Global Growth, Emotional Awareness & Productivity

KaizenBiz , Twitter chat, One of the recent introductions to the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz in 2013 has been the “Bring Your Own Headline” discussion. This conversation is usually much more wide ranging and even better when someone from the KaizenBiz community shares something that caught their attention. Have you come across any interesting posts or new stories that make you stop and think? This week, we are going to move from topic to topic and see what big ideas are popping up. So, check out these stories and bring your own this Friday to the live Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am.

Better global economy?

There have been glimmers from regional economies that growth is occurring. Ireland exited the bailout last week and other parts of the Eurozone are showing fractional improvement. The Japanese economy is looking better. While economists are more positive, they are not saying it’s entirely bullish.

What observations have you made regarding the economy where you are located?

How are different sectors responding to the economic news?

What is same/different about this economic recovery?

 Being able to read organization’s emotions can improve odds of success?

There are probably leaders all over the world who just don’t get “it.” In the US, President Obama’s approval rating and the exit of Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft are good examples of how that emotional stuff can interfere with any strategic plan, no matter how well thought out or designed it might be. As Quy Huy, INSEAD Associate Professor of Strategy and Director of the Strategy Execution Programme, wrote in his post,  many executives “fail to…take into account the hidden traps related to soft human factors, including the collective emotions of middle managers and others who influence the process of strategy execution and have a critical impact on the outcomes.”

Steve Tobak recommends in his Inc post that we should ignore emotional intelligence because it is a business fad. (Although this fad seems to be going on for decades now) He cites a list of leaders who are not known for being kind or compassionate but their companies are successful. Tobak and many others show an oversimplification in their understanding of emotional intelligence. It still doesn’t answer why leaders ignore the zeigeist of their company while following the strategic plan. Quy Huy’s point about ignoring emotions reminds us that people will express in their behavior their willingness to execute or derail any plan.

What fosters the disconnect between upper management, middle management and the workers?

While models like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are touted as successful examples, why do people continue to fail to execute strategic plans?

Does an emotionally intelligent leader have to seem “nice” or can there be other expressions of awareness?


We all have lots to do. As my good friend, Kneale Mann reminds me, we all have the same 24 hours each day as everyone else (including all those famous people). There are always posts telling us what highly successful (read “highly productive”) people do with their day. There are reports that our productivity rises or falls depending on where, when and how we do our work. However, it seems to boil down to our daily choices and habits.

One of these habits has to do with email. In an interesting post on Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam discusses the pros and cons of checking email first thing in the morning. Reading and responding to email can certainly use up time we meant for other activities. MIndset certainly plays a role in this. Seth Godin suggests that we become productive when we are “non-productivity and deciding to do something that matters, right now.”

How is productivity different from efficiency?

What expectations do people have about their workload or daily schedule?

How do we buy into the idea that we are so busy that our productivity is hampered?

Please join us Friday, December 20, 2013 on the Twittter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT as we take a look at these and other topics. Bring your own suggestions and a question.






The Euro Crisis-Bred In The Bone

Ed Dolan, economist, euro crisisThis post is by guest blogger, Ed Dolan (you can find him on Twitter as @dolanecon). He is an economist, writer and educator who wants to make economics understandable to everyone. We continue to celebrate our 3rd anniversary of this Twitter chat as we explore the Euro Crisis, politics and the global economy this Friday, July 27th, at 5pm BST/12pm ET/9am PT on #KaizenBiz.

The slow-motion disintegration of the euro area is the least surprising economic crisis of modern times. It was bred in the bone when EU leaders ignored all that was known about the benefits and risks of currency areas in pursuit of political objectives.

Advantages of the euro… Continue reading


How Are Businesses Responding to the Global Economy?

Business responding to global economyAn idea has been running through my mind over the last few months. What if businesses decide to step outside of the global economy? With the UK slipping into recession, the onging Eurozone crisis and Asia slowing down, it would seem that things are not looking well at all. And it doesn’t look like it is going to change much over the next 10 years if the forecast in the Global Outlook 2012 is accurate.

But is that the whole story?

If you look at specific economies, you start seeing that there is some positive growth. Within the Eurozone, Ireland is starting to show consistent growth and Germany remains strong. Despite the slowdown, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are growing. Chile’s economy is growing and the US economy is showing some modest growth of its own. And there is some very interesting stuff happening in Nigeria.

Are these examples of businesses “stepping out” of the global economy?

It may be more of a mindset or an unwillingness to wait and see if the economy is going to go back to “normal.” Perhaps there is some kind of recognition that things are not going to revert to how things were 4 years ago. Beyond regions of the world and specific economies there are some interesting trends:

Collaborative consumption– In a previous #KaizenBiz (it was #kaizenblog at the time) we had Nick Allen of Spring Ventures as our guest on this topic. ZipCar, AirBNB, Craigslist and bartering networks are finding success as they are connecting with customers who want use of goods or services when they need or want it without the responsibility or cost of ownership. This can be seen by businesses who rent equipment or have a virtual office for cost-cutting, personnel or other reasons.

Digitization of manufacturing-There is an interesting post on The Economist explaining how manufacturing is experiencing a revolution. Additive manufacturing includes using 3D printers to create moulds, lighter and resilient new materials, more robotics and online collaborative manufacturing services. Not only will larger manufacturing companies take advantage of this but also smaller companies will be able to compete effectively.

Collaborative relationships a la “Co-opetition”– Even though Brandenburger and Nalebuff’s book has been out for years, their point about changing the game has not gotten old. With cloud computing, social media and other technology tools, there are large and small companies engaging in short and long term relationships to achieve profitable success. There are a number of corporations partnering with universities to create incubators resulting in thriving companies. There are all kinds of collaborative relationships of a smaller nature between peers in networking groups.

What is so different about this economic turbulence compared to past recessions?

How do emerging economies fit into the overall global economy?

How would you describe how businesses are responding to the global economy?

Which sectors do you think are positioned to succeed in today’s business environment?