Monday, April 20, 2015

Everything Korea - Global Dynasties and Korean Business

2 short mentions before we jump into today’s topic: Global Dynasties and Korean Business.

     1.     The Korea Society NYC May 6.  To be recorded and then available.
     2.     Get your copy of  “Korea Perspective”—Amazon Kindle, Nook, iBook, or Free PDF version (see link below).

I’m often quizzed by the media on the subject of Korea’s Groups, their family control and succession.  Last week The Economist looked at question in two articles Family Companies and Dynasties.  I feel it places the Korean Groups and their family ownership is a much wider perspective.

                                              

   Everything Korea w/ Don Southerton

Top quote,  “Samsung and Hyundai’s net profits accounted for 81 percent of the total earning logged by the top 30 players last year, a sharp jump from the 47.5 % portion in 2010.”

1. The Korea Society

2. Complimentary Copy ‘Korea Perspective’

3. Family Companies

4. Dynasties


Questions, Comments, Thoughts?   Go to questions@koreabcw.com

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bridging Culture Worldwide Launching Korea Culture Training On-line

Beginning with its highly popular Korea 101, the Korea facing consultancy now offers programs on-demand via digital download.

Golden, Colorado (PRWEB) April 10, 2015
Bridging Culture Worldwide (BCW) provides a wide range of Korea-focused training, coaching, and consulting services beginning with Korea 101, the consultancy’s most popular workshop. For more than a decade Korea 101 has been offered in corporate live and Webinar sessions both in the United States and internationally. Thousands of participants have benefited from this training and the insights shared.
BCW CEO Don Southerton notes, “For the first time we are offering the Korea 101 in an on-demand online learning format. Over five lesson sessions the course builds upon current experiences, while providing new knowledge.”
Southerton adds, “Building teamwork and cross-cultural understanding is paramount to success. Misunderstandings and stress created by the differences in culture impact productivity and interfere with smooth business operations. Cross-cultural education is recognized as a solution to cultural challenges in the workplace.”
Korea 101 is a timely overview approach to Korean culture, modern history, norms and business culture. The goal of the program is to foster a better understanding of Korea and its business culture.
Topics covered include: Business and social etiquette; History and the economy of Korea; Culture (music, art and cuisine); U.S./Korean relations including North Korea; The Korean workplace, management structure, and decision-making; Popular culture and New trends, as well as, Cross-cultural insights.
The program is conducted by noted author, strategist and lecturer, Don Southerton. Don works closely with many of Korea’s top Groups including Hyundai Motor and is an experienced specialist in bridging cultures between Koreans and non-Koreans.
Don has authored numerous publications with topics centering on culture, new urbanism, entrepreneurialism and early U.S.-Korean business ventures. Southerton also extensively lectures and writes and comments on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations. He is a frequent contributor to the media (WSJ, Forbes, CNN Fortune, Bloomberg, Automotive News, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Yonhap, Korea Magazine, tbs eFM Koreascape and FSR) on Korea facing business and culture.
To learn more, go to Korea 101 On-line at http://unbouncepages.com/korea-101-buy-now/
About Bridging Culture Worldwide
Since its founding, Bridging Culture Worldwide has focused on global and Korea-related business services. Based on over 3 decades of experience, they share cross-cultural insights to global teams and management. Bridging Culture Worldwide core services include: Consulting, Strategy, and Research; Publications; along with Franchise and Licensing Development, Market Entry, Product Launch, IP, and Trademark. Visit http://www.bridgingculture.com

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Korea 101 Online Launched

Building teamwork and cross-cultural understanding is paramount to success. Misunderstandings and stress created by the differences in culture impact productivity and smooth business operations. Cross-cultural education is recognized as the chief solution to cultural challenges in the workplace.

Bridging Culture Worldwide (BCW) provides a wide range of Korea-focused training, coaching, and consulting services beginning with Korea 101.

What is Korea 101?
Korea 101 is a timely overview approach to Korean culture, modern history, norms and business culture. The goal of the program is to foster a better understanding of Korea and its business culture.

What are topics covered?
Business and social etiquette
History and economy of Korea
Culture (music, art and cuisine)
U.S./Korean relations including North Korea
The Korean workplace, management structure, and decision-making
Popular culture
New trends
Cross-cultural insights

Tell me more
For the first time we are offering Korea 101 in an on-demand online learning format.  The intent of each of the five lesson sessions is to build upon the current experiences, while providing new knowledge and insights.

Korea 101 has been offered in corporate Live and Webinar sessions both in the United States and internationally for more than a decade.  Thousands of participants have benefited from training and the insights it shares.

The program is conducted by noted author, strategist and lecturer, Don Southerton CEO and President of Bridging Culture Worldwide. Don works closely with many of Korea’s top Groups such as Hyundai Motor and is an experienced specialist in bridging cultures between Korean and non-Koreans. His firm, Bridging Culture Worldwide, is a Golden, Colorado, Irvine, California, and Seoul, South Korea, which offers programs and consulting to help management and employees appreciate and understand Korean culture and business relations.  

Noted Korea Business Expert Don Southerton
Don has authored numerous publications with topics centering on culture, new urbanism, entrepreneurialism and early U.S.-Korean business ventures. Southerton also extensively lectures and writes and comments on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations. He is a frequent contributor to the media (WSJ, Forbes, CNN Fortune, Bloomberg, Automotive News, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Yonhap, Korea Magazine, eFM tbs Koreascape and FSR) on Korea facing business and culture.

Outcomes  include:
A strong understanding of Korean cross-cultural differences and their relevance to Korean workplace culture.
Reduce tensions and frustrations rooted in cross-cultural issues.
Better morale and team spirit.
Support for interacting with Korean teams assigned to local operations.

The Cost for the 5 web-based on-demand learning sessions in $495.00.







Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hyundai MotorStudio Digital: An Interactive Brand Experience


Very cool. 

In 2014, I visited the Hyundai MotorStudio, an impressive five story building at a major intersection in Seoul’s style and fashion Gangnam district. The MotorStudio differs from the local competition in that the purpose of the showroom is not to sell you a car but rather to share the Hyundai’s brand direction of “modern premium”.  I have come to understand this to be a set of values less about luxury cars and more about striving to go beyond what customers expect in merging performance with reasonable pricing and fluid style.

While in Seoul last week, I came upon the new HyundaiStudio Digital in the COEX Mall complex.  My timing could not have been better since after my day of meetings and media interviews, including visiting the Hyundai Motor Company global HQ, I was able to attend the Grand Opening of the HyundaiStudio Digital experience. 

Targeting Seoul’s younger generation, the Studio shares the car brand through a mix of lecture and interactive technology—touch screens and 3D headsets. Interestingly, the lecture’s focus was the impact of digital technology across society versus pitching the car brand. I see this as a smart approach with studies showing the need to tailor sales marketing to Millennial and the current generation, the Digital center refers to as Homeland Gen 2005.

I expect to see more of these HyundaiStudio Design experiences launched in other high foot traffic Hyundai markets globally. 


Questions, Comments, Thoughts? 


About the author
Don Southerton has a life-long interest in Korea and the rich culture of the country. He has authored numerous publications with topics centering on culture, new urbanism, entrepreneurialism and early U.S.-Korean business ventures. Southerton also extensively lectures and writes and comments on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations. He is a frequent contributor to the media (WSJ, Forbes, CNN Fortune, Bloomberg, Automotive News, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Yonhap, Korea Magazine, and FSR) on Korea facing business and culture. He heads Bridging Culture Worldwide a Golden, Colorado based company that provides strategy, consulting and training to Korea-based global business including the Hyundai Motor Group. An avid martial artist, Southerton has pursued the practice and study of Korean traditional arts for more than forty years.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Global Approach: A Roadmap For Korea Management Teams, Part Three

Our suggestions and some guidelines for selecting the right local management. 

In Part 2, we noted the major issue in staffing an overseas operation is not in the recruitment of a local Korean resident over a Korean expatriate or a westerner but in the hiring of a highly qualified individual—Korean or Westerner. Setting aside my personal bias, I have worked under all three scenarios and found times when each scenario worked well and times when each was less than successful

I find that even the leading Korean groups with decades of international presence have no one model for staffing their overseas operations leadership (COO and CEO/President level).  Therefore, it is not surprising that I see the Korean brands new to overseas expansion facing the same dilemma when they look to go global.

To restate the options with some additional elaborating:
1. In some cases, Korean expatriates serve as key leadership for a subsidiary.   
The best scenario is when this Korean management receives the assignment after a career in the Group’s overseas divisions with past positions in Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific or the Americas.   

2. In other situations, local non-Korean talent holds the executive level positions. An equally strong model is when the Western leadership has held long time management positions in the organization and over time has gained the trust of Korean leadership and has risen internally to Executive Vice President, COO and CEO/ President ranks. 

As I note, both situations have merit and can work quite well.    

This said, there are a number of situations that do not work as well. 
3. In particular staffing senior executive ranks with westerners who may be seasoned industry veterans and may even come into the situation fully acknowledging the need to accommodate Korea facing nuances has pitfalls.  In actuality the expectations of these new hires are that the Koreans will step aside in key decisions and let the westerners “run things.”  Adding to this flawed expectation, they assume they will have the ability to communicate upward in the organization only to find they have limited direct dialogue with Korea with most approvals and information to and from headquarters channeled through Korea expatriates in the local office.

4. What also works poorly is assigning talented Koreans who may have had successful careers within the organization in other positions, such as logistics, audit or finance, but have little or no specific experience in other business sectors. When newly assigned to a top leadership role in overseas’ market, they do over time come to understand the new responsibilities and the local market, but this typically occurs at a huge cost in ramp up time.

As one insightful reader with considerable first hand experience has shared, “The lack of industry knowledge leads to indecision and changing decisions based on influence from [their Korean] colleagues as opposed to decisions being taken on the basis of real understanding and experience of the market.”

Even in cases in which the expatriate may have an excellent track record in growing their brand in an emerging market, running an organization in a mature market, for example, North America, takes a seasoned professional. 

5. A more recent approach to staffing has been the hiring of high potential Korean talent from outside the company and assigning them leadership roles abroad. In part, the thought is that a new perspective will spur even further growth.  Sadly, the local organization (expat Korean and westerners) and their partners often find this new blood hinders growth since the new talent may have little or no support network and may lack industry and market insights.


All Said.
I strongly recommend supporting ALL overseas’ leadership, regardless of model chosen. This support must be more than the usual department by department updates. Mentoring and coaching is the key. Because experience and skills vary, each program must be tailored to address individual needs.

More significantly, successful mentoring requires a coach who understands both Korean and western business, not to mention the specific Korea-based firm and the industry in general. 

Frankly, I often serve in this role. Working across groups, such as the Hyundai Motor Group in the US, Korea and internationally, over the years, I have found that needs and circumstances vary even among sister companies.

Expecting leadership to simply "get it" seldom works—and even if this happens, this approach takes time, is costly, and contributes to stress, poor productivity and even employee turnover.

As an example
A few years ago, I had a conversation with a Korea-based C-level executive who was being let go from a top 5 Korean group at the end of his contract. The western executive openly shared the challenges of working for the Korea firm.  He was most surprised by the lack of orientation and training programs. Senior level executives had to take it upon themselves to learn the nuances of the company. Their Korean peers were sensitive to the situation but acknowledged that few resources were in place for these activities.  Instead there was an expectation that the executive would quickly adjust and engage in work as they would in any other company.


A forthcoming Part 4 will then conclude the series, and provide similar thoughts on selecting business partners and vendors.

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Disclosure
In this series of commentaries I depart from a previous focus on sharing insights specifically to non-Korean global teams working for Korean companies.

Instead I now provide a roadmap and best practices to Korean management and overseas divisions.  This includes new Korean brands eager to launch their products and services outside Korea. 

The series is also applicable to established Korean brands already in overseas markets who could benefit from benchmarking “what works” and “what doesn’t.”  

Frankly, too often I see the same missteps re-occurring.  What is frustrating is witnessing one company enduring the challenges in their market entry only to see the same scenario repeated by another Korean brand entering the global market. . 

So what are these common missteps and how can they be addressed?  That is goal of this commentary.