Monday, February 15, 2010

Everything Korean: Famous Last Words

By Don Southerton
Welcome to this edition of Everything Korean: Insights into Korean Business sponsored by Bridging Culture Worldwide and Korean Business Central.com.

In a recent conversation with a colleague, we discussed how an American firm new to Korea contacted us and inquired how best to enter the Korean market. After some deliberation, the firm decided they would handle the Korean market launch themselves.

My colleague and I agree, they would have a rough time not going with Korea-savvy professional assistance. Sadly, I felt that by not offering their team consulting, training, and coaching, and “to handle things” themselves was in my experience “famous last words.”

Why? Well my experience has been that organizations hoping their team will “get it” and adapt quickly rarely works—even if the plan includes hiring Korean or Korean heritage staff, which is helpful in language issues, but can have little impact on dealing with more complex issues. It takes an expert and skilled specialist. In the long run not knowing you client’s company culture, norms and expectations will be costly, not only in fiscal terms, but in poor productivity, stress and frustration.

BTW This applies equally to Korean based firms expanding their global operations, foreign firms looking to enter the Korean market, or foreign firms supporting Korean global operations. In all, the decision to not forgo sharing Korean culture, norms, and expectations with the non-Korean team is a huge mistake. One consequence is employee turnover, another is poor performance, and probably the most critical is failing to meet the expectations of the Korean organization.

There are a number of positive options.
First, if you plan to enter the Korean market seek out and hire a top firm specializing in Korean market entry. Just make sure they are in tune with Korea's changing business landscape--I call this Korea 2.0. I’d be happy to recommend a few firms with great reputations.

Second, provide support across your organization to those involved in the ventures. For your home and lead teams training and coaching work well. In fact, it produces results and is much less costly than the consequences that can include lawsuits, employee turnover, and months of missed goals and low productivity--not to mention tensions between you and the client over expectations.

Third, key management need access to coaching and someone to answer their questions on topics ranging from strategy to the impact of routine management changes at their Korean partners. They also need frequent updates on Korea and your market.

To conclude,
I'm so passionate about Korea based global business that I’d to offer you and your team a complimentary evaluation and consultation--No strings attached.

To arrange the consultation you can email dsoutherton@bridgingculture.com, skype me at ds19192, or phone 1-310-866-3777.

As always, Bridging Culture Worldwide and its partners are here to assist and support 24-7-365. This is your host Don Southerton wishing you all the best.

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