5 Core Competencies Required for Global Effectiveness

Philip Berry
Philip Berry Associates LLC

Philip Berry Associates LLC’s 5 Core Competencies Required for Global Effectiveness was presented by Philip Berry, at the Global Leader Conference in New York, on April 11, 2013.


Brazil & China; Common Cultural Values?

Lucy Linhares

During the “China Hype” in Brazil, almost every big company felt they couldn’t lose the opportunity to reach for the largest market in the world.

The bilateral trade grew in a very expressive way, from 19,4 million dollars in 1974, when the diplomatic relations were retaken, to 36,1 billion dollars in 2009, turning China the largest Brazilian commercial partner, surpassing the EUA.

On the other hand, in a few years from the beginning of this movement (2003/2004), many companies started to report big losses on their investments in China, leading to the obvious questioning of why this happened and if it could have been avoided.

Passing far from the discussion of the problems related to technical and market issues, this article wants to focus on the “cultural questions” that may have influenced the success or failure of these enterprises.

The most important cultural similarities between the Chinese and Brazilian cultures in business are:

• Importance of guanxi
• Jeitinho & zou hou men
• Time needed to do business
• Loyalty
• Bureaucracy

Guanxi is the personal connection that one builds through a life time, meaning trust and the exchange of favors, either in personal life or in business. Brazilians can understand guanxi very well, as it is one of the pillars of Brazilian society. There is a joke that says: one has better chances to find a good job when he has a great “QI”. QI means “Quotient of Intelligence”, but it also means “Quem Indica”, or “who indicates” the person for the job.

“Jeitinho” means, literally, a little way to fit anything anywhere and it would be the equivalent of “zou hou men” (the use of back door). In Brazil “jeitinho” can mean flexibility, or corruption. There is a famous TV show called “O Bom Jeitinho Brasileiro”, meaning “The Good Brazilian Jeitinho”, trying to show that before meaning corruption, “jeitinho” means creativity and ways to find flexible solutions to hard problems, but it’s also true that it usually avoids procedures, bureaucracy or even laws that stand in people’s way.

The time needed to do business in China and Brazil is much longer than that necessary for Americans, for example, and one of the reasons is that people want to know and trust the individuals and companies involved. In Brazil, the justice is very slow and if ones needs to enter a judicial fight he knows it may take many years, meaning severe losses for the business. So people prefer to be cautious rather than sorry. In China all relationships need to be understood through a system where “guanxi” is crucial, and where any favors done must be returned.

Loyalty to friends and acquaintances is also very important in both societies, and it may take precedent over proficiency. With globalization, the standards for doing business are changing, and in fact if one has no proficiency he won’t go far, once good results are expected by all partners. But if one has to choose between a competent friend and a competent anonymous, in China as much as in Brazil the chosen person will tend to be a friend.

Finally, bureaucracy may drive foreigners mad both in Brazil and China, and to deal with it requires patience and contacts, in order to find a “jeitinho” to succeed.

However, despite the similarities, there are also many differences. The negotiation styles are different, and the concept of time in China is circular, meaning that when one believes they have reached a final agreement, the Chinese may want to start all over again.

The bureaucracy is deeply connected to politics, requiring knowledge of the main actors in the scene. The loyalty is directed not only toward one’s acquaintances, but also to the country, meaning that one must look at the interests of the country before individual interests, which is a completely new concept to Brazilians. The Contracts in China are not final and may change after being signed, as a contract is understood as a mirror of the circumstances, and if they change, it would be fair to change the contract as well. Some of the business standards may also differ, as for example, responsibilities for Quality control.

The Socialist Rule of Law and the lack of regulation in some areas also add obstacles to the Brazilian understanding of the scenery where executives are supposed to act.

Therefore, experience has shown that when playing on Chinese ground, the cultural similarities may not work in favor of Brazilians and the rules work in the best interest of the Chinese.

To find the common ground seem to have been the key to success, accordingly to the many successful Brazilian companies in China.


22% don’t have female execs; 20% have execs under 30

New survey from CareerBuilder and

(Chicago, May 3 ’12)

The hiring landscape for executives is improving along with the rest of the labor market, according to new survey from CareerBuilder and Thirty-one percent of employers expect to hire for executive-level positions over the next six months, up from 23 percent in October’s forecast.

The study also looks at the number of Millennials* who are in executive positions today and explores the deficits in diverse workers and women in executive roles. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive© from February 9 to March 2, 2012, among more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

Executive Hiring Outlook

Employers are recruiting senior leadership for a range of business functions, but certain areas will see the most focus. Of employers hiring executives, nearly a quarter (24 percent) will hire in business development, followed by information technology (23 percent), sales (22 percent), marketing (19 percent) and accounting/finance (19 percent).

“Hiring trends for executive-level management mirror what we’re seeing in the labor market for all workers,” said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “As companies look to expand their sales force, develop new products and improve their tech infrastructure, the need for diverse, experienced leadership grows along with these initiatives.”

Demographic Profile of Executive-level Employees When asked about the demographic makeup of their executive employees, many hiring managers revealed that they are still lacking diverse leadership at their organizations. More than one-in-five (22 percent) companies still do not have female executives, and two-in-five companies (41 percent) do not have executive-level employees in any of the following demographics: African American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT, Disabled, etc.

However, with the emergence of digital, mobile and IT as high-growth sectors, more Millennials are climbing their way to the top. Twenty percent of employers say they have executives under the age of 30.

Qualities Employers are Looking for in Executive Candidates
Prior experience in the industry is a crucial requisite for landing a top job, according to most hiring managers, but 35 percent say they’ll consider candidates who don’t have background in the industry.

Often times, prior accomplishments and leadership ability trumps industry expertise. The following are qualities employers look for most in executive level candidates:

  • Proven ability in addressing problems with effective solutions (62 percent)
  • Adept at motivating others (54 percent)
  • Can act with speed and agility in a changing market (47 percent)
  • Is creative (43 percent)
  • Has emotional intelligence (38 percent)
  • Experience in different areas (37 percent)

Only one-in-five (20 percent) look for an MBA, comparable, or higher-level degree, when evaluating executive candidates.

*Millennial Generation – born 1980 to 1999

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 9 and March 2, 2012 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,303, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.04 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About is a recruitment site for management and executive level talent. Founded in partnership with, is a targeted approach for connecting high-level, experienced professionals with their ideal career opportunity. For more information, visit

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset – their people. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit


Geneva ’11: CEO Expectations of HR Leadership

Geoff Matthews
Merck Sorono

Merck Sorono’s CEO Expectations of HR Leadership was presented by Geoff Matthews at the GLOBAL HR Global Leaders Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on 6 April 2011.


Today’s EAP: Fueling the Journey

Perspectives on ConocoPhillips’ Employee Assistance Program

by Michael Hack

We’re all on a journey. Whether striving toward the attainment of a personal goal, charting an exciting career path or just getting through life, we can hardly go it alone. How you navigate and ultimately arrive at your destination – and what shape you’re in when you get there – are largely determined by the support you have along the way…

See the PDF below to read more.


84% of Global Employees Are Not Being Well-Prepared for Today’s Virtual Work

A significant challenge to a majority of corporate employees

(New York, May 3 ’12)

According to a study conducted by RW3, an intercultural communication training organization, 87% of white-collar employees of multinational companies conduct at least part of their work virtually.

The RW3 study went on to find that while the vast majority of these employees encountered challenges in virtual work, only 16% had any training to prepare them.

The study had a stunning response rate: 3,300 business people from 103 countries. “It is clear that the survey struck a nerve,” says Charlene Solomon, president of RW3. “In fact, the huge response itself is one of the key findings. There is a pent-up demand for expressing the difficulty of working virtually across time zones, languages and cultures.”

The 2012 Virtual Teams Survey Report – Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams found that: In the virtual workplace decisions take longer and are harder to make; That the absence of visual cues makes it more difficult to collaborate, and that building team trust is more difficult.

The survey also found that working across time zones rivaled communication and other culturally based challenges for being the biggest hurdle facing corporate workers.

“It appears that while nearly everyone in today’s workplace recognizes the need—and appreciates the value—of virtual work, it is not easy, especially when cultural differences, time zone challenges, accents and communication styles enter the equation,” says Solomon.

The survey unearthed some surprises. 41% of virtual team members never met their colleagues in a face-to-face setting. Other key findings:

87% of respondents indicated at least 25% of their productivity depended upon working virtually.

33% said at least half of their virtual teams were outside the home country.

Respondents reported virtual teams were most different from face-to-face teams in managing conflict (70%), expressing opinions (55%), and making decisions (55%).

The top five challenges during team meetings were:

  1. insufficient time to build relationships (79%),
  2. speed of decision making (73%),
  3. lack of participation (71%),
  4. different leadership styles (69%)
  5. the method of decision making (55%)

“The rapid pace of globalization and the growing number of collaborative software solutions have enabled virtual work, and the demand for skills from around the world have made it a necessity, but virtual team work is not intuitive,” says Michael Schell, RW3’s CEO. “It’s about time we recognize the human side of the equation.”


RW3 CultureWizard is an intercultural training consultancy that specializes in creating online solutions and e-learning facilities for its client organizations. Founded in 2001 and with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London, RW3 blends over 30 years of experience in teaching global culture with the most up to date technologies. The company’s services include instructor led cross-cultural training, global and virtual team building and international assignee support.

Organizational Archaeology

A Research-based Framework for Analyzing, Managing and Integrating Corporate Cultures

Mark N. Clemente
Clemente Communications Group, LLC

The process of defining the characteristics and dynamics of corporate culture has long challenged business leaders. This formidable task has existed for as long as companies have sought to manage the specific forces and factors that drive organizational success or failure.

Finding ways to effectively analyze culture continues to rise in importance. High-stakes business events such as mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and large-scale outsourcing partnerships require a usable means of evaluating divergent cultures. This is to avoid the proverbial “culture clashes” that have effectively killed many otherwise sound corporate combinations. Moreover, from a general management standpoint, grasping the essentials of culture is crucial in aiding the optimization of organizational effectiveness and corporate growth.

This planning guide – and the research-based framework on which it’s based – is designed to provide a frame-of-reference for evaluating, managing and enhancing culture. It is a tool developed from an extensive web content analysis of reputable online information sources, as well as web-based panel research with senior HR decision-makers. The primary research focus: pinpointing and assessing the importance of the most universal organizational traits that characterize corporate culture.

To learn more about Organizational Archaeology now… please contact Ed Cohen, Editor, Global HR News.

About Global Business News

EdCohen1“In a global, interconnected economy, jobs will flow to the nations with the best training and education. “

– Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO, BlackRock 

Well, that just about says it all… about why GlobalBusinessNews  can be important to you and your organization.

Bom Dia, Olá, Hola y bienvenidos, konnichiwa, nǐ hǎo, Aahn-nyong Ha-say-oh, Marhaba, and Shalom. Hello and Welcome.

It’s in our DNA to bring business people together from across time-zones, cultures and borders within a collaborative, educational format to exchange ideas and this just might enable problem-solving and form a foundation for ‘innovation’.

To help you prepare you are invited to PARTICIPATE in ongoing corporate GLOBAL RESEARCH on the theme, GOING GLOBAL, LESSONS LEARNED …please click here.  The findings will be discussed throughout the year at the LIVE conference workshops as well as on the radio and in the magazine.  


Here are some questions to consider about ‘GOING’ GLOBAL’…

How has ‘international business’ impacted your career?

How has it impacted your business operations?

How has it impacted your own attitudes?  

Do you now work differently?  If yes, tell us how.  

How will talent be acquired, from where? 

How will the talent be trained and developed? 

How will it be deployed and will the relocation benefits serve ‘leadership development’ or will the relocation create additional problems? 

What about ‘succession planning’ and the ‘next assignment’ utilizing the new skills developed from the relocation experience?



All of this relates to market development and expanding global business. 

For the world will be living in, leadership needs to develop an enhanced Global Mindset and learn what it will take for organizations and companies to “win” in globalization and deal better with seemingly “light-speed” business and economic changes. 

Dynamic, shifting global business opportunity is causing leadership strategy to change and this shift is resulting in capital re-allocations and this will impact workforce planning. 

Would you like to be our special guest interview?  Would you like to become an editorial contributor? Would you like to be a conference workshop faculty member?

• value your time and resources.
• rovide content designed for solutions.
• take-away practical info, new contacts.
GlobalBusinessNews  offers 100% guarantee on education quality and usefulness. 

Please contact me directly… 


Randip Singh of US Global Mail: The Expat Mail-Forwarding Solution

After leaving his corporate job as a CFO,Randip Singh learned firsthand that the process of buying an existing small business can often be as gut-wrenching as starting a new one from scratch. He also learned the events that follow when new leadership takes over can be a critical lesson in self-control.

Motivated by the success his wife experienced with the purchase of a cloth baby diaper manufacturing business, Singh decided a few years ago that he was ready to leave the corporate world and give entrepreneurism a try. For nearly a year, he searched for available businesses using the Internet and small business brokers. During one of his Internet searches, he stumbled across a retail global mail business that had started dabbling in mail-forwarding services for expats living abroad. Singh was dazzled by the possibilities for growth.

But after purchasing U.S. Global Mail — which has a retail location, Memorial Postal Center, that had served as the primary business since opening in 1998 — Singh did something that not many new entrepreneurs have the discipline to do: He sat and watched, and waited.

“I was able to rein myself in right away,” he said. “For the first month, I moved my desk onto the work floor and just sat there watching the packaging and shipping. I wanted to first understand exactly how everything works.”

Singh, who has a degree in civil engineering and also holds an MBA, said holding back on making changes was the most difficult part of the entire process, especially since he came to the table with several ideas already floating in his head. Singh even negotiated a deal for the former owner to stay on board for the first 30 days to help him learn the operations.

“When you come in with an MBA and a corporate background, you want to implement changes and do some big things right away,” Singh said. “But it is a bad idea to make any changes at all during the first six to eight months, and I knew that.”

Although he did implement some major adjustments, he did so gradually, eventually transitioning the single-location postal center into a multifaceted company that caters to expats living abroad by offering personalized mail and package forwarding, virtual mailboxes, international shopping and shipping, customized mail management solutions for corporations and relocation companies, and small business warehousing and mailing solutions.

And Singh’s discipline paid off.

Although he has added a few employees since that time, all of the employees with U.S. Global Mail at the time of Singh’s purchase in 2009 are still with the company today, each of them sticking through the transition to an emphasis on mail-forwarding and services for expats, with the neighborhood postal center serving as a supplemental business.

“That mail-forwarding part of the business had been built a little bit, the foundation had been set, but I saw the potential for it to be so much more,” he said. “We just had to do it the right way.”

The employees also were game for the difficult transition from a manual process to a fully automated process for mail intake and forwarding.

When Singh purchased the company, employees were taking in packages for clients — which pay a flat fee for monthly mail intake services, plus additional fees if they want their packages forwarded to them overseas — and manually logging the piece and entering a description of the package and the dimensions to help clients decide if they wanted the parcel forwarded.

Singh eventually moved to an automated process that enables machines, which the company designed and built, to take and upload photos of the packages as well as to log its dimensions and label details.

This shift allowed U.S. Global Mail, which handles thousands of pieces of mail each month, to dive headfirst into growth opportunities without adding a significant number of employees.

“All of the sudden, I wasn’t worried about how we would handle the growth that might come our way,” Singh said. “We now had the technology to handle five times the volume we had been handling.”

This advancement allowed Singh to go out and start marketing the company’s mail-forwarding service to companies and individuals on a larger scale.

In 2010, he opened a warehouse to serve as the centerpiece of the operation, then got to work on marketing. In 2011, Singh’s wife, Tashi Nibber, sold her diaper business and joined U.S. Global Mail to help with marketing and business development.

Singh admits that marketing was a skill he had to learn as he went along, but he jumped in with both feet.

“Coming from the corporate world on the side of finance and operations, I had kind of thought of marketing as fluff, but now I know how central it is to the success of a company,” he said.

U.S. Global Mail has started marketing on expat websites, working with bloggers in that space and taking steps to lock in search engine optimization. The results are already showing — Singh said the company added more clients in the last four months than during all of last year. And the company’s client base has increased by 47 percent since he took over four years ago.

Revenue has followed the same upward trajectory, on track to bring in $2.6 million this year.

The company also acquired more warehouse space this quarter, almost doubling its space in preparation for future growth.

“We are in a position now where we have the capability to process 100,000 parcels per month,” Singh said. “We are ready for the next stage.”