Thursday, December 24, 2009
No International MBA, a turma que se forma em fevereiro de 2010 já está bem encaminhada na busca de empregos; todos os estrangeiros fizeram projetos de consultoria, com 95% de aproveitamento, e algumas empresas com operações globais estão em processos adiantados de recrutamento destes alunos.
Assim, 2009 foi um muito bom ano, e fazemos votos que todos vocês, e as novas turmas que começam em março tenham um ótimo 2010!
To read in english, click here
In the full Time International MBA, the class that graduates in February 2010 is finishing up their final projects, and many are well advanced in recruitment talks with major global companies, which have seen great potential in this group.
So, 2009 has been a very good year, and we wish that all of you, and our new students starting in March will have a great 2010!
Para ler em português, clique aqui
Monday, December 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Alfredo Behrens, Professor of Cross-Cultural Management
FIA, International MBA, São Paulo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Email communication is culturally rooted in the Northern hemisphere and, in being emotionally lean, it is not the most Latin-friendly media, yet, use it we must. As a student enrolled at FIA’s International MBA or EMBA you are likely to work at organizations that span the globe. It may help you to be aware of how you may be seen elsewhere when an email of yours arrives. How you are seen may reflect on your chances of promotion, which entails in meeting established standards of leadership skills through email communication. Developing your skills at inspiring followers is particularly relevant at your fuzzy stage of organizational development, where emerging leaders are expected to influence a team’s outcome without much formal authority over them. This becomes even more relevant when taking part in geographically dispersed teams, where the impact of different cultures might get in the way your effectiveness as an emerging leader.
Soft tactics, like presence in email exchanges through frequent helpful participation, or seeking to ingratiate yourself may result in higher acceptance of you by the rest of the team. It pays to be kind, as long as you do not look insincere; much as in face-to-face communication, flattery may advance your interests, but not if it is perceived as seeking ulterior motives.
Email, in being emotionally lean, facilitates the application of soft tactics like ingratiating yourself in one email, even with typos, for those may be taking as evidence of spontaneity. Yet it may pay sending a request for collaboration in a subsequent email, avoiding a too facile link of your ingratiation move with the request for help or input.
On the other hand, hard tactics like commands or reprimands, are particularly resented when perceived as presumptuous, as they are when you have no formal authority over the people you may address such emails too.
Appearing rational in an email exchange is always positive, but does not seem to be as important in generating followers to your position. In part because you are expected to be rational in any case, but also because the email environment, being so emotionally lean in nature, prizes those who voice affection and consistency, the latter being taken as evidence of fairness, a quality expected of an effective leader.
Before hitting the Send button it might pay to think how you might be seen at the others’ Inbox. Take some time to Read more at: Lindred L. Greer & Karen A. Jehn. Follow Me: Strategies Used by Emergent Leaders in Virtual Organizations, International Journal of Leadership Studies. Volume 5, Issue 1 / 2009.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Tenho a satisfação de informar que subimos este ano sete posições no ranking de 2009 do Financial Times de Londres, passando de 68° para 61° lugar entre os melhores Executive MBAs do mundo. Este resultado reflete nosso esforço de maior internacionalização, trazendo cada vez mais professores, conselheiros, e alunos do Exterior para participarem em nosso curso, além de incrementarmos as viagens e a participação em congressos e eventos internacionais.
Outros pontos fortes da nossa avaliação são a qualificação dos professores (PhD. rank) e a seletividade dos alunos, que formam o sexto grupo mais experiente do mundo. Nossos ex-alunos figuram em posições de direção de grandes empresas, e sua remuneração média está entre as doze mais elevadas na pesquisa global do Financial Times.
No curso, são alcançados os principais objetivos dos alunos, com a consolidação de uma visão estratégica dos negócios, o aprimoramento em finanças, a troca de experiências práticas, o fortalecimento do network e é claro, a qualificação para desafios maiores em suas carreiras.
A pesquisa do Financial Times é a mais respeitada internacionalmente, pois é feita com muita objetividade. A FIA é a única escola brasileira que tem seu próprio Executive MBA no ranking do Financial Times, posicionado acima de muitas universidades tradicionais dos EUA, ficando em 25º lugar entre os cursos baseados nas Américas.
Ficamos muito satisfeitos com estes resultados, mas trabalhamos sempre em novas iniciativas para continuarmos a melhorar. Estamos incrementando a exposição internacional com mais uma viagem opcional à Índia, trazendo mais professores do Exterior, e ampliando a atividade de pesquisa conjunta com colegas do exterior visando aumentar nossa publicação internacional.
Para os ex-alunos, estamos oferecendo programas de palestras abertas, e grupos de discussão e estudos de políticas públicas, sustentabilidade, empregabilidade e um trabalho de fund raising para modernizar nossos equipamentos de aula, além dos projetos sociais tradicionais da FIA e dos ex-alunos.
Contamos com seu continuado apoio e participação, James Wright
FIA climbs 7 positions in the Financial Times.
I am pleased to report that this year we climbed seven positions in the 2009 Financial Times Executive MBA ranking, from 68th to 61st place among the best Executive MBAs in the world. This result reflects our continued efforts in internationalization, bringing to our courses more faculty, advisors and students from other countries, as well as increasing study trips and attendance at international conferences.
Other strong points are the faculty qualifications and the selectivity of students, who are the sixth group most experienced in the world. Our alumni hold leadership positions in large companies, and their average salary is among the twelve highest in the world-wide survey.
We feel that we are meeting our student’s main objectives on entering the course, which are to obtain a broader strategic view of business, to improve their finance skills, share practical experiences, to strengthen their professional networks and of course, to gain more qualifications for ever greater career challenges.
The Financial Times survey is the most respected international ranking, for it’s objective approach. We are the only school in Brazil that has its own Executive MBA course in the ranking, positioned ahead of many traditional universities, occupying the 25th place among the EMBA courses based in the Americas. We are very pleased with these results, but we are already working on new initiatives to continue improving.
We are increasing international exposure an additional regular study trip to India, bringing more teachers from overseas, and increasing joint research with colleagues from abroad to increase our international publication. With our alumni, we are offering programs open lectures and discussion groups and policy studies, sustainability, employability and fund raising projects in addition to traditional social projects.
We count on your continuing support and participation, in these initiatives! James Wright
Thursday, October 15, 2009
A FIA manifestou-se compromissada em apoiar iniciativas semelhantes para futuras turmas e já estuda ampliar a adoção de práticas de sustentabilidade para todo o curso. Segundo o Professor James Wright, Coordenador do curso, outras sugestões de práticas sustentáveis estão sendo encaminhadas para aprovação pelo Conselho Consultivo do MBA Executivo Internacional da FIA com a idéia de minimizar o consumo de eletricidade, papel, além da utilização de materiais recicláveis e sustentáveis pelos alunos e professores.
Leiam mais e assitam o vídeo no link: http://consultoriaprofuturo.com/projeto-carbono-zero/
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Please RSVP and pass the invitation on to friends and contacts who might be interested.
Date: Jan. 18th 2010 Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Hotel Marine Plaza 29, Marine Drive Mumbai 400 020
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Please RSVP and pass the invitation on to friends and contacts who might be interested.
Date: Oct. 13th 2009Time: 11:00 am
Location: The Chesterfield Hotel - 35, Charles Street, Mayfair - London W1J 5EB.
Email: email@example.comConfirm your participation: http://informationsessionsmba.questionpro.com/
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
After a very full week, the FIA staff traveled to Miami and hosted on Saturday, 26th September an open house information session at the downtown Hilton Hotel. There, we met with prospective students, and presented the FIA International MBA to candidates from the US who are interested in starting in our February 2010 class.
At Vanderbilt University, besides a strong program of classes on Marketing managent, branding and pricing, we traveled to visit Fedex, Nissan and jack Daniels. The FEDEX Superhub in Memphis, is an amazing overnight operation, where 130 planes are off-loaded, turned around and loaded with more than 1.5 million packages sorted by destination in a 3 hour period. At Nissan, we toured the plant and an operations VP explained how they operate the most productive automobile factory in the USA, and in the Jack Daniel factory, we could see at first hand how they have built a brand for bourbon ( actually, a Tennessee Whisky) which is the 5th most consumed whisky brand in the world.
Our group was very impressed by a presentation by Mr. Mark Emkes, CEO of Bridgestone-Firestone – Americas responsible for all activities from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Base on 22 years of international experience, including Dubai, Spain, Argentina and two long periods in Brazil, Mr Emkes made it very clear that straight talk, clarity of goals and respect for cultural diversity are fundamental ingredients for success in an international career.
An international seminar like this helps us learn across borders, and helps us understand some of the fundamental strengths and capacity for change of the American economy and society, who are critically reviewing recent mistakes and discussing changes and a new positining in a more equal and diversified world order. For our students who did not take part in this trip, we will as usual summarize the main topics and go into more depth in the international sessions on the 1st and 2nd of October.
Regards, James Wright
Monday, September 14, 2009
We are having an information session in the USA for anyone interested in attending our one year full-time International MBA Program in English.
Please RSVP and pass the invitation on to friends and contacts who might be interested.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The saga of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner trying to outsmart each other has turned out to be useful in my research into cultural variation in management styles between Anglophone and Latino leaders. The cartoons are effective at gauging cultural responses because they are globally accessible cultural icons. Because they’re silent, they’re mostly free from language constraints, and they’ve been distributed by Warner Brothers to TV screens across the Americas — and all over the world.
I asked MBA alumni around the world to state which of these two characters they most consistently supported and to explain why. Most Anglophones sided with the Coyote, and most Iberians and their descendants preferred the Road Runner.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Professor of Cross-Cultural Management with FIA, International MBA
When it comes to business leadership, management textbooks do not question the practice of appointing managers by shareholders or their proxies. Because the practice has worked well where most of the management thinking has taken place, it is also considered the appropriate way to appoint leaders of subsidiaries. There, however, the workers may respond less effectively to managers chosen by people who do not share the national culture. There are interesting alternatives to the appointing top business leaders in China and Brazil.
Two decades ago Jack Perkowski realized that the Eastern Dragon was awakening and he had better be among the first to move in. He figured out that transportation was where the action would be and that taking part in the auto parts industry would be the accessible way to glide on the uplifting trend. With a Harvard Business School degree and some investing banking experience, Mr. Perkowski raised capital and in the mid nineties founded Asimco, in China.
Joint ventures were the rule then and not speaking any Chinese did not help Mr. Perkowski in spotting suitable local partners. But in at least one of his initiatives he got particularly lucky by investing in a company that came with a competent manager: Mr. Li Jienan. This man would eventually retire, opening the always hard-to-plan-for succession issue. That was when Mr. Li suggested the unthinkable to an HBS graduate: an election among the workers to determine his successor.
Mr. Perkowski still did not speak any Chinese and was at a loss to suggest an alternative to an idea that did not fit any management textbook. He took a deep breath and decided to trust the manager who had done so well for so long and agreed to his suggestion.
As it turned out, the man elected was whom Mr. Li would have chosen in first place. A perplexed Mr. Perkowski asked Mr. Li why go through all the fuss and the anxiety if the outcome would have been the same? Mr. Li replied that by proceeding to the appointment through an election, all the workers had been given a fair chance to decide who they would be run by, playing moot the argument that others candidates would have been equally or more deserving. Now ‘the new general manager can begin with a united factory,” said Mr. Li.
Mr. Li’s wisdom seems so obvious that one wonders why that decision is not practiced more often. Perhaps it is because the practical leadership of organizations has its roots in the management of armies, where soldiers could be expected to vote more emphatically for the promotion of generals less likely to send them to death in the battlefields.
That the Asimco case worked may be taken for a fluke. But perhaps it is not. That it took place in a collectivist society like the Chinese one is very telling, for it is in these societies that consensual decision-making and subjecting the interests of the individual to those of the group are more highly praised.
Southwest Airlines and Wal-Mart.
2 we know the glory that is his,/ A glory that can never die. From Charles Sorley’s In Memoriam, 1915.
accessed on July 20, 2009.
3 My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/ To children ardent for some desperate glory, / The old
Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori. From Wilfredo Owen’s Dulce
Read more in:
Perkowski, Jack. Managing the Dragon. New York, Random House, 2008.
Behrens, Alfredo. Culture and Management in the Americas. Stanford University Press, 2009. Also
available in Brazil.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
In the busy, crowded factory like city of Guangzhou, (old Canton) the provincial capital , and in the surrounding cities, our group of executives were able to see the real modern China, visit Chinese universities, and meet Chinese entrepreneurs and public officials. In a traditional Chinese university, students speak English but often the senior professors do not; and interpreters are required; senior executives and public officials usually address us in the Cantonese dialect, and often our mandarin speaking hosts from Peking also need interpreters! In companies, very often the junior managers are the only ones that speak English, and that fact is used as an advantage during negotiations, to gain time and create distinct decision levels.
Entrepreneurs are young, enthusiastic and ambitious. Two young Executive MBA graduates presented their companies producing western-style high end jewelry, and barbecue equipment! Both are focused entirely on exporting to sophisticated foreign markets from the very first moment since creating their companies, with very little interest in their internal market! Another small high tech LED flat screen start-up also has a tremendous market focus, and sells to all over the world from a very small and simple factory near Guangzhou.
In these locations decisions are fast and radical; local government applies all its efforts to attract investments. Special agencies facilitates public authorizations, negotiations with the union, and the necessary energy, housing and transport infrastructure. They claim to be one stop agents for business, and the attitude is definitely yes we can innovate, produce and export our products. The current crisis makes things more difficult, but the Chinese know that they are much better off today than 10 years ago; they feel that they can fix all their problems as they go forward; very real problems of housing, inequality, health, energy and infrastructure.
One recent example of a radical local decision was the ban on gasoline powered motorcycles in the main cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing; over the last 3 years millions of them have been replaced by small, slow, quiet, safe and non polluting electric scooters. Dozens of local manufacturers produce these low cost vehicles, in spite of the fact that most of China’s electric energy is produced in coal fired thermo-electric plants.
At the same time we in São Paulo worry about the dangerous motorcycles in our heavy traffic, and suffer with accidents, death of young people, pollution from motorbikes and horrible traffic congestion when the inevitable accidents occur. Worse, 95% of our electricity is of hydroelectric origin, which is clean, renewable, and available at night to recharge batteries when demand is off-peak.
Inspired by the Chinese problems and their positive attitude, some of our Executive MBA alumni are proposing to go beyond the great social work they already do. They are proposing alumni projects for our program like a zero carbon footprint, a permanent public policy forum, and a fund raising program for use of cutting edge classroom technology.
I would very much like to hear your comments and contributions on initiatives like these.
P.S. I’m writing mostly in English because we have an international audience (25% of the readers of our blog) and also, some of our students need to practice their language skills. Feel free to make contributions in Portuguese, English, French or Spanish !
Monday, July 13, 2009
International MBA/FIA, São Paulo
During over a decade we have witnessed the early morning yawning of the Eastern dragon, China grew at astonishing rates for over a decade. Market after market succumbed to lower priced Chinese products.
How long can this last for?
China grew at two-digit rates, but it also increased the depletion of its environment, aggravated income distribution between people and regions and triggered internal migrations to booming coastal cities which have turned into policy headache as China’s export-oriented growth cycle slows down, unemploying over 20 million migrant workers.
The environment issue will take more than the cosmetic “Blue Sky Plan” launched in anticipation of the Beijing Olympics, even though that took abating emissions from the fourth largest iron and steel mill. Besides dealing with the increasing desertification and the sandstorm which dumped 330,000 tons of dust in Beijing in April 2006 - now China must face how to deal with the dust, soot and acid rain resulting from coal-fired energy production targeted at 780,000 Megawatts for 2020. This is almost eight thousand times more than all of Brazil’s installed capacity in 2007. China’s power generation is almost 80% coal-fired. MIT estimated that China will install two 550MWe coal fired plants every week.
Water quality is poor and not enough to go around, certainly not to treble per capita consumption, the growth necessary only to bring Chinese consumption to world average levels. In a country so large there can only be regional disparities. While there are floods in some regions there are shortages in others. But where there is abundance of water it may be too polluted. For instance the Yellow River is so high in ammonia that it might not longer sustain life. But it is not all, up to 40% of China’s GDP is located along the Yantgtze River, however “the ecology of the Yangtze River is facing an extreme crisis, and if it is not addressed there is a fear that the ecosystem will collapse within ten years.” Only five more to go.
In the longer run there are also important demographic trends to pay attention to. China is also fast at being old. Over the next two decades the proportion of inhabitants over 60 years of age will have doubled. Ageing may have happened in any case, because of decreasing fertility rates, but was accelerated by the One Child Policy.
Currently, only 10% of the population takes part in the Chinese pension system; which in 2000 was partially funded by 100 million formaly employed and benefits 32 million retirees. The low coverage means that the majority of old people will have to rely on their savings, as can be complemented by a reduced family system, because of the One Child Policy. How much will these “only children” will agree to pitch up with is to be seen. Singletons share many characteristics of the first born, who, for some time at least, are only children. These tend to be high achievers, assertive and dominant, while laterborns score higher in Agreeableness and are generally more innovative. How these considerations will work out in China is hard to anticipate, but if the theory were correct, one should expect a future mix in the Chinese population which will be still more hierarchical and less questioning of status quo.
What will the waking-up look like?
The Yuan had appreciated about 20% since mid 2005 until 2008; an unmanaged depreciation of the Yuan would bring capital flight and a depreciation war with its Asian competitors. If there is a lesson to be drawn from the 1997 currency crisis in Asia is that it is necessary to stabilize the currency rather than let it be determined by the market in a volatile environment.
China has been caught in a difficult situation. At the height of the American-led financial crisis China had revalued its currency, loosing international competitiveness, thus aggravating the domestic impact of the world financial crisis. Besides, China’s growth is ecologically constrained. One avenue to release the latter constraint would be to de-emphasize the coastal-oriented development and regionally rebalance growth towards the Western provinces. This would temporarily dilute pollution pressure on the East and ease the current migration trend to the East of the country. But it would require targeting the fiscal stimulus away from the heart of the domestic crisis - East and South - and into infrastructure to develop communications with the Western provinces. On the other hand, the demographic constraint is harder to release and will lead to emphasizing capital intensive rather than labor extensive industries as its population ages.
Where to invest in China?
This is of course a broad sweep, but if one were to invest in China today I would recommend having a closer look at the mid to Western provinces, providing one’s product is not intensive in water and one can get the products out to a cost effective port, or that, in the longer run, your line of activity would benefit less from cheap labor than from a highly educated and disciplined labor force, in which case, you may rely more on air transportation for business.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Perhaps Dubai should not be analyzed with the same parameters as anywhere else. There is something dream-like about Dubai’s self-assertion. It has chosen architecture as a statement of its presence, and much of that architecture is great.
Of course these are not the only stunning buildings built in the last ten years or so, but they signal an intention: to bring a piece of desert to mind. In doing so, the Emiratis have succeeded in branding the desert. To this they added a powerful low-fare airline that has turned Dubai into a hub served by a massively modern airport. Now Dubai is where you may stop on your way somewhere else to appreciate what you can see nowhere else. Once this was accomplished it became possible to consider setting business in Dubai, as many high-tech and service initiatives have, from finance corporations to educational institutions, besides the world-class hotel chains like the Jumeira group, that cater for the well-heeled traveler.
FIA, International MBA
Monday, June 22, 2009
As your airplane approaches Shanghai you realize that this huge city-province is preparing to reach more than 30 million inhabitants. From the busy, ultra-modern airport you reach the city center in 8 minutes; a 430 km/hour ride on a smooth magnetic levitation train. In the Pudong business district, a bright, modern skyline appears with broad avenues already insufficient to make traffic flow quickly. At Tonji University, a Harvard-trained senior professor, Dr. Peng, tells us that China’s growth has been led primarily through investment in infra-structure and export; with the global economic crisis reducing exports, it now must be redirected towards internal consumption.
Visiting international companies such as Volvo, Voith Hydro and Vale (ex CVRD) you realize that building relationships is a long, time-consuming and unavoidable process; creating “guanxi” , the Chinese version of business networking is essential to developing a sustainable business. The Brazilians we met seem to adapt very well to this environment; but besides experienced Brazilian and European CEO’s we meet promising young Chinese managers. Typically with excellent technical backgrounds and training, they still seem to lack the communication and leadership skills to take over top management positions in international organizations.
A significant surprise is that labor costs are rising, but one finds that once the Chinese workers understand their tasks and are motivated, they work very hard, and are both productive and quality oriented. Another important surprise relates to environmental and safety issues. Strong legislation has been passed, and is being actually enforced by the authorities, at least in relation to major foreign firms. New companies must comply with environmental laws, and labor laws require a 40 day week, paid overtime, and respect to workers rights. Estimates on social charges on salaries vary from 40% to 50%. Competition for qualified labor is intense and unlike Japan, company loyalty is not a significant retention factor; companies must pay competitive wages and have excellent human resource policies to retain qualified workers.
After Shanghai our trip takes us to Guangdong Province, where Chinas economic opening started, to learn more about how Chinese companies are surviving the economic crisis.
Please watch out for the next blog!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
NOVIDADE NO MERCADO? É COMIGO MESMO
A curiosidade própria do ser humano pode salvar muitas empresas em meio à instabilidade econômica. Especialistas ouvidos por AMANHÃ foram unânimes em afirmar que, com o cenário de crise, o consumidor reforçará a experiência com produtos novos. Ou seja, se você enxergar uma longa fila para comprar o aparelho celular mais recente, como aconteceu no lançamento do IPhone em junho de 2007, não se surpreenda. "O novo século entrega de bandeja para as empresas a oportunidade de poder fazer experiências coletivas com os consumidores. As pessoas estão sempre experimentando novidades, ainda mais em épocas de crise", teoriza Monica Gregori, diretora de negócios da Natura.
A opinião da executiva tem a chancela de analistas de consumo. É o caso do Programa de Estudos do Futuro (ProFuturo), ligado à faculdade de Administração da USP. "A inovação é um imperativo para a obtenção de vantagens competitivas sustentáveis, seja ela um mero detalhe no produto ou uma mudança radical em processos ou modelos de negócio", resume Antonio Thiago Benedette, pesquisador do ProFuturo. Não é à toa que esse comportamento do consumidor faz com que muitas companhias continuem investindo em inovação, mesmo diante do cenário adverso. No entanto, junto com a novidade há um grande desafio para os gestores de negócios: fazer com que o consumidor continue tendo interesse pelo produto ou serviço em oferta. "Conseguir passar o cliente para o estágio da lealdade e da retenção está ficando cada vez mais difícil, ainda mais em tempos em que a fidelidade não tem lá tanto valor para o consumidor", completa Benedette.
Outro perigo iminente para companhias inovadoras é a invasão de cópias de produtos que fizeram sucesso no mercado. Em função de avanços tecnológicos cada vez mais frequentes, em pouco tempo a concorrência consegue desenvolver um equipamento ou produto praticamente igual àquele que encantou os consumidores. E, como se não bastasse se preocupar em manter alta a curiosidade dos consumidores, os empresários ainda terão de suar para se livrar das cópias
Thursday, May 28, 2009
On May 22 nd, Luis Carlos Affonso , The Vice President for Executive Aviation of Embraer, made an impressive presentation on leading projects in Brazil’s most important high tech company. He has an outstanding record as chief engineer for the country’s first passenger jet, ERJ.147, and as program manager for its large 170/190 series airplanes, Embraer’s largest and most complex development project to date.
Now heading the new Executive Aviation Program, Luis Carlos has led this award winning program to a series of very successful initial product launches. A graduate of the 1996 FIA Executive MBA program, Luis Carlos Affonso was able to share with our participants his broad management experience and insights on leading large projects at Embraer, the third largest aircraft manufacturer in the world.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Artigo publicado por Mauricio Correa Camargo, aluno da turma 35 do MBA Executivo Internacional, no LexisNexis, sobre um case apresentado no Counsel to Counsel, Fórum sobre Gestão de Departamento Jurídico e Compliance, e promovido pelo Martindale-Hubbell, mais consultado e respeitado guia global de referência de advogados e escritórios do mundo jurídico.
Sua exposição foi relacionada ao alinhamento entre o departamento jurídico e o escritório externo, tendo como tema: "Using Outside Counsel Effectively to Achieve Company's Goals". Seu case foi escolhido como Best Practice pela organização do Fórum, que teve a participação de gestores dos departamento jurídico de empresas como: GE, 3M, Copersucar, Vale, Unilever, Nestlé, Sanofi-Aventis, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, International Paper, Tishman Speyer, Software AG, Foxconn, CIBA.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Vision and Team-Building
The Welches rightly argue that Obama has the vision “ ‘thing’ without which a person simply cannot lead.” Obama’s vision ranges from the Economy to the Environment passing through Social issues and Foreign Policy.
While an expression of Obama’s cogent vision on Foreign Policy is more recent, we know he has the “vision thing” because Obama is an excellent communicator, both in the technique and the approachability. Not only he has addressed domestic constituencies, he has also succeeded with foreign stakeholders. Quite something.
Next, the Welch’s turn to Obama’s competence in team-building. They give him credit for folding in an egotistic team with high potential for derailment.
The Welches are right. This initial team is a fractious one. Take Larry Summers, for instance. Because he is talented he has been in demanding positions. Yet, wherever he has been he has rubbed people the wrong way, from the World Bank to Harvard.
Perhaps a different question should be asked, are there not equally competent people with a higher team working proclivity that the ones that Obama has chosen? This is not an idle question because it is nurtured in the Obama-tension that surprises us.
It is to America’s credit, besides to Obama’s own, that he became President of the USA. But it still does not cease to surprise us a little. Perhaps it is too soon and it will go away. But perhaps Obama senses this and feels that he needed to put some easily recognizable faces in his team to make it more credible.
Surely Obama could have chosen a lower-key team. Why didn’t he? Because he does not believe they would be as competent, or because they would not be as credible? In which case, we would have to ask, who with does Obama want to communicate?
It could well be that by inviting the abrasive individuals in his administration Obama aimed at dispelling doubts among those who are concerned about his own weaknesses. Whatever the reason, individuals like Larry Summers and Hillary Clinton are a risk to the credibility of Obama’s message of hope bred in solidarity.
Speed and Authenticity
Next, the Welch’s turn to Obama’s “Speed” another fundamental ingredient to an effective CEO.
The challenges were many and the Welches believe that Obama may have initially moved on too many fronts, to the point of distracting attention on the “Big thing” which, no doubt, is the sad state of the economy.
Indeed, we saw some time spent on the ritual of signing-off a bill in support of equal pay for women. That may have been distracting, but it did not take long, and it was necessary. Had Obama not dedicated enough attention to issues like these he would have conveyed the impression that it was business as usual and we all know where that led us.
Authenticity is another issue altogether. There is a hint in the Welch’s analysis that Obama may not come across as authentic as is desirable for a leader, and that; fortunately, his wife makes up for that.
It may well be that it is only a question of perception from the viewpoint of the Welch’s dinner party; but remember Obama’s choice of some abrasive individuals for his team? Negative perceptions add up, and erode a leader’s credibility. It could well be that Obama is not generally perceived as authentic enough and that it is too early to say so bluntly. But it may pile up and then be released on him with the force of an avalanche when he fails the first time, which he will.
The Welches do not mention the word charisma at all in the analysis of Obama as a leader. In a kind response to my comment Suzy Welch later clarified that “Obama's definitely charismatic” and suggested that this perception was implicit in their claim that Obama was a great communicator. Fair enough, but charisma is not the same as authenticity and this begs a different question: How inauthentic may an otherwise excellent communicator be before he is said to be lacking in charisma? I would say very little. If Obama were not perceived as authentic enough, he could hardly be seen as charismatic, despite his eloquence.
We know that charisma is a necessary quality for effectiveness in a leader because charisma awakens the level of affection among the followers which will lead them to forgive, even when the leader fails, as sometimes our Saints do; not because the Saints, or our leaders, are not on our side; but because the strength of the devilish creatures they must contend with may occasionally be just too much for them to succeed.
We do not cease to love our leader, nor our Saints, when they fail us; because we love them we forgive them. Take President Lula for instance. But will people cease to love Obama? No, it is unlikely that they will, because Obama, like Lula, are both Servant leaders. Their style of leadership is anchored in trust and in helping hands rather than in stark competitiveness. That style is unsettling to those in business circles and to them appears to be inauthentic, but it is not.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
It may help to figure out what type of innovation we are talking about, because business innovation can be incremental or radical. The first improves on what already exists. The last creates something new. Most innovation is incremental. Radical innovations, like television or the sewing machine, are rarer. Still, however radical, an innovation is not such until business can deliver it, and that requires business can make a profit on it.
Markides tells us in Fast Second that, for business to deliver an innovation, it takes transforming what may not be much more than a good idea into something that people will want to pay for at a price that business can make a profit on. This is why, Markides argues, that the company that takes a radical innovation to the market is seldom the one that developed the product in the first place. This happens because the company that developed the product frequently lacks the organizational skills that it takes to transform that product from the best possible into an affordable one and to market it and perhaps even support it after sales, Apple’s iPod and iPhone excepted.
That Apple’s leadership is exceptional, though perhaps not more than, say, Virgin’s Branson, suggests that, usually, firms that create radical innovations are led by people different from the ones that lead firms that produce incremental innovations. In the words of Stanford’s James March, a business that delivers incremental innovations chooses to exploits old certainties rather than explore new possibilities.
To explore new possibilities requires business to be comfortable with risk and ambiguities, it calls for an organizational culture that nurtures curiosity, which pays attention to needs and derives pleasure in satisfying wants. Oke et alli suggest that this type of leaders fits best the transformational type, which woo’s followers through charisma and by providing vision and generally making followers feel good about pursuing objectives, like radical innovation.
On the other hand, transactional leaders operate under the “carrot and stick” paradigm, which may seem dull but is operational in making modest things happen consistently, like delivering incremental innovation, which is most of what one appreciates on the shelves of department stores. Perhaps this is why, Markides contends, run of the mill corporations make so much fuss only to deliver marginally different goods.
Yet that is not the whole story. Run of the mill corporations have the knack to transform prototypes into products, brand them and distribute them. Chicopee Mills, a unit of Johnson & Johnson developed the first disposable diaper, Chux, in 1932; but it was Procter&Gamble that spearheaded Pampers in the 1960s by making them cheap and practical enough for everyday use. P&G’s current leader, A.G. Lafley, is generally regarded as exceedingly effective in prodding his team to remain innovative, but it is innovation of the incremental type that P&G delivers.
What about businesses that deliver commodities, which is what most Brazilian big business delivers? There may still be innovation in the processes, though not in the product. Yet we know that the Brazilian leadership style is of the paternalistic kind, in my view, a substantial variation of transformational leadership. If the Brazilian leadership style were transformational we would have filled the basic leadership condition for nurturing innovation, which by and large, Brazilian corporations do not. Embraer is an exception, and it does not produce commodities.
Perhaps it is high time for large Brazilian corporations to enter into the market for products in order to train to focus on innovation. India’s Ratan Tata, with his low cost Nano automibile, has made a wake-up call; so has China’s Yang Yuanqing by turning IBM into Lenovo; and IBM is now bidding for Sun Microsystems. Should a Russian tycoon come up with an innovation Brazil would be left last among the BRICS.
FIA, International MBA
- Constantinos Markides, Paul Geroski. Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets. John Wiley and Sons, 2004.
- Adegoke Oke, Natasha Munshi and Fred O. Walumba. The Influence of Leadership on Innovation Processes and Activities. Organizational Dynamics. Volume 38, Issue 1, January-March 2009, Pages 64-72.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
We are rapidly approaching the start of our 2009 International MBA Class, in just over one month.
I am very pleased to say that we are looking forward to working with a very international, well experienced and diverse group of candidates. Our group is made up of participants from the USA, France, Italy, Brazil, India, Colombia and Peru, and has an average 6 years of work experience. Industry areas represented by the candidates include IT services, oil and gas, marketing, retail, pharmaceuticals, banking and financial services, consulting, food and beverage, and agri-business.
The financial crisis that is affecting world markets is continues to have somewhat less impact on Brazil. Although export markets for commodities are down, currency fluctuations and lower energy prices are reducing the net effect, and internal domestic demand remains important, although slowing. As we saw in a recent workshop at FIA, in late December, with 3 economists and over 70 businessmen and alumni , Brazil’s GDP growth is forecast at 2.5% for 2009, fairly good when compared to -1% for the US and Europe. All in all, an exciting time to start an international MBA program and to study how companies and countries deal with turbulent times!
I look forward to seeing you in February!
Professor James T. C. Wright, PhD.
Director - International MBA
FIA Business School
Tel 55 11 3732 3520
Website : www.fia.com.br/internationalmba