ManaginG Director of India's Bharti Enterprise...Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

It would seem that despite the worldwide recession where everybody is affected, Wal-Mart defies the world trend by being able to stand tall – and expanding at that!


Reuters - Thursday, May 28

NEW DELHI, May 28 - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would open its first cash-and-carry store in India on Saturday in the northern city of Amritsar.

Bharti Wal-Mart, the joint venture between the American retailer and India's Bharti Enterprises, was scheduled to launch the store on Tuesday but had deferred following riots in the Punjab state related to an attack on a Sikh temple in the Austrian capital Vienna. [ID:nLP30824]

The store, named Best Price Modern Wholesale, will be the first of between 10 and 15 planned wholesale facilities in India, measuring about 50,000-100,000 sq ft each, and employing about 5,000 people over the next seven years.

The entry of multinational retailers into India's fragmented and tightly controlled retail industry is mired in controversy, and Wal-Mart's entry is seen as a sign of foreign investors' confidence in the country after the ruling coalition was re-elected two weeks ago.

India's retail industry, currently estimated at $500 billion, is seen rising to more than $800 billion by 2013 but less than 5 percent of the market is in the hands of modern retailers.

From Yahoo! News; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Seems like a discussion between broader minds this is…



TALK of Singapore's economy being dominated by foreign multinational corporations is "an old stereotype". Growth is driven in equal parts by foreign and local companies, as well as big corporations and their small and medium counterparts — and this shows that our economy is "as diversified as it can be", said Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

Citing 2007 data, Mr Lim said foreign and local MNCs contributed a quarter to value-add apiece, as did foreign and local SMEs.

Responding to calls by Members of Parliament (MPs) to give homegrown SMEs a leg-up, Mr Lim outlined several reasons why a "pragmatic" approach is needed in determining Singapore's economic drivers.

In adopting industries like renewable energy and digital media as emerging sectors to capture, Singapore lacks leading companies, and needs foreign MNCs to build its competitiveness. "If we are to wait for our own local companies to build up to size, then we may lose out on the opportunities of this sector over the next few years."

Many MPs are concerned protectionism by other countries could hurt Singapore's exports. But Mr Lim cautioned that in helping SMEs to grow, we should not "indulge in such protectionist policies ourselves". Singapore has to play by the rules of free trade pacts with others, and has to reciprocate the benefits given to our companies overseas.

Concerns also linger that the United States may tax its MNCs' offshore income and erode the MNC benefits Singapore offers. Mr Lim said it would monitor developments, work with the American business community, and convey that "changes like this would put the US companies at a great disadvantage".

As to criticism of Singapore's vulnerability to external demand, Mr Lim pointed out that an export strategy has enabled higher income growth in the last eight years: External demand grew by 10 per cent, twice that of domestic. "Our strategy has been to try to capture the growth opportunities when growth is good, so that we have enough resources to ride through more difficult times," he said. NEO CHAI CHIN

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted: 29 May 2009 0557 hrs

NEW YORK - The dollar traded mixed while the euro gained ground Thursday as signs of improving economic conditions prompted renewed risk appetite among investors.

At 2100 GMT, the European single currency was quoted at 1.3943 dollars, up from 1.3868 dollars late Wednesday.

The dollar rose to 96.77 yen from 95.28 yen.

Joel Kruger at Forex Capital Markets said the US dollar was "under pressure on the back of stable equity prices and very good euro demand."

The dollar weakened after data showed an unexpectedly strong 1.9 percent increase in US durable goods new orders in April and new US unemployment claims fell to 623,000 in the past week, a better reading than forecasted by most analysts.

"The dollar has not been trading at a championship level lately with it hitting lows not seen since last fall against most major currencies over the past few days," PNC Bank analysts said.

"Ironically it is the positive tone surrounding recent US releases -- another way of saying data has stopped getting worse -- which has investors chasing higher yields elsewhere."

Euro buying was boosted after a European Union survey showed business and consumer confidence in the eurozone rose in May for the second consecutive month following an almost two-year slide.

"The confidence data suggest that both businesses and consumers are becoming more upbeat over recovery prospects following the major stimulative action and banking support measures that have been enacted both by central banks and governments," said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.

"Sharply lower inflation is also clearly supporting consumer sentiment, although the upside is being limited by heightened and still rising unemployment fears."

The European Commission's economic sentiment indicator for the 16-nation bloc rose 2.1 points from April to 69.3 points. Last month, the figure was 67.2 points, a rise of 2.5, its first advance since May 2007.

In late New York trade, the dollar slipped to 1.0838 Swiss francs from 1.0890 late Wednesday.

The pound fell to 1.5943 dollars from 1.5984. - AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted: 29 May 2009 0557 hrs

Oil pumps near Baku, Azerbaijan

NEW YORK - Oil prices climbed past 65 dollars per barrel Thursday, scaling new six-month highs after the United States reported a sharper-than-expected drop in crude inventories.

Prices also rallied as the US currency dropped against the euro -- making dollar-priced oil cheaper for holders of other currencies -- and after the OPEC oil cartel said it was maintaining output at current levels.

New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, jumped as high as 65.35 dollars per barrel.

It closed 1.63 dollars higher from its closing price on Wednesday to 65.08 dollars, the highest close since November 4.

London's Brent North Sea crude for July was up 1.89 dollars at 64.39 dollars, also the highest level since early November.

The market has been pushing higher in recent days amid expectations that the economic contraction in the United States, the world's largest energy consumer, is easing.

"In the most general terms, the oil market still seems to be optimistically embracing the idea that the worst of the recession has passed," said Mike Fitzpatrick of MF Global.

"Big oil has been good for the US economy. Big oil does well when the economy is doing well and the increase that we have seen in oil prices is a sign that the economy is recovering," said Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading.

A sharp drop in crude inventories, indicated by latest statistics, appeared to be supportive of prices.

The US Department of Energy on Thursday reported that American crude stockpiles tumbled by 5.4 million barrels last week, while analysts had expected a drop of only 500,000.

"The US crude oil balance continues to tighten as imports remain weak," said Hussein Allidina of Morgan Stanley Research.

The DoE added that gasoline (petrol) stockpiles fell 600,000 barrels, far less than the 1.7 million forecast by analysts. Gasoline inventories are being closely watched amid the start of the summer vacation period in the United States that sees Americans traditionally hit the roads in vast numbers.

Earlier Thursday, the OPEC crude exporters' group decided to maintain current output levels as expected. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries left its production target at 24.84 million barrels a day following a meeting in Vienna.

Oil prices had already surged Wednesday on the back of buoyant equities and OPEC comments that strengthened expectations of economic recovery and higher energy demand, traders said.

OPEC believes the market is oversupplied but it seems satisfied with oil prices after a rally in the last two weeks that has taken crude above 60 dollars a barrel.

The group that pumps 40 percent of world oil had cut its production target three times late last year to help stabilise prices that tumbled from record highs above 147 dollars a barrel in July 2008 to 32.40 dollars in December.

Prices remain below the 75 dollars a barrel that OPEC members desire. - AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted: 29 May 2009 0531 hrs

A trader watches the numbers as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks rose strongly Thursday, lifted by a late rally as tensions eased on the bond market following news of robust demand for Treasury bonds.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip stocks rallied 103.78 points (1.25 percent) to finish at 8,403.80.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 20.71 points (1.20 percent) to 1,751.79 and the broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 13.77 points (1.54 percent) to 906.83.

The major indices had churned in a narrow range as investors digested a mixed batch of US economic data and details of a bankruptcy plan for General Motors.

"The equities market reversed course at midday, fueled by climbing commodities prices and stronger-than-expected results from the latest Treasury bond auction," said Andrea Kramer at Schaeffer's Investment Research.

"By the closing bell, all the stars seemingly aligned for the Dow, which ended the session with a triple-digit gain," she added.

Bonds rebounded from Wednesday's sell-off. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond fell to 3.672 percent from 3.695 percent on Wednesday and that on the 30-year bond eased to 4.530 percent from 4.606 percent. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

Charles Schwab & Co. analysts also noted traders' relief that a Treasury auction of seven-year bonds trimmed yields that had hit months-long highs Wednesday on worries about the swelling US government debt that also drove stocks into a rout.

"A good auction in the bond market pressured yields, which have moved to uneasily high levels, providing some relative relief to fears that increasing yields may hamper a recovery in the equity markets, and stocks finished solidly higher," they wrote in a client note.

Energy shares led gains after the US government reported a surprisingly large decline in US crude oil inventories, sparking hopes of a recovery in demand that sent oil prices sharply higher.

"Big oil has been good for the US economy. Big oil does well when the economy is doing well and the increase that we have seen in oil prices is a sign that the economy is recovering," said Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading.

Oil majors lifted after crude oil prices topped 65 dollars a barrel for the first time in more than six months.

ExxonMobil, the Dow's biggest component, gained 1.36 percent to 69.23 dollars and Chevron leapt 1.92 percent to 65.81 dollars.

Among other stocks in focus, reeling General Motors slid 2.61 percent to 1.12 dollars. The largest US automaker was finalizing a pre-packaged bankruptcy that would leave the US government with up to 72.5 percent of the new firm.

Procter & Gamble dropped 1.56 percent to 52.59 dollars after the consumer products manufacturer and Dow component issued disappointing guidance.

Caterpillar, another Dow component, slid 1.31 percent to 34.59 dollars after a downgrade by UBS analysts.

Time Warner added 2.39 percent to 23.55 dollars. The media group announced it would spin off its AOL Internet unit by year-end.

Telcom giant AT&T advanced 2.33 percent to 24.63 dollars after chief executive Randall Stephenson said the company intended to keep its fixed-line business, unlike rival Verizon, whose shares dropped 1.11 percent to 29.27 dollars. - AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Rosalind Mathieson

THE recent slide in the US dollar against Asian currencies provides central banks in the region with the opportunity to do some quick replenishing of their foreign exchange reserves.

Buying the US dollar now means central banks can put some gas back in the tank for what could be a dollar renewal in the later part of the year — which may require the authorities in Asia to then sell the greenback to protect their local currencies.

And, of course, US dollar buying right now fulfils another aim, namely to keep a lid on emerging market Asian currencies in order to rekindle export demand.

There is the perception that foreign exchange reserves in Asia have been badly run down in the past year or so. Reserves are actually not as low as some people might think, but they have certainly been depleted by the heavy volatility in currency markets and the ongoing presence of a large speculative contingent.

Indeed, HSBC currency strategist Daniel Hui in a recent report estimated that regional reserves, ex-China, have fallen by a fifth in the past year.

Some central banks are already stepping up their US dollar buying, with those in South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand spotted of late. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is also likely to have been keeping a lid on the Singapore dollar in order to maintain the currency's undisclosed price band.

US dollar weakness may persist in the near term for several reasons. One is that concerns have been brought front-and-centre of late about the US fiscal position, and the heavy amount of debt being taken onto the government's books.

Another is that some of the data from Asia have been showing a bit of resilience — though the emphasis there should be on the "bit" — and this, coupled with a rise in stock markets, has stoked a measure of risk appetite. Inflows have risen to emerging markets, pushing up stocks and currencies alike.

But central banks will want to avoid that going too far. Financial markets and economies alike are still very vulnerable, the recovery indicators are patchy and mild, and for some there is still the sense the worst is it not over for Asia or Europe.

So buying the US dollar now has a dual impact. It prevents Asian currencies from rising too quickly, and it allows central banks to put more ammunition in their arsenals should there be further economic or financial headwinds ahead.

Asian central banks are notoriously paranoid about depleting their reserves, having worked so hard to build them up since the previous financial crisis. They are very keen to make sure the coffers don't get whittled down again. That means "smoothing" operations to buy the greenback are likely to continue, and intervention could pick up in the coming months across Asia as a whole.

That should leave traders a little wary about pushing Asian currencies too high in the near term. The gains are momentum-based, not structural. Dow Jones

From, Business – Wednesday, 27-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Communist leaders no longer fear revolution, but the demands of an emerging middle-class

ROGER COHEN, The New York Times

THE Vietnamese Communist Party, like its fraternal party in China, has identified the No 1 threat it faces. The looming danger is called "peaceful evolution".

The architects of Market-Leninism, who have delivered fast-growth capitalism to one-party Asian states, are in earnest. The nightmares they have are not about revolutionary upheaval, but the drip, drip, drip of liberal democracy.

Twenty years after Tiananmen Square, revolt is dormant and students docile from Beijing to Hanoi. They've bought into development over democracy for the foreseeable future. They may want more freedom, but not to the point that they will confront the system, as the Tiananmen generation did.

In China and Vietnam, moving up from motorbikes to cars is more likely to occupy the next generation than pushing for multi-party democracy.

This pragmatic sentiment is related to trauma. Both countries saw civil wars in the second half of the 20th century that exacted tremendous tolls. So, stability is prized, especially as it has brought fast-rising living standards.

But there's more to the shift that has made "peaceful evolution" the spectre keeping Asian politburos awake at night.

Technology has taken the "total" out of totalitarian in wired societies. Neither China nor Vietnam is free. At the same time, neither is so un-free as to make their citizens ache for liberty.

Mr Shi Guoliang, who researches the social outlook of young people at Beijing's China Youth University for Political Sciences, told the Financial Times: "Students don't do sit-ins, they blog and use Twitter."

In Vietnam, where things are generally more lax than up north, that freedom is far greater. In both countries, communication and the online world serve as safety valves for one-party states where Communism is little more than the brand name given to power retention.

In general, I'd say the era of revolutions is over. Google has gobbled the insurrectionary impulse. That is the main difference between the Tiananmen generation and Asia's rising "Generation Global". Heat rises in a confined space. When walls and borders are porous, it dissipates.

So, what's a party functionary, having digested the lessons of Mao and Ho, to fret about, if not "peaceful evolution"?

The almost noiseless implosion of the Soviet system and the velvet revolutions of central Europe have made an indelible impression on the architects of 21st-century soft repression. They're alert not to bangs but to whimpers.

Their systems are quiet. They are based not on terror and gulags, but on the establishment of red lines that only impinge on freedom where freedom begins to mean the right to denounce or organise against the authorities.

So, what the custodians of repression-lite Communism with a capitalist face fear are not revolutionary cells armed with AK-47s but harmless-sounding non-governmental organisations (NGOs). They are on the watch for puffy-faced, over-educated Western idealists who, behind talk of human rights and the rule of law, may be blurring those red lines and sucking the fibre of a Communist cadre.

"You can register a company here in a day, but forget about registering an NGO or charity," Mr Jonathan Pincus, who runs a branch of Harvard's Kennedy School in Ho Chi Minh City, told me. A Russian delegation was in Vietnam recently giving advice on how to counter the NGO menace.

That's regrettable but hardly disastrous. The rapid rise of China and Vietnam, accounting between them for some 20 per cent of humanity, has ushered hundreds of millions of people from poverty since totalitarian Communism fell. The West is in no position to say it knows better.

America, born as a liberating idea, must be true to that and promote its values. But, sobered and broke, it must be patient. As the emergent middle classes of Vietnam and China become more demanding of what they consume, they will also be more demanding consumers of government.

They will want more transparency, predictable laws, better health care, less corruption, broader education, freer speech and fewer red lines.

One-party states will be hard pressed to provide that. Another quarter-century down the road, I'd bet on more democracy and liberty in Beijing and Hanoi, achieved through peaceful evolution, no less.

From, World News – Tuesday, 26-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted: 27 May 2009 0544 hrs

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

NEW YORK - Wall Street powered higher Tuesday as a surprisingly strong reading on US consumer confidence buoyed hopes of economic recovery, offsetting jitters over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 196.17 points (2.37 percent) to end at 8,473.49 while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 58.42 points (3.45 percent) to 1,750.43, its best percentage advance since early April.

The broad-market Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 23.33 points (2.63 percent) to 910.33, clawing its way back above the psychologically significant 900 level for the first time since May 20.

As traders returned to business following the Memorial Day holiday Monday, stocks came under early pressure amid geopolitical concerns stemming from North Korea's second illegal nuclear test on Monday.

But markets shook off the news after the release of a Conference Board survey showing an unexpected surge in US consumer confidence, a key to ramping up spending and lifting the economy out of its prolonged recession.

The business research group's consumer confidence index spiked to 54.9 in May from 40.8 in April, the highest since last September.

"An unexpectedly large jump in consumer confidence is pushing markets higher, negating early weakness from geopolitical concerns regarding North Korea's nuclear program," analysts at Charles Schwab & Co wrote.

The consumer confidence data "gave participants some anecdotal evidence that economic conditions may be improving, which brought about broad-based gains for the major indices," said analysts at

Retail stocks responded to the increase in the consumer confidence by advancing "though higher consumer confidence has yet to translate into higher consumer spending," the analysts cautioned.

"The (consumer confidence) report had a positive effect on retailers and technology companies," said Wachovia Securities senior equity market strategist Scott Marcouiller.

Large-cap tech stocks like Apple, which was upgraded by analysts at Morgan Stanley, helped give the Nasdaq a major lift.

Apple closed 6.76 percent higher to 130.78 dollars.

General Motors, widely expected to file for bankruptcy protection ahead of a June 1 deadline imposed by the Obama administration, rose 0.7 percent to 1.44 dollars after recovering from a loss of more than 10 percent.

Reports had said the government will provide more massive financial aid to the country's number one carmaker, which reached a deal with the UAW union on cost-saving concessions that still must be ratified by rank-and-file workers.

The largest increase in the Dow Jones index came from JPMorgan Chase, rising 6.19 percent to 36.54 dollars.

Bonds, which plunged last week amid US credit rating worries, ended lower after an opening bounce.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury bond rose to 3.493 percent from 3.448 percent on Friday and that on the 30-year bond climbed to 4.446 percent from 4.392 percent.

Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

- AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Edmund Conway

Think we are on the road to recovery, that economies and financial systems are now back in rude health, that interest rate cuts and quantitative easing are likely to push us out of recession and generate another boom? Not so fast.

Sure, many of the major Western banks have been rescued from full-scale implosion after governments took drastic measures to shore up their capital and ensure their survival. But the mountain of debt that poisoned the financial system has not disappeared overnight. Instead, it has been shifted from the private sector onto the public sector balance sheet. Britain, for example, has taken on hundreds of billions of pounds of bank debt and stands behind potentially trillions of dollars of contingent liabilities.

If the first stage of the crisis was the financial implosion and the second the economic crunch, the third stage is where governments start to topple under the weight of this debt. If 2008 was a year of private sector bankruptcies, 2009 and 2010, it goes, will be the years of government insolvency.

That, at least, is the horror story. It was one underlined by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) decision to change the outlook on Britain’s debt from “stable” to “negative”. While the United Kingdom still clings on to its prized AAA rating, it now stands a very real chance of losing it within two years. Questionable as are the credentials of the agencies following the financial crisis, the significance should not be underestimated. A cut in S&P’s ratings would reflect a considered opinion that the UK may default for the first time in its history.

If Japan’s experience in 2001 is anything to go by, it would also trigger an instant exodus of cash from foreign investors, since many of their reserve managers are obliged to invest the vast bulk of their cash in AAA-rated currencies.

But in spite of all this potential fire and brimstone, the reaction from financial markets in the wake of the S&P announcement last Thursday was hardly dramatic.

Indeed, so far as markets were concerned, a couple of disastrous headlines for the government — the S&P decision and the International Monetary Fund’s verdict on the management of the economy the previous day — were no more a concern than the latest nasty set of economic output or employment data.

Still, capital markets are unpredictable. As emerging markets — which have suffered sudden crises as international investors abandoned ship — know to their cost, creditors can turn on a sixpence. Foreign investors hold around a third of UK debt — most of it in the short-term gilt market. Unlike Japan, which had a massive savings glut when it lost its AAA-rating, the UK is directly vulnerable if their central banks and sovereign wealth funds turn a cold shoulder on sterling.

As things stand, the UK is the first of the major G7 economies to have been put on watch during this crisis (Japan is already AA). Were it the only country under real threat of downgrade, it would be easy to make baleful predictions about the impact.

However, the economic crisis has touched every nation. The UK is likely to be joined by other countries as the full scale of the downturn becomes apparent and more financial skeletons are pulled from the sub-prime closet.

So while we may suspect this is how the next stage of the financial crisis will look, it is harder to grasp which countries, or for that matter, which businesses or investments will benefit and which will suffer.

Central banks are likely to invest some of their cash in commodities such as gold and oil; tangible assets will become more desirable. For governments, survival is based on relative rather than absolute strengths. Countries that provide the most feasible and sensible fiscal plans are likely to thrive as they garner investment and support, while those that churn public money while failing to mend their financial systems are the most likely to suffer.

For in the final stage of this crisis, those countries that recover and start to flourish will be those that face up soonest to the new period of fiscal austerity that must last for the next decade.

This is an abridged version of a commentary that was published in The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

From, Business – Monday, 25-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How do you approach the issue of employees’ external appointments and activities?

Mr Dennis Choo, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Premiere Global Services

Employees are one of the biggest assets a company can have — therefore, it is vital that they feel a sense of appreciation from the organisation. I strongly believe that it all boils down to flexibility and understanding from both parties. Employees who align and engage themselves with a company’s vision, mission and values will often give more of themselves to achieve specific goals. For the relationship to continue to evolve, it is important that staff feel that their employers afford similar flexibility should they periodically need to take time out of their working day to attend external appointments or activities.

From, Business – Monday, 25-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Paul Galloway

090525-LittleBlackBook If you are bent on tapping technology and setting up an online business, this is the book for you. After all, set-up costs can be low and it is a good way to reach out to a global audience.

To help budding entrepreneurs looking to set up an online business, author Paul Galloway wrote The Little Black Book of Online Business, which lists some 1001 online resources that can help you set up an online shop.

Some of the recommended resources include websites that help with digital product security, content management and payment gateways.

And while the book teaches about the techniques of doing business online, it also talks about the need to mail brochures to customers because “direct mail is an integral component of many of the most successful online businesses”.

Mr Galloway asserts that the term “online business” can be “somewhat of a misnomer”. He wrote: “The Internet should be considered part of your business but you shouldn’t limit yourself to using the Internet to the exclusion of all else.”

Stressing that the book is not “about how to make money on the Internet”, Mr Galloway defines his book as providing “the tools and resources you need to implement an online marketing programme for any business idea you can come up with”.

From, Succeed – Monday, 25-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Harold Scharlatt, 

IN THE best of times, it can be a fight to get ideas implemented at work. In today’s organisations, where resources are under siege and uncertainty abounds, advocating for your approach, idea or product is even tougher.

The time is right to take a more disciplined approach to pitching ideas. If you have a project you believe will improve the organisation, you have to find the best approach for getting it implemented. You cannot afford a false start. If you lack a strategy for selling your idea, you put yourself, your group and potentially your organisation at risk.

To get other people to consider and adopt your ideas, you need to consider two important things: The environment and your tactics.


Getting a solid understanding of your organisation and where your work fits will lay the groundwork for success. Before you start talking up a new process, programme or change, ask yourself these questions:

How does my idea fit with the explicit and implicit goals of the organisation? People have to see the benefits of your idea. One way to do that is to align it with what they want to achieve. If your idea goes against the organisation’s written and unwritten goals, objectives, values and practices, it will be more difficult to sell it. You need to plan accordingly.

Where am I positioned in the formal and informal hierarchy? Be aware of the unwritten pecking order — the informal power structure, which is often very different from the organisational chart.

What kind of support do I need from key people and groups? Know who you need and why. List the groups you need to work with to get your idea sold, the key people in those groups and the level of support you need from them.

What resources do I need? Clarify what you need, including funds, staff, equipment, expertise, administrative support and other non-monetary resources. This is especially important now, when many organisational needs are competing for people’s time as well as money.

How committed are my own people? Before you try to sell a new idea to other parts of your organisation, make sure people in your own group support it.

Who are my best advocates? If you can get even a small amount of buy-in from people whose opinions carry a lot of weight, you can use it as leverage to influence others.

Who might oppose or be threatened by the idea? Who might misinterpret my idea? Be realistic about territorial conflict or scepticism. You should anticipate objections and refine your idea to answer those objections.


Once you have done the background work, you can begin to sell your idea. You will want to use a variety of tactics, tailored to the people and the needs you determined previously. Among the approaches to try:

• Draw attention to the need or opportunity. If you make clear the problem you want to solve or the opportunity for improvement, people will be more open to your idea as the solution or plan.

• Create a favourable perception of your idea. Give honest and optimistic presentations, highlighting why your idea is valuable and why it will work. But do not overdo the positive spin. Acknowledge flaws and be open to suggestions. Consider possible adjustments and where you are able to compromise.

• Start with your most likely allies. Start with the “easy sell” — the people you believe will be the most enthusiastic about your idea.

• Time it right. Figure out how and when people are most willing to listen to new ideas.

The more tactics you have to draw on, the more precise and effective action you can take in different situations. Build multiple options into your strategy, so that when one tactic does not work or does not apply, you can draw on another and keep moving forward.


For any idea, you need to determine what level of support you need from which people. From some groups or leaders, you will only need an okay or a mutual understanding. From others, you may need willingness to help or full engagement or advocacy. There are eight levels of support: "I’ll do it!"; "I’ll work with you"; "I’ll supply resources"; "I’ll actively support it". ; "I’ll give you advice"; "It’s okay"; "I’m neutral"; and "I won’t sabotage it".

As you work out how best to pitch your idea or plan, you will want to clarify to what degree each person or group can be helpful and what kind of help they can provide.

This article is adapted from Selling Your Ideas to Your Organization by Harold Scharlatt, a senior enterprise associate for the Center for Creative Leadership, a global provider of leadership education.

From, Succeed – Monday, 25-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

 It’s the dogged but diffident leader who will succeed


090523-CEO SHOULD CEOs read novels?

The question seems to answer itself. After all, CEOs work with people all day. Novel-reading should give them greater psychological insight, a feel for human relationships, a greater sensitivity toward their own emotional chords.

Sadly, though, most of the recent research suggests that these are not the most important talents for a person who is trying to run a company. Steven Kaplan, Mark Klebanov and Morten Sorensen recently completed a study called Which CEO Characteristics and Abilities Matter?

They relied on detailed personality assessments of 316 CEOs and measured their companies’ performances. They found that strong people skills correlate loosely or not at all with being a good CEO. Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies.

What mattered, it turned out, were execution and organisational skills. The traits that correlated most powerfully with success were attention to detail, persistence, efficiency, analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours.

In other words, warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as CEOs. Organised, dogged, anal-retentive and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive.

These results are consistent with a lot of work that’s been done over the past few decades. In 2001, Jim Collins published a best-selling study called Good to Great.

He found that the best CEOs were not the flamboyant visionaries. They were humble, self-effacing, diligent and resolute souls who found one thing they were really good at and did it over and over again.

That same year Murray Barrick, Michael Mount and Timothy Judge surveyed a century’s worth of research into business leadership. They, too, found that extroversion, agreeableness and openness to new experience did not correlate well with CEO success. Instead, what mattered was emotional stability and, most of all, conscientiousness — which means being dependable, making plans and following through on them.

All this work is a reminder that, while it’s important to be a sensitive, well-rounded person for the sake of your inner fulfilment, the market doesn’t really care. The market wants you to fill an organisational role.

The market seems to want CEOs to offer a clear direction for their companies. There’s a tension between being resolute and being flexible. The research suggests it’s more important to be resolute, even at the cost of some flexibility.

The second thing the market seems to want from leaders is a relentless and somewhat mind-numbing commitment to incremental efficiency gains.

Charismatic CEOs and politicians always want the exciting new breakthrough — whether it is the SUV or a revolutionary new car. The methodical executives at successful companies just make the same old four-door sedan, but they make it better and better.

These sorts of dogged but diffident traits do not correlate well with education levels. CEOs with law or MBA degrees do not perform better than CEOs with college degrees. These traits do not correlate with salary or compensation packages. Nor do they correlate with fame and recognition. On the contrary, a study by Ulrike Malmendier and Geoffrey Tate found that CEOs get less effective as they become more famous and receive more awards.

What these traits do add up to is a certain ideal personality type. The CEOs that are most likely to succeed are humble, diffident, relentless and a bit uni-dimensional. They are often not the most exciting people to be around.

For this reason, people in the literary, academic and media worlds rarely understand business. It is nearly impossible to think of a novel that accurately portrays business success. That’s because the virtues writers tend to admire — those involving self-expression and self-exploration — are not the ones that lead to corporate excellence.

For the same reason, business and politics do not blend well. Business leaders tend to perform poorly in Washington, while political leaders possess precisely those talents — charisma, charm, personal skills — that are of such limited value when it comes to corporate execution.

Fortunately, America is a big place. Literary culture has thrived in Boston, New York and on campuses. Political culture has thrived in Washington. Until recently, corporate culture has been free to thrive in such unlikely places as Bentonville, Omaha and Redmond.

Of course, that’s changing. We now have an administration freely interposing itself in the management culture of industry after industry. It won’t be the regulations that will be costly, but the revolution in values. When Washington is a profit centre, CEOs are forced to adopt the traits of politicians. That is the insidious way that other nations have lost their competitive edge. THE NEW YORK TIMES


From, Business – Weekend, 23/24-May-2009

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


090522-GMAgreed Will GM’s deal with its workers be enough to save it from bankruptcy? AP

DETROIT — The United Auto Workers (UAW) struck a deal with General Motors and the federal government yesterday to cut labour costs, close factories and change the way retiree health care is funded.

The agreement could ease one of GM’s biggest problems: The cost of its work force. But the car maker is still struggling with crushing debt that may drive it into a bankruptcy reorganisation.

The deal is “the best news for everybody involved,” said Mr Harlan Platt, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who teaches corporate turnarounds.

“This is great for the workers because some of their jobs will be there in the future. This is great news for the Obama administration because they’ve demonstrated they’re respecting contracts.’’

GM which has received some US$15.4 billion($22.4 billion) in federal loans, faces a government-imposed June 1 deadline to finish a major restructuring or be forced into bankruptcy protection.

The US government has told the car maker to cut labour costs, close factories, shed dealers and brands, and persuade at least 90 per cent of its bondholders to sign on for the stock-for-debt exchange.

But thousands of bondholders are expected to shun the company’s offer to take 10 per cent of its stock to wipe out US$27 billion in unsecured debt.

Mr Platt said the deal could be the catalyst for more bondholders to accept GM’s offer.

GM shares rose more than 32 per cent to US$1.92 yesterday — an increase that Mr Platt says indicates that investors see value in the company. He believes the stock could climb to around US$4 because GM will be able to restructure out of court, emerging with far less debt, lower costs, fewer brands and factories, and a rejuvenated vehicle lineup.

GM has offered bondholders 225 shares for every US$1,000 of debt.

‘’If you’re getting 225 per US$1,000 and the stock goes to US$4, which I think it will, you’re getting all your money back,’’ he said. ‘’This is going to be significantly more than they will get in a bankruptcy.’’

But Mr Douglas Baird, a University of Chicago law professor who specialises in bankruptcy cases, said the bondholder obstacle is nearly insurmountable.

“There’s a collective-action problem,” he said. “There are a lot of these bondholders. Even if there are a lot of them on board, that’s not the same as 90 per cent on board.’’

Still, the UAW deal could help shorten the length of time GM stays in bankruptcy protection, Mr Baird said, making it easier for the court to concentrate on remaining matters such as the bond debt.

The UAW was withholding details about the agreement until plant-level union officials were briefed. The union summoned officials to Detroit on Tuesday for the explanation, and local union leaders expected voting by the membership to end late next week.

The Obama administration welcomed the agreement, saying it is a positive development in GM’s “effort to restructure and become a strong, viable company going forward”.

The deal apparently came after two days of talks in Washington involving UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and new GM CEO Fritz Henderson.

The men began meeting after appearing together at a White House news conference Tuesday where President Barack Obama announced higher fuel economy standards. AP

From, Business – Friday, 22-May-2009; see the source article here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]