Tag Archive for Korea consulting franchise

Everything Korea, Episode January 25, the Second Strategy

This week I’ll be sharing the second of my time-proven approaches to Korea facing business.

This strategy is taking a Pilot or Trial Approach…. Recognizing the strong Korean cultural risk avoidance tendencies, I recommend offering a limited trial program as an option to mitigate fears and concerns—with costs scaled down proportionately from a bolder rollout.  Depending on the project, this often can be demonstrated in a test market or dialed back to limit in scope.

In all cases, the pilot program needs to be flexible to expand in stages with associated incremental costs.

There is one caveat to this approach I often see taken in Korea.  Once they test market a project and then decide to move forward, they execute a full rollout incredibly fast.  My advice is to plan accordingly in advance with an action plan that includes a rapid roll out…. the faster the better.

This said, and as many of you have probably surmised, Strategy 1 and 2 do work well in tandem. This begs the question, “So what would I add to ensure success?”

In particular, as a next step I would present the two strategies in a special format for Korean leadership. In fact, I’ll cover this in my next commentary.

In closing, if you have questions on implementing the strategies I have outlined, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Oh, one more thing, the Lunar New Year.

As you may know Korea (as well as China and Vietnam) celebrate two New Years’– one on Jan. 1 and the Lunar New Year celebration, which this year falls on February

7th to 10th. Following Korean zodiac tradition this is the Year of the Red Monkey. A year of energy, liveliness and success. More on the Lunar New Years and appropriate greeting in the next post, too.

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Everything Korea: January 18 Episode, Strategy #1

Last week I promised to share my strategies for tackling Korean facing business.

Strategy #1

First, instead of the common western approach founded in considerable upfront research, discussion and review in which a sole, singular course of action is recommended—it’s best to instead prepare three options with their related costs.

This approach allows Korean senior management to consider alternatives, a common decision-making methodology in Korea.

Some background on “Why 3 options?”  Stepping back to the mid-2000s and a joint American and Korean management workshop that I facilitated for a client, one of Korean team managers pointed out that in Korea it was norm to present multiple options. He explained that to support their leadership’s decision-making at least 3 options would be prepared for his seniors… and as many as 5 if the proposal was going to be elevated for review by their Chairman.

In most cases, following this initial presentation, leadership would ask for additional details requiring the team to drill deeper prior to a decision. All said, this process resulted in an approved course of action.

I also recall how not following this model can have consequence. I was called upon by a frequent Agency of the Year winner to assist in dealing with their Korean client and a relationship troubling the agency’s dedicated account team.  Probing, I found the agency had presented what they felt was the best plan for their client—a well thought out global branding campaign for which the agency was confident in their decision.

The Korean client feedback was less than expected and came as a shock to the agency team. In my asking, and of little surprise to me, the Korean client was disappointed and had high hopes for a range of ideas from the agency.  They had expected to be dazzled with creativity and not just a single idea. In my opinion this was driven by the advertising agency’s world class and award-winning creative reputation.

In following up with the Korean client, I recommended the agency also present the preliminary concept work which they had developed internally prior to picking what they felt was the best. This would allow the client to have voice in the decision. Sadly, the agency was rigid in their thinking, feeling they had submitted their top work and that was sufficient. Not surprisingly, they parted ways some time later.

Again, presenting options is key. Next week, I’ll share a second Strategy, so in the meantime if you have specific questions on how best to format and present presenting options, I’d be happy to discuss.

Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time. Getting my weekly newsletter?

Getting my weekly newsletter?If not, here’s the link to subscribe. Look for exclusive insights and opinions.

If not, here’s the link to subscribe. Look for exclusive insights and opinions.

http://forms.aweber.com/form/64/2141090564.htm

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Everything Korea: January 18 Episode, Strategy #1

Last week I promised to share my strategies for tackling Korean facing business.

Strategy #1

First, instead of the common western approach founded in considerable upfront research, discussion and review in which a sole, singular course of action is recommended—it’s best to instead prepare three options with their related costs.

This approach allows Korean senior management to consider alternatives, a common decision-making methodology in Korea.

Some background on “Why 3 options?”  Stepping back to the mid-2000s and a joint American and Korean management workshop that I facilitated for a client, one of Korean team managers pointed out that in Korea it was norm to present multiple options.  He explained that to support their leadership’s decision-making at least 3 options would be prepared for his seniors… and as many as 5 if the proposal was going to be elevated for review by their Chairman.

In most cases, following this initial presentation, leadership would ask for additional details requiring the team to drill deeper prior to a decision. All said, this process resulted in an approved course of action.

I also recall how not following this model can have consequence. I was called upon by a frequent Agency of the Year winner to assist in dealing with their Korean client and a relationship troubling the agency’s dedicated account team.  Probing, I found the agency had presented what they felt was the best plan for their client—a well thought out global branding campaign for which the agency was confident in their decision.

The Korean client feedback was less than expected and came as a shock to the agency team. In my asking, and of little surprise to me, the Korean client was disappointed and had high hopes for a range of ideas from the agency.  They had expected to be dazzled with creativity and not just a single idea. In my opinion, this was driven by the advertising agency’s world-class and award-winning creative reputation.

In following up with the Korean client, I recommended the agency also present the preliminary concept work which they had developed internally prior to picking what they felt was the best. This would allow the client to have voice in the decision.  Sadly, the agency was rigid in their thinking, feeling they had submitted their top work and that was sufficient. Not surprisingly, they parted ways some time later.

Again, presenting options is key. Next week, I’ll share a second Strategy, so in the meantime if you have specific questions on how best to format and present presenting options, I’d be happy to discuss.

Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Getting my weekly newsletter? If not, here’s the link to subscribe. Look for exclusive insights and opinions.

http://forms.aweber.com/form/64/2141090564.htm

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Everything Korea: January 11 Episode, a 2016 Re-boot, The Process

https://youtu.be/Whg6Fl0gwQYPanel-2 (1)

I consider my mission to be akin to the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats.” I work to build bridges among the members of Korean, American and global teams. I feel the issues and impasses that surface are less about “them and us”.  Frankly, it’s more about working through the issue and collaboration, and rather timely with the challenges of the new year ahead,

So, for starters….

I share Korea-facing business situations, issues and challenges using a methodology to first uncover and state the problem and then present solutions and workarounds.

That said, at times readers of my BCW Vodcasts, media commentaries and publications question, “Don, you highlight the problem and indicate that there are solutions, but why not provide details on these workarounds?”

I admit that offering detailed workarounds to the public would be beneficial.

However, as a consultancy I do provide these services to clients after fully understanding the circumstances.  On a side note… I was once reminded by a top client CEO that I was so forthcoming that in his opinion I was “giving away the razor blades, but only charging for the handle”—not a very smart business model.

Still, I’d like to share with you my two-step process, which I hope will be insightful. These two strategies are time proven and align well cross-culturally. In fact, in the next episode I will provide a detailed approach to both strategies.

In the meantime, if urgent I would be happy to provide you with details on the process.

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, mypersonal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Finally, I look forward to supporting you and your team in 2016.

Oh, one more thing for 2016.…. I have re-booted and enhanced greatly my weeklycommentary. Here’s the link if you are not already receiving. Look for exclusive insights and opinions. http://forms.aweber.com/form/64/2141090564.htm

 

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Everything Korea, Best of 2015—an encore Episode, Embrace and Immerse From May 18

In this week’s Everything Korea my thoughts again turn to discussing why some Korean businesses do well outside Korea, while others struggle.

A caveat is tied to last week’s episode where although Korea entrepreneurs have and continue to launch some amazing new startup concepts—few ever gain the stellar funding and success achieved by similar startups the US in the past or now with concepts like Periscope, Meerkat or my favorite Super.me.

Frankly what works well in Korea may not work well outside Korea and with regard to the Startup Model even work within Korea. Same thing goes for global brands, what works well in each respective country or region needs some if not substantial localization—localizations a catch phrase that everyone agrees to but few truly embrace.

In particular, I see with Korea brands looking outside Korea to often the same missteps re-occurring.  In my recent case study “A Global Approach: For Korea Management Teams” I address many of the challenges.  See the link below for a copy of the study.  http://unbouncepages.com/case-study-fb/

So what are some steps in my opinion for 1) Korean brands already having a global footprint, or 2) brands that wish to expand outside Korea, or 3) domestic Korea startups, all need to take?

I’ll talk more on this in the next episode, but for a first step–embrace and immerse in the local culture, market norms and success model.

What is a poor idea is for an overseas team modeling practices after the Korea operations.  This I know can be difficult–most Korean teams dispatched are most familiar with the Korean model, receive limited support to transition, or are subjected to pressure from their peers and seniors to limit the embracing of local norms over the mother company’s.  The later situation a real concern.

Again in the next episode we’ll drill deeper to the core causes of the disconnects.

Oh one more thing…

Those struggling with some of the challenges I’ve mentioned, or have issues within your organization that need to be addressed….I have blocked out my availability to chat and discuss….

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Until next time, all the best.

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Everything Korea, Best of 2015—an encore Episode, On-boarding From June 15

https://youtu.be/YjvC-Ik2oTk

I truly Vod-Dec21enjoy sharing the nuances of Korean business culture—whether through my books, Vodcasts like this one, in media interview and articles, or coaching those new to the Korea facing workplace.

Long part of my core business has been On-boarding.  In fact, this week I have a number of engagements scheduled in Southern California with some planned for San Francisco in the next future.

On-boarding or, organizational socialization is where new employees, from C-level staff to entry-level hires, acquire necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to be effective in their job.  In most cases for my work this means those employed by Korean companies, but it also includes those partners that provide services to Korean global firms  

A common false assumption taken by some is those new to the company or project “will get” the cultural nuances without considerable support.  Nothing can be more mistaken.  

I find the Struggles for non-Koreans can range from team members not dealing with matters feeling it may offend their Korea colleagues to being perplexed and frustrated why approval processes are so complex or why Finance appears to be the making final call in critical operational decisions. The later two situations covered extensively in my books Korea Facing and Korea Perspective.  See link below.

All said, my role in On-boarding is to provide context and the reasons behind Korea facing business, while over time mentoring, coaching and steering teams and C-level leadership to solutions.

If coaching and mentoring is like something you and your company can benefit from, I have blocked out some times I’m available to discuss more.

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Until next time…

Link to Don’s books

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?field-author=Donald+Southerton&index=books

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Everything Korea, December 7 Episode: Top 4 Ills

Vodcast Dec 7

Korean global business can come with some serious challenges, especially if dis-connects between teams are left unchecked. With mentoring, coaching and a strategy, it’s possible to reduce these ills, and greatly improve morale and operations.  So what are some of the common issues?  I have listed 4 that surface often, and frankly I deal with and provide solutions.

  1. A common perception is that the allegiance of Korean expatriates assigned to a local subsidiary is to the Korean HQ over local matters. This in turn drives their actions to the detriment of the local operations.  
  1. Another overarching issue is Trust, especially with the sharing of information. Many feel it is one-way (Korea requesting data and reports) but little feedback from Korea. It can even be perceived that little or poor communication exists even between HQ departments, or with their sister affiliates and suppliers.
  1. Koreans assigned to local operations need to be more receptive to change, and be more 50-50/ give and take in interactions.
  1. Local teams were hired with expectations “to Do something– Build something Grand. “  Seeing little progress this can lead to poor morale at local operations and can result in the high turnover of employees. Some feel it also taints the ability of local operations to recruit new team members within their respective industry.

Again, these concerns can be addressed and mitigated. It’s what I do.

Would you like to schedule a time to discuss your needs?  

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

Vodcast Dec 7

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Everything Korea, November 30 Episode: The Economist looks at Korean corporate culture.

This week’s episode shares thoughts from an interview with The Economist….on Korean corporate culture.  I have attached a link to a PDF version. Take a few minutes and read.  BTW The article appears in this week’s Print Edition as well in the Digital version…. Circulation 4.5 Million paper/ 2.5 million Digital …

The Article paints the Korean workplace as softening…. And I agree this is true at Hyundai Capital as they cite… and I feel Capital is perhaps one, if not the leader in crafting less restrictive and innovative workplace in Korea…

This said, and not a surprise for my viewers and readers, is how the article– in probing deeper–how many Korean companies in contrast have gotten tougher on staff … in fact it’s my point of view that this is more dominate force today in the Korean workplace especially in overseas operations, than a softening ….

TheEconomist

Don Southerton, who advises South Korean businesses on how to manage their foreign operations, says many have been “going back to basics” since the slowdown in China and other big emerging markets. Their Korean staff have reverted to working longer hours and straining to hit short-term targets, under pressure from the bosses back in Seoul. 

The article adds some companies (code word for the major Groups) in Korea appear “to be tightening the screws,” “making them stick to a strict lunch hour,” or “asking them to arrive at the office an hour earlier.”

All in all, I feel The Economist article reflects an ever-changing Korean workplace, one I share in mentoring, coaching and crafting a strategy to overcome the Challenges.

Access Link to the Article

https://www.scribd.com/doc/291417799/Loosening-their-ties-The-Economist?secret_password=vmmB0Kwqy2LdtpSRgTjj

In the meantime, would you like to schedule a time to discuss your Korea facing business questions?  

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

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Everything Korea: November 23 Episode, The New Book

Vod Nov 23

I’d like to share a short preview of my next book on Korean global business.  Following in the footsteps of my other recent publications, it will continue to provide  “knowledge of the tribe” and insights— all worthy of probably my most original title, which I will be disclosing closer to the release date along with cover art.

This said, I have always found books about Korean business and culture informative, but they can be locked in time. In other words they are relevant and accurate at their publication, but with Korea’s ever changing society and economy shifts in workplace norms, practices and attitudes the content requires constant revisions and updating.  In particular, with regard to overseas Korean operations Change is even more dramatic.  

Recognizing this challenge, I have taken an approach to my latest book sharing insights into Korea facing business by building upon a recent round of my articles, commentaries, and case studies—then all updating and revising to stay as current as possible.

Noting this, I share my observations and remarks on Korean global business —many subjects revisited while new trends are explored and all deconstructed.  

Look for publication updates as we get closer to a release date.  

In the meantime, would you like to schedule a time to discuss your Korea facing business needs?  

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

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Everything Korea, November 16 Episode: Crafting a “Way”…


Stepping back to August 2005, I was conducting cross-cultural training and coaching sessions at a manufacturing facility. In the early months of the plant operations,tensions between the American and Korean teams were mounting.

Startup operations are always a daunting task. The additional cultural dimensions and language differences only compounded the odds of having a smooth launch.Recognizing the challenges, senior Korean leadership asked if I could provide team-building workshops that would allow the respective managers to better address escalating concerns and issues.

Consensus was that the problem was “cultural”—Koreans not understanding Americans and visa-versa. I had been working across their organization for several years and I had dealt with what I thought were similar situations.

However, a few hours into the team-building workshops I uncovered the true cause of the strained relationship, but it was not what I had expected.

Most of the American teams were production veterans—hand picked because they had been top performers at Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mercedes Benz, and GM

North American plants. In contrast, the Korean teams were career employees—most having worked for a decade or more at a sister plant in South Korea.

What surfaced in discussions was that many of the new American managers had been searching in earnest for a Way—documented policies and procedures that would guide them in decision-making and day-to-day work. For example, former Toyota managers looked for a model similar to the Toyota Way, while others who had worked for Ford Motor Company sought standard operation procedure manuals (SOPS). Not finding a set Way resulted in some Americans feeling that there might be a communications and language issue. More concerning, a few hinted strongly at trust issues and that Koreans were deliberately withholding vital information.

Listening to the group, I had a realization. Over the years working with the company and other Korea-based businesses, I found sharing historic background and differences between Korean culture and other cultures as a proven, effective and commonly accepted cross-cultural learning model. Nevertheless, it became crystal clear to me that what was truly needed in this situation was to clarify and impart an intangible—the Way or vision.

A Shared Mindset

Jumping forward several years… on a number of occasions I have shared my quest to better understand the companies’ Way (and triggered by the work at the plant ) with veteran Korean staff and executives. Time and time again, I found those long employed by the Company reflecting for a moment and then stating frankly that the company’s approach was not easy to explain.

For example, one senior Korean pointed out that within company there are severa management styles and approaches to tackling an issue depending on the person’s lineage.

Groomed by their seniors, junior members of teams adopt the mentor’s methodology and leadership style—some “hard” and demanding, others “soft” and preferring collaboration.

Another executive imparted that their Way was acquired over time. He added that, with the exception of some minor differences among the sister companies, the transferring of key people among divisions, creates a shared mindset.

At a minimum, Korean teams understand the thought process and methods of others across the organization regardless of the affiliations.

The Korean executives did agree that understanding the corporate mindset by both Koreans and non-Koreans working across the organization was vital to the continued success of the Company.

In Contrast

Recognizing lessons learned in incorporating a Way in the operations of other American plants, I’d like to share a success model. In 2009 Korea based Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia’s senior leadership took a bold approach Day One. The crafted their “Kia Way.” Key elements include:

 Continuous Improvement

 One System One Team

 Effective 2-Way Communication

 Cooperative Mindset

 Harmony Ÿ Teamwork Ÿ Trust

At the core, the “Kia Way” aligns teams—Korean and American. In particular, it provides continuity as new Korean expatriates are assigned to the plant, as well as Americans formerly employed within the manufacturing industry and who join the team in Georgia.

All said, I am strong advocate of crafting a “Way,” for Korean operations overseas—one that addresses and tailored to local needs while still aligning with the global organization Culture.

Would you like to schedule a time to discuss steps to implement a “Way” in your organization?

To facilitate and with my rather demanding workload and travel, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can schedule us for a time.

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