “The presence of large global companies and their affiliates determines the wealth of cities and the well-being of their citizens. MNC’s have been the greatest cause of growing the middle classes of global cities.”

Just as marketers need to transform their old belief systems about how to approach the globalization process, so too do cities need to rethink their strategy of economic growth: “Conventional city economic planning emphasizes support for existing local small businesses and generation of new small business start-ups…For city economies to grow to global-city status, they have to attract mid sized and large MNC company headquarters and their business divisions. Support for small business is important, but it will not make a city great.”

The book then goes on to outline exactly how cities should be marketing themselves to compete for MNCs, and how nations can help their city economies.

I highly recommend this book for every marketer tasked with global strategy decisions, at all levels of a corporation, and every government official interested in enabling their city or country to truly thrive in the new global economy. The rules have changed. As Kotler and Kotler deftly show, to win global markets you have to keep up.

Are You Sure the Life You Are Living is Your Own?

Dream what you want to dreamAre you living in a marriage where you have had to change who you are, or have lost sight of yourself completely, just to avoid conflict and minimize fear?

Are you working in a particular job or industry because your parents or spouse told you it was the responsible choice?

Are you a woman who would rather be at home with your kids but other women say your leadership role is an inspiration to many and you would be letting them down if you chose to stay at home? Or a man who would prefer to stay at home and you believe society – and your friends – would judge you negatively?

Are you leading your team down a path you don’t believe in because the executive suite said it was the only path allowed?

Are you in a role that you’re not really passionate about, and you feel like there is so much more out there for you?

Then whose life are you living?

We all have responsibilities to our families that of course must be respected and fulfilled, and it is important to be sensitive to the needs of others. But at what point do we realize how easy it is to use these responsibilities as an excuse for why we are not choosing – on purpose and with our whole hearts – to live true to who we are and what we really want for ourselves? To choose to be all of who we were created to be, knowing that we are meant to evolve and grow over the course of our lives?

In my current roles I come across so many people who are simply not fulfilled, feeling as though they are missing out on something important but not really sure what that might be. Others know that they are not living a life aligned with their true self, but are unsure of how to make the (sometimes) difficult transition to the life they are meant to be living.

What I advise each person is usually so personal, but begins with:

  • Light a candle (if you have one), find a quiet place where you are at peace and connect with your soul. Think about it as a beautiful light inside you that is bursting forth from within, and that has all the answers you are seeking.
  • Ask yourself the questions that come immediately to your mind and listen to what bubbles up from within you. You will be astounded to know how easily the answers come when you call them forward. Often these are answers that you intuitively knew all along.
  • Write down what you asked and what you received. Then write down what stands in the way for you, be it fears, old belief systems, or aspects of your life you need to address.
  • Think of three ways you can immediately begin working toward moving those blocks so that you are more aligned in your life with what you want – with your truest wishes. Write down these three steps and commit to them wholeheartedly.
  • Rinse and repeat

And watch as changes in your life begin to unfold in a beautiful and profound way. Changes that, at the end of each day, empower you to say, “Today I lived every second true to who I am.”

Photo is Dream What You Want to Dream by Rejik.

The Secret of Leaders Who Are Ahead of Their Time

Time Waits for No ManI did an interview a few days ago where I was asked about the importance of introverts and extroverts understanding each other in business. My response included something along the lines of, “Business is all about relationships. We create products, services, and companies by working with other people to bring these things to life. Along the way we share ideas, we negotiate, we brainstorm, we listen, and unfortunately sometimes we misunderstand each other. The more we work to better understand each other, the easier it is to reach our goals together.”

I believe this premise wholeheartedly – that relationships are the foundation of business, not just between introverts and extroverts – which is why I never understood some people’s belief that emotions should never be part of business. Emotions are part of who we are as humans, we cannot deny them. They affect how we work with our boss, colleagues, negotiation partners, suppliers, and everyone we come into contact with, regardless of whether we try to hide them from others or not. 

Thus, the more we understand ourselves and our emotions, and the source of our emotions, the better we will understand why we interact with others the way we do, and the more successful we will be in business and life. 

But understanding ourselves and our emotions is not easy. It requires being honest with ourselves about past hurts, old belief systems, and doing the arduous work of forgiving ourselves and others, and of releasing the emotions -and their source- that no longer serve our higher good. Let’s be honest, it’s so much easier to just complain than to do the work to make positive change in ourselves.

So, I was thrilled to see the article about “conscious uncoupling” by Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami that became mainstream last week, accompanying the announcement of the uncoupling of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. While many people are focusing on the “uncoupling” aspect of the article, I particularly appreciated its anthropological look at our emotional support structures and how they impact our relationships. While the article was examining intimate relationships, the lessons applied to all relationships including those we create in business:

“Life is a spiritual exercise in evolving from an exoskeleton for support and survival to an endoskeleton. Think about it. When we get our emotional support and well-being from outside ourselves, everything someone says or does can set us off and ruin our day. Since we can’t control or predict what another person does, our moods are at the mercy of our environment…Everything is then perceived as a personal attack and attempt to upset us. Up goes our armor and it’s all-out war.

With an internal support structure, we can stand strong because our stability doesn’t depend on anything outside ourselves. We can be vulnerable and pay attention to what’s happening around us, knowing that whatever comes, we have the flexibility to adapt to the situation. There’s a reason we call cowards spineless: It takes great courage to drop your armor, expose your soft inside, and come to terms with the reality of what’s happening around you. It’s a powerful thing to then realize that you can survive it…When we learn to find our emotional and spiritual support from inside ourselves, nothing that changes our environment or relationships can unsettle us.”

Think about how what Drs. Sadeghi and Sami say applies to leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who have chaos swirling about them at all times. Those who are able to do the work to allow their emotional and spiritual support to come from within themselves will be most adaptable. They will survive, and they will thrive. They will be the ones who rise to success in all aspects of their life.

It’s time to stop denying the importance of self-awareness and actualization in the business world. And while it may be ahead of it’s time, I believe the real leaders of the future will be those who understand this and begin the work of self-discovery that leads to the courage to drop your armor in order to survive, thrive and rise.

My business partner, an award winning and brilliant businesswoman in addition to a divine intuitive energy healer, has named this work, “WorQ,” with the Q symbolizing the soul’s journey of self-discovery that we are all on. She defines worQ as the work you take on to work on yourself, to reconnect to your Higher Self, your Soul:

“We all have our own tree of life, rooted through our soul’s path and connected to our divine light, our source. The WorQ awakens more of this path for you lighting up the areas of your life that need to be “pruned” for a stronger, more fruitful you. Along our journeys we all grow, evolve and experience life through our own perceived understanding. As we grow and evolve and branch out into our lives, we recognize that we have changed along the way. This change opens our hearts to more. Through the WorQ many wonderful changes will happen as you take special care of healing your heart’s truest emotions to uncover your heart’s true desire.”

Some will call this “woo-woo.” Others will recognize it as very powerful ancient wisdom. Ancient, but ahead of its time, and no less powerful than it was in past millennia. ~~~

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*Photo is Time Waits for No Man by Nicole on Flickr.