Everything Korea, April 18 Episode: the Toolbox, a Global Approach, and Creatives

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This week I’d like to share three reports. All focus on Korea business. All easily accessed…read or download

….From the Korea-facing Global Business Toolbox: Strategies and Tactics

This report shares my recent thoughts on top strategies and tactics for tackling Korean facing global business. Note global is emphasized, since working outside Korea within local subsidiary operations is my primary focus and specialty.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/302653498/From-the-Korea-facing-Global-Business-Toolbox-Strategies-and-Tactics

A Global Approach: For Korea Management Teams

This Case Study provides a roadmap and best practices to their Korean management and overseas divisions. This includes new Korean brands eager to launch their products and services outside Korea.  The study is also applicable to those established Korean brands already in overseas markets who could benefit from benchmarking “what works” and “what doesn’t.”

https://www.scribd.com/doc/286823722/A-Global-Approach-For-Korea-Management-Teams

The Challenges and Gaps in a Creative Workplace Culture: U.S. and Korea

The role of the creative class continues to pique my interest. In particular, I am drawn to uncovering the “culture” needed to foster the Creative Mind Process.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/271936685/Creative-Workplace-Culture-U-S-and-Korea

Oh, one more thing, in case you missed The Hyundai GalloperShinhwa, Myth and Legend, it is now available.  Just go to http://unbouncepages.com/galloper/

Here’s a short lead into the article.

With the introduction of Genesis Motors Company in premium luxury car segment as well as the Hyundai Motor’s IONIQ, part of an expanded model lineup of hybrid and electric vehicles, many in the industry see these as bold moves by the Hyundai Motor Group and it leadership. Actually, it is but the latest chapter in a story and a legacy reaching back decades.

For questions raised, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat by phone or handle by email.

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Everything Korea, March 28 Episode: Genesis Motor and a ‘New York’ concept

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My lens is cultural. From that perspective, consumables can tell us much about a society. Korean premium and upmarket trends are an area I research and follow carefully.

In reflecting back on more than 15 years of writing on the topic especially related to the Korean car market and specifically Hyundai Motor Company, I was honored to attend the New York International Auto Show and the unveiling of Genesis Motor ‘New York’ concept car.

The premium brand launched its first model, the G90 (badged as EQ900 in Korea), in January with plans for 6 models in the line-up by 2020. We can expect to see elements of the well–received ‘New York’ concept in future Genesis Motor models.

The brand reflects Luxury Evolving, with a human-centered focus connecting mobility with cutting edge technology.

From a cultural perspective and although the design team is very global, plus heavily influenced by its German leadership, I see these brand qualities aligning well with the modern strengths and aspirations of South Korea.

Connect Deeper

Interested in how I work with companies and in particular Genesis, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat.

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, Episode March 14, the Workarounds

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Addressing issues from a cultural perspective, in most cases the only workarounds that we have and I can suggest are centered on education for Western teams working with Korean teams.

Western co-workers need educated in and be sensitive to the Korean communications style. With less an emphasis on formal channels, in the Korean workplace considerable information is shared informally throughout the often-extended workday.

Foremost, the Korean workplace is ever changing, priorities shift day to day and even throughout the day.  For example, a directive might be altered after being requested—or the mission better defined or clarified.

Since change is frequent, many Korean expatriates working in local operations will refrain from sharing developing issues early on. To Americans for example it may appear they have been sitting on information that could have been shared much earlier—while in actuality instead of false starts, Korean expats want to make sure before engaging the local team.

An added dimension can also be Korea’s balli balli, which was topic of one of the past commentaries, and worth mentioning once again. It translates as hurry-hurry.  Actually, balli means hurry, but the word is always used in tandem adding to the need to move fast. It’s a defacto core value— with everything from immediately responding to requests for data to launching major projects.  More to the point, it means things need to get done today and now, not tomorrow.  I see balli balli also perpetuating a culture of waiting to the last minute.

Even in the best cases, expect that Korean teams may want to postpone any local decision until they can carefully review and perhaps confer with Korea.

To improve communications, I suggest all relevant information be forwarded to the Korean teams. I’d create a sense of urgency with a “suggested” timeline for execution and implementation. Regardless, plan on some delays, be patient and know that once a go-ahead is given the expectation is the task is executed immediately… if not sooner ☺

Over the years, I’ve found that Korean teams appreciate when their overseas co-workers recognize their internal processes and why they postpone taking action to the very last minute…. I’d also be ready to offer as needed supportive data or documents as the situations unfold.

For questions, Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat by phone or handle by email.

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Everything Korea, February 29: The “Why” Behind Seeking Alternatives

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Another Lesson from My Korea Facing Global Business Toolbox 

 

More than a decade ago during a group session I hosted for overseas Korean and western senior managers, the discussion turned to the “role” of the westerners on teams engaged in local project development. The local western teams felt very under-utilized and wanted to contribute more. This, of course, was a source of considerable frustration for the westerners because their previous automotive OEM employers had given them considerable responsibility with little direct oversight and more fully utilized their experience and expertise.

Pondering for a moment during the discussion, a senior Korean pointed out that local input was respected, but perhaps this needed to be better communicated. The Korean manager went on to explain that his Korean teams knew how to do things “Korean style”, but what was needed were other ways of approaching work related issues.

More recently in early 2016, a senior Korean leader I have been mentoring echoed the similar sentiment.  First, how local input was to be sought out and encouraged across the organization. And, second that seeking out “alternatives” was one of the company’s core tenets transcending the Group’s more contemporary updated values—but in actually deeply rooted solidly in the corporate culture.

The takeaway –share wherever possible other ways of approaching work related issues.

 In closing, if you have questions regarding my Toolbox or Interested in how I work with companies? Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat.

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, February 22 Episode, Managing Expectations

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Digger deeper in the Toolbox, What are the Alternatives?

 

Communicating expectations is perhaps the greatest culture-related challenge in the global Korea facing workplace. Repeatedly, I witness a gap in what is “expected” and what is delivered, but before I share more….

In working with western and Korea teams and management, I listen carefully for questions raised in mentoring sessions and the concern that surface. I then probe to get a clear understanding. This week’s topic surfaced recently.

With regard to expectations, how for example Americans tackle a request and how Koreans would handle a request varies considerable. In the West, teams look for clear and defined objectives and goals. They then work diligently and responsibly to deliver within a set timeline and prepared to the pre-agreed parameters.

Similarly, Korea teams plan and execute, but with one difference. An unspoken “Expectation” in Korea is that the team also look beyond the narrow and defined scope of the request and provide some “alternatives.” This providing of alternatives for management to consider is not voiced or communicated, it’s just a norm in the Korean workplace.

This said, in several recent mentoring sessions with both Korean leadership and with teams, the subject of alternatives came up…. in both cases work as requested was well done, but the Koreans had hoped to see some options.

In one of the cases, the Korean team member newly assigned to local operations was puzzled–assuming work preformed would include some suggestions, too, and preferable “out of the box.”

I explained that most of the local team was highly specialized and long time, seasoned employees used to providing specific data and reports as requested.

Frankly, they were not often called upon to look beyond the scope of a request, or even asked for suggestions.

I recommended in all the cases that when assigning a task or request, the Korean leadership and teams that as a deliverable they would like to see if possible some “out of the box alternatives”.

I, too, recommended, this be a message the share often !!!

In the next episode, I will reveal more about the “Why” behind Korean teams and leadership looking at “alternatives.”

Interested in how I work with companies? Stacey, my personal assistant at stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat.

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, February 15, Episode, Balli Balli

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Digging in my global Korea Facing Toolbox: The Defacto Korean Core Value

Many of us are familiar with the Korean term, balli balli. It translates as hurry-hurry. Actually, balli means hurry, but it word is always used in tandem adding tothe need to move fast. I first recall hearing the word in the 1970s in martial arts class– my Korean instructor at times commanding we move faster in executing a kicking drills.

To many Korean firms balli balli it’s a defacto core value— with everything from immediately responding to requests for data to launching major projects. More to the point, it means things need to get done today and now, not tomorrow.

For westerners, moving fast can often be a concern-conflicting with the Western business model of careful meticulous study and planning before implementation.

In fact, one complaint voiced with frustration by my Korean clients is how slow Westerners move on projects. In turn, my Western clients shake their head and argue Koreans want to jump into a project or situation with little preparation.…. and balli balli seems to perpetuate a culture of waiting to the last minute.

More Than Meets the Eye…

Observing the Korean model for years, I have come to see where moving faster may be more than meets the eye. In fact, it’s very entrepreneurial trait. When one shortens the time needed to complete a project, the focus is then on identifying the critical tasks that contribute most and with quickly moving on to execution.

In contrast, the longer the deadline, the more time gets spent in analysis and discussions with an ever-lessening focus on the task. The phenomenon is a corollary to Parkinson’s Law (i.e. “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”). In particular, we find end productivity and quality are equal or higher with a shorter deadline due to greater focus.

In my next commentary, and recognizing balli balli is a trait of Korean business, I’ll share what most Korean leadership would like to see included in their requests –and something rarely provided.Interested in how I work with companies, Stacey, my personal assistant at

stacey@koreabcw.com can coordinate a time for us to chat.

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: February 1 Episode, the Lunar New Year

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The Year of the Red Monkey:

Energy, Liveliness and Success.

Korea (as well as China, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and many Asian countries) celebrate two New Years’– one on Jan. 1 and the Lunar New Year celebration, which this year falls on February 7th to 10th.

Each lunar new year has an associated animal, as well as a related element like fire (red), water (black), earth (yellow), metal (white) and wood (blue), all which rotate over a 60 year cycle. Hence, Red (Fire) Monkey, Black (Water) Snake, White (Metal) Dragon, etc.

It’s a great time to re-connect with Korean teams and friends. For your Korean colleagues (in Korea), you can wish them “Happy Lunar New Year” by phone, text, or email, late afternoon on Thursday February 4th (so, Friday AM in Korea, which is their last day in office prior to Holiday).

For expat Koreans working outside Korea/ globally, or in your local operations, you can wish then Happy Lunar New Year on Sunday February 7, or Monday February 8.

Here is the formal greeting–Sae hae bok mani ba deu say yo Give it a try. You will find it will be greatly appreciated.

Give it a try. You will find it will be greatly appreciated.

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

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I truly enjoy 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, Best of 2015—an encore, Ten Insights From September 14

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https://youtu.be/1XXkAhXbpUc

In this episode I’d like to share  “Ten Insights into Korean business.”  This is something I often incorporate into one on one coaching and mentoring sessions.  It was also developed in collaboration with a senior Korea manager specifically to explain to his team’s Westerners on the company—the Westerners lacking first hand knowledge in the mother company and seeing the Company only in their local operations. In particular, there was a gap between how things were executed in Korea and had evolved locally– to a model less efficient and with time-consuming procedures.

To begin,  

Trust There is a very strong trust within teams and in the company. This is often because of a legacy in achieving many bold accomplishments—often seemingly impossible tasks.

Family Traditional family norms permeate the work culture (Elder brother as boss, senior managers, etc.) and the related concept that co-workers are seen as family.

Challenge A one-word summary of the Korean workplace would be Challenge–both in what it has overcome and in what it expects of its global employees.

Input Companies are very hierarchical, but actively demands input from all levels. In fact, top management make decisions based on the expectation that the lower levels have considered all possible outcomes and challenges.

Teamwork Once a decision is made all dissenting or differing opinions unite to embrace success.

Solution In Korea, employees do not bad mouth or put down their company. In fact, employees feel that such an attitude is “part of the problem” and not “part of the solution.” Even among friends, negative thoughts are not shared.

Relationships From higher ranks to the lower ranks, they are very hierarchical. But, here are also very protective organizations. On one level, norms dictate that Seniors are demanding of their Junior employees. One reason is to make sure Juniors learn the work expectations, practices, and culture.

On another level, workers must ensure that mistakes are not made that could reflect badly on their Seniors the department, or the company. Once a Junior works for a Senior that Jr. is part of a network of other employees under the umbrella or protection of the Senior.

Expectations There are very high expectations that must be met.  Doing a great job is what you are paid to do….

Collaboration The American workplace process is often to receive an assignment, clarify details, go off, work hard, and come back to the manager with the result.

The Korean staff will take a different approach. They will receive an assignment, work and discuss it collectively with others, and go back to the manager on multiple occasions informally to make sure they are following the path the manager wants. This method takes times, but Korean workers know when the manager sees the result, it will be what the senior requested.

Adaptability Flexibility and acceptance of change. Projects are subject to lots of change—some speed up, while others stall.

Questions, Comments?  Want to chat?

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

All the best…

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

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https://youtu.be/YjvC-Ik2oTk

I truly enjoy 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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