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  • 30 Aug 2017

    THE Japanese have snubbed the European Union saying they will look to trade with Brexit Britain first despite negotiations for a deal with the Brussels bloc.

    Tomohiko Taniguchi, special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Britain had stronger ties to Japan.

    Prime Minister Theresa May is flying into Japan for three days of crucial trade and security talks with political and business leaders.

    Speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, Mr Taniguchi said the Japanese had a “preference” for Britain.

    Asked if Japan would focus on its recently agreed trade deal with the EU over business with Brexit Britain, he replied: “Britain has always cut a special niche for Japan.

    “There is an inherent preference among Japanese people, Japanese industrialists, to doing business wherever possible in the United Kingdom.

    “There has also been a huge amount of capital sunk into the United Kingdom so naturally there is a strong desire for Japanese business leaders to continue to do business, if possible, in the UK.”

    Mr Taniguchi added Mrs May’s trip would give a “powerful signal” to the world that the two nations can “make a difference together”.

    He said: “She is going to make a giant stride forward. 

    “Prime Minister May, Prime Minister Abe are going to give a very powerful signal to the rest of the world that two island seafaring, democratic nations are making sure once again that there is ample room for both nations to make a difference together.”

    Mrs May’s visit is an unusually long one for a UK Prime Minister to make to a single country.

    She hopes to use it to cement defence relations with Tokyo - seen as London’s closest security partner in Asia - as well as building commercial links and laying the groundwork for a UK-Japan free trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union.

  • 28 Aug 2017

    It doesn’t matter how good your strategy is, if you’re not skilled at what you do, that strategy won’t take you very far.

    As Jason Fried and DHH have said:

    “Many amateur golfers think they need expensive clubs. But it’s the swing that matters, not the club. Give Tiger Woods a set of cheap clubs and he’ll still destroy you.”

    When you’re confident about what you do and clear about where you’re going, the right strategy will make itself known. Hence, when your “why” is strong, you’ll figure out “how.”

    The how comes from the why. Not the other way around.

    If you’re looking for how to be successful, you’re going about it all wrong. You’re doing it for the wrong reasons. And you’ll continuously be left searching for the next patch of land to find gold.

    What will be left?

    An open field of half-dug holes, three feet from gold.

    If you know what you want and why you’re doing it, you’re not worried about the “gold.” Your security is internal. You aren’t worried about the outcomes because you already know they are coming.

    For you it’s never actually been about the rewards. It’s only and always been about seeing how far you can go. About achieving the impossible. About never stopping.

    Take everything external away and you’re still going to continue with the same intensity you always have. Give you everything — fame, money, whatever else — and it wont derail you.

    Here’s how to become the best at what you do:

    1. Work On Yourself, Not On Your Job

    “Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

    Your work is a reflection of you. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, stop looking for better strategies.

    Instead, look inside.

    Are you currently the person who would attract the level of success youseek? Your outer conditions are a reflection of your inner reality. As James Allen has saidYour circumstances reveal you to yourself.

    Where you are right now: that’s you.

    If you want something different: improve you.

    Most people focus on their craft or their “job.” That’s all well and good. However, you’ll get far more bang-for-your-buck by focusing on yourself.

    20% of your energy should be devoted to your work.

    80% of your energy should be devoted to rest and self-improvement. This is what fuels your work and makes it better than anyone else’s. Self-improvement is more than books and true rest is renewal.

    While others are trying to improve their job, you’re continuously improving yourself, expanding your vision, skills, and abilities. This is akin to Stephen R. Covey’s 7th principle: Sharpen your saw. Most people are trying to chop down their tree — their “job” — with a dull saw.

    “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln

    Within a short period of time, you’ll have developed true mastery. Everyone else is trying to hone their “craft.” Don’t work on your job. Work on yourself.

    When you do, your work will far exceed what other people are painstakingly producing. Your work will be cleaner, clearer, and more powerful because you’ll be more evolved as a person. Most people you’re “competing” against are an inner mess.

    2. Consistently Put Yourself Into Situations Others Can Only Dream Of

    “Necessity is the mother of invention.” — English Proverb

    Your results aren’t a reflection of your talent. Lots of people have talent. Few people, however, are required to rise to a difficult challenge.

    Most people never put themselves in demanding situations — situations that humble and scare you.

    You need to put yourself into positions that create immense pressure. The kind of pressure that will either make or break you. This is how you purge out your weakness and small-mindedness. It won’t be pretty. But it will change you. And eventually, you’ll rise up. New. Changed. Better.

    You need to be taking on challenges that require you to become so much more than you currently are. You need to put your back against the wall so you have no other choice but to produce.

    This is how you evolve.

    How do you put yourself into these situations? You initiate. You don’t wait for life to come to you. You don’t wait for the “next” opportunity.

    You improve your current situation or “job” by providing actual value. You pitch ideas. You ask questions. You try and fail. You take on roles that require greater responsibility.

    “Leadership” is available to everyone. You just need to assume a leadership role. You can do that right now, in whatever situation you’re in. You do this enough, and continuously pitch yourself and your ideas, you’ll create opportunities. You then maximize those opportunities and more will come.

    Opportunities are like ideas. The more you use them, rather than let them simmer, the more will come. Most people sit on their ideas far too long and they become stale. Similarly, most people sit on their opportunities too long and they stop coming.

    3. Don’t Copy Other People. Make Them Copy You.

    “From this point, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level, you’re not going down to theirs. You’re not competing with anyone else, ever again. They’re going to have to compete with you.” — Tim Grover

    If you’re still mimicking the work of other people, good luck.

    If you’re trying to replicate the work and results of other people, what does that say about your own inner compass?

    What does that say about your motivations?

    Are you just trying to find what’s working?

    Are you looking for the “how”?

    Do you actually know where you’re going?

    If you’re following someone else’s tracks, where do you think those tracks will lead you? To your own destination or to theirs?

    And even if you’d be happy with their destination, do you really think you could do it better than them? It’s their path. They’re driven by something deep and internal. You can’t get ahead if you’re always a few steps behind. If you’re always reacting rather than creating.

    If you don’t know who you are, you’ll always try to be someone else. And thus, you’ll never be the best. Your work will always be a cheap imitation. It will lack the feeling that produced the work or the idea.

    4. Stay In Love With The Process

    “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” — Norman Schwarzkopf

    The process — or the work itself — is all there is. Results come and go. And it’s never been about the results. Success is inevitable.

    Success comes easy because it’s the last thing on your mind. You already know it’s going to happen.

    The work itself — and becoming better and better at it — is what drives you. It almost doesn’t matter what you’re doing. It’s why you’re doing it that matters.

    The “what” can and does take many forms. Don’t over-attach to one role. Whether you’re a leader, writer, athlete, parent, “employee” — the what doesn’t matter. Why you do it and subsequently how you do it is what matters. Hence, how you do anything is how you do everything.

    When you are in love with the process, you seek feedback, mentoring, and coaching — even when you’re at the top of your game.

    You surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. You avoid people who suck-up and only tell you what they think you want to hear. Those aren’t friends. They have an agenda.

    Self-transcendence comes from collaborating with others who are driven by a greater and grander vision. When the whole becomes fundamentally different than the sum of its parts. When the work is the reward.

    Going beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. Complete openness to the possibilities. Unless you’re continuously improving and working with better people, you’ll never realize this.

    When you hone yourself, your work, and you produce — opportunities will come. They won’t help but come. Because you’re a magnet, pulling them in.

    5. Never Forget Why You’re Doing This

    “So many times it happens too fast
    You trade your passion for glory
    Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
    You must fight just to keep them alive”

    — Survivor, Eye of the Tiger

    It blows me away how often I see people throw their value-systems out the door in hopes for quick success.

    When I see this happen, I already know these people won’t succeed long-term. They clearly don’t have a “why” — or they forgot it. They don’t have an inner compass. Consequently, they don’t really know where they’re headed. It’s a destructive path.

    The moment you start compromising, you won’t stop compromising. As innovation expert, Clayton Christensen, has said:

    Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.

    This, unfortunately, is more common than not.

    It’s so common, in fact, that it’s almost expected. Hence, few people become the best at what they do. They end up becoming something far less.

    Conclusion

    Becoming the best is about never being satisfied with what you’ve done. It’s about continually improving who you are.

    It’s knowing success will come because you know who you are and what you stand for.

    It’s about initiating — continually creating situations that force you to become more than you currently are. Purging yourself of all your imperfections. Evolving.

    This is your journey. Take it.

  • 18 Aug 2017

    You want to grow your business, but you can’t be everywhere to do it. You don’t have an unlimited budget — time or money. And so how do you make multi-metro growth more attainable?

    That’s a problem we’ve been working on for two years. Yes, we’re two years old here at Global Chamber®. My, how time flies! When we started this journey, we had a somewhat vague aspiration to grow to 500 cities around the world. In our first year, we further refined that to a specific goal of 525 metro areas by 2020 and, along the way, 200 metros by the end of 2017. We just hit 160, so we’re on track!

    As with your business, the challenge to grow is always tempered by the ability to staff and fund. We don’t have unlimited resources, and you don’t, either. And, like you, I’m sure we’ve had things go wrong along the way. For us, first and foremost, was choosing the wrong website technology. That slowed us down for a year. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and we came roaring back with a better Web technology. that saved us. Here we keep going and growing! You can, too!

    We’ve read that 85 percent of the business opportunities in the next five years will be outside the US. — 99 percent of them will be outside our metro. Cross-metro and cross-border business isn’t for everyone. But more companies need to think about it because, increasingly, the opportunity to grow comes from somewhere else.

    We’ve heard some experts say that companies that aren’t global won’t survive past the next five years. That seems pretty extreme, but why wait to see if it’s true? Change your paradigm and you’ll likely have a better chance to reach 2020 and beyond a lot wealthier and happier.

    Conversely, we’ve heard that “globalization is dead” as well. Not exactly. Businesses around the world are capturing more and more opportunity every hour and every second of the day. Code and key words don’t change anything … executives will do what’s right for their business. And so, if some U.S. companies think globalization is ending, then companies from another country will take their place.

    What’s pretty cool is, we’re building out a worldwide system that touches every city, town and company in the world. We’re making it easier for you to grow from here to the metro across the state line or the country border. It’s hard to know what opportunities are the best, the most reliable and the ones that pay. Global Chamber supplies a lot of that information directly and indirectly — through members, connections and collaborators — and then we connect you. Want to grow? Join us!

  • 16 Aug 2017

    Prime Minister Theresa May is planning to make Britain a global trade leader by enforcing customs rules without a physical border, a world's first.

    Britain will push for a customs partnership with the European Union (EU) which would negate the need for a customs border between the UK and the rest of the bloc.

    The proposals would see Britain and the EU enforcing each other’s customs rules so there would be no need for a new physical border post-Brexit.

    If the proposal is given the green light it will be the first such agreement in the world.

    Also on the table are arrangements which would see the UK manage a new customs border using technology to streamline administration to the “fullest extent possible”.

    Theresa May

    The plans, to be announced by Brexit secretary David Davis, have already come under fire as they include confirmation the Government has decided on a transitional customs arrangement instead of cutting ties with the EU as soon as the UK leaves the bloc in March 2019.

    Insiders have said by having a three-year transitional phase the UK could be held hostage by the EU as they would be allowed to block any overseas British trade deals for that period.

    Mr Davis has argued an interim period is essential to avoid “unnecessary disruption” for UK businesses.

    Chancellor Philip Hammond is being blamed for potentially thwarting’s Britain’s ability to sign deals with non-EU countries during the three years as he won a Cabinet battle for the three-year “business friendly” transition for the UK.

     

  • 10 Aug 2017

    TRADE Minister Mark Garnier will reach out to counterparts in Asia this week in a bid to secure a “wealth of opportunities” for the UK post-Brexit.

    Mr Garnier is set to travel to Malaysia and South Korea this week where he will discuss boosting trade and investment links with the two countries. The minister, who works in Liam Fox’s international trade department, will start his tour in Malaysia, where he will speaking with leaders in the technology and education sectors before heading to South Korea where talks are expected to include co-operation in the motor industry.

    Mr Garnier said: "As we look towards our future outside the EU, it's important to strengthen existing trading links with thriving economies like Malaysia and South Korea and build new and mutually beneficial partnerships.

    "We know there is a wealth of opportunities out there and as an international economic department we are determined to help UK businesses seize these and make clear that the country is open for business."

    he news comes after Mr Garnier attended trade and economic talks with Brazil alongside Philip Hammond last week.

    The Chancellor secured new partnerships with Brazilian firms after he met with investors and led talks in the nation’s capital Brasília yesterday.

    Mr Hammond said: "Today's [Monday] dialogue has created exciting new opportunities for partnership between the UK and Brazil, Latin America's largest economy.

    "I am very pleased to be accompanied by executives from some great British companies with world-leading expertise, to help facilitate deeper economic and trade links between our two countries."

    Following the talks the Treasury announced support for trade via UK Export Finance is set to double to up to £3billion.

    Last month it was also revealed Australia has pledged to move as “quickly as the UK can move” in order to establish a free trade agreement after Brexit.

    The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull painted a positive picture of Britain’s future outside the EU, claiming he wants Australia to be the first country to share in the “prosperity”.

  • 10 Aug 2017

    Any business can become a "World Class" operation, regardless of size. The key factor is a commitment to “Benchmarking” according to John Eldred, founder of the Wharton School's Family Business Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

    You learn from others' experiences. You find out what the successful companies are doing, those in and out of your industry, and do it better. "Benchmarking,"

    There are many benefits to be gained from using "benchmarking" -- measuring yourself against others -- as a succession development tool, according to Eldred, a frequent lecturer before such industry giants as Alcoa, Anheuser-Busch, Bell Atlantic, Campbell Soup and Westinghouse.

    Among them: 

    • a clearer understanding of your customer/client needs
    • a better understanding of your own process, including such things as accountability, current strengths and weaknesses
    • knowledge of other companies' operations, which when properly applied may provide a foundation for building operational plans to meet and surpass other industry practices and policies. 

    "Benchmarking," Eldred cautioned the audience, requires some pre-planning. You just don't plunge ahead. He suggested a ten point "readiness test" for companies, comprised of the following questions and using a rating system of 0 to 10, indicating "no clue" to "clear winner." 

    Is there a shared vision?

    • Is there a commitment to quality?
    • Is there a commitment to learning?
    • Is there a climate for confrontation? 
    • Is there an information infrastructure? 
    • Is there a motivated key management team?
    • Is there competence?
    • Is there a long term perspective? 
    • Is there a strategic planning orientation?
    • Is there a capacity to compel commitment? 

    If you've answered "no clue" (0 to 3) or "long shot" (4 to 5), to any of the questions, you've got some internal work to do before forging ahead. 
    The greatest pitfalls in any "benchmarking" effort, he said, are: 

    • Lack of sponsorship. Selecting the wrong people as part of the team. 
    • Scheduling teams which do not fully understand their work. 
    • Teams taking on too much. 
    • Managers who fail to understand the necessary commitment. 
    • Focusing on metrics rather than processes. 
    • Not positioning "benchmarking" within a larger strategy. 
    • Misunderstanding the organization's mission, goals and objectives. 
    • Assuming every project requires a site visit. 
    • Failure to inspect benchmarking. 

    "Benchmarking," is an ongoing process. "A good scare,is worth a pound of advice." Fear of failure can be a great motivator. The Key values, strategies and traits common among the best companies are: 

    Commitment. A strong determination to stay the course. 

    Communication. Paying exceptional attention to employee comments and suggestions. "Wainwright Industries, a family-owned manufacturer of stamped and machined products for the automotive, aerospace and other industries, and a winner of the national Malcolm Baldridge Award for quality, claims its 275 employees are constantly suggesting ways to streamline the process, reduce delivery times and improve customer relations. You just have to listen, "people support what they help to create." 

    Culture Consciousness. Fitting systems and programs into the culture. 

    Customer-focused. Being proactively attentive to customer needs, both present and anticipated. Lost business opportunities, he noted, may have a significant impact on the bottom line, particularly when eight of every ten unhappy customers don't complain, they just don't return. Without some remedial action, he noted, these silent sufferers will soon be spending their dollars elsewhere. 

    Interdependence. Recognizing the influence of one function's work on others. 

    Never Satisfied. Being deeply committed to the continuous improvement ethic. 

    Relationship. Building alliances to gain support and complete the work. 

    Risk Taking. You need to take risks. Don't get sandbagged by your mistakes, he cautioned. Learn from them. 

    Strategy and Planning. Doing what management books prescribe. 

    A "world class" organization, has learned how to master change.

  • 07 Aug 2017

    Our cities have now been named as the saving places of a planet in crisis. And yet we cannot decide on the principles that make for a good city. Everybody has a view, but some views are more sustainable than others.

    What we desperately need is a big and general public dialogue about the principles that make for a good city. This is the basis of our project, Principles for Better Cities, led by the City of Berlin. It provides a platform for the Ecocity World Summit in Melbourne this week.

    Broader vision is needed

    We need to get beyond the current tendency to become fixated on spruiking different high-level concepts. For example, IBM, Microsoft and Big Tech have put their money – or actually other people’s money – on the smart city.

    But the concept of the smart city is too often reduced to narrow technological monitoring and big data collection. McKinsey says that a good city will achieve “smart growth”. But tell that to Brussels, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and Vienna, global cities that are declining in size.

    The Mercer group and The Economist tell us liveability is the key. However, they narrowly developed their indices for corporations seeking to decide on how much they will pay their executives for moving to less liveable cities. This raises a further question: “Liveable for whom?”

    The Rockefeller Foundation is backing the resilient city. This too is an important concept. But much of its appeal to governments is in saving resources as they seek to defer increasing climate risks through pushing responsibility back to resilient communities to self-manage their recoveries.

    A common problem of definition

    What actually is a good city then?

    Depending on who you ask, they are sustainable cities, liveable cities and resilient cities, but they are also adapting cities and carbon-neutral cities. Or they are caring cities, inclusive cities, just cities, peaceful cities, information cities and networked cities. To confuse things further, they are also prosperous cities, learning cities and innovative cities.

    Just by listing these urban forms, the problem starts to become clearer. These are just concepts with shifting or weak definitions. They mean anything “good” and apply variously to anybody’s projections.

    The second problem comes with deciding what is actually good about these different emphases.

    As part of this difficulty, assigning different indicators to each of these urban forms is extraordinarily difficult. Is a city more liveable because it has a Mediterranean climate? That is what the current liveability indices would suggest.

    Is a city more resilient because its “man-made assets” are more robust? (Excuse the gender-specific language here.) That is what the core resilience literature tells us.

    Image: Mori Foundation

    Who decides?

    The third problem centres on the question: “Who decides what is good?”

    The principles and indicators tend to be decided by elite researchers working at a distance from the field, or by teams using sets of secondary data that may or may not be appropriate.

    There’s not much a city can do about being close to the beach or having a Mediterranean climate.

    Elite teams develop black-box indicator sets (such as liveability indexes) that remain commercial-in-confidence. The data drive the index construction without consideration of the meaning of that data. For example, one index ranking better cities in the greater Sydney region is driven by an indicator that suggests a key consideration is being closer to the beach or mountains.

    The fourth problem becomes how do we order and prioritise the many claims about what is good. There are so many considerations that the number of potential principles becomes overwhelming.

    This happened to the New Urban Agenda, developed by the United Nations over the last two years. It has hundreds of principles, all thrown together in an incomprehensible list. Cities are understandably confused.

    Towards an inclusive, holistic approach

    Our Principles for Better Cities attempt to respond to all these problems. Complementary to the New Urban Agenda, Principles for Better Cities is an initiative of the World Association of Major Metropolises, which has been working with cities on a set of basic principles to guide good urban development.

    This set is based on the proposition that, rather than just adding together a list of proposals from different current or immediate concerns, the principles should begin from a general framework that concerns the human condition.

    We start with the idea that there should be basic principles that relate to the following basic domains of social life:

    Ecology – cities should have a deep and integrated relationship with nature.

    Economics – cities should be based on an economy organised around the social needs of all citizens.

    Politics – cities should have an enhanced emphasis on engaged and negotiated civic involvement.

    Culture – cities should actively develop ongoing processes for dealing with the uncomfortable intersections of identity and difference.

    These have become the top-level principles for going deeper and deeper, elaborated across more and more specific subdomains of practice.

    And here is the completely novel dimension. These principles have been and will be debated by people. None of these principles are fixed, hidden, confusing, or commercial-in-confidence. They are the outcome of open dialogue.

  • 03 Aug 2017

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain plans to create a new body to investigate and tackle incidents of unfair trade, such as dumping, when it leaves the European Union, according to a details of a job advert on a government website. 

    Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain will leave the EU's customs union when it leaves the bloc, in order to pursue its own trade agreements with countries around the world. Britain's trade policy is currently handled through the EU. 

    "We need to develop the UK's approach to tackling allegations of unfair competition and build the capability and capacity to investigate complaints and enforce the rules," the government said in an advert for a "digital design lead". 

    The "UK Trade Remedies Organisation", with about 130 staff, would be part of the Department for International Trade, and would be legislated for in a new Trade Bill to be introduced to parliament in September. 

    The advert predicts the organisation would need to be operational by October 2018 to take on new investigations which would otherwise be concluded by EU authorities after Britain's planned exit in March 2019. 

    Delivering "a fully functional and fit-for-purpose organisation" in this timeframe will be "a huge challenge", it adds. The person taking the job advertised would help design the organisation. 

    "What we expect to deliver and the related timescales could change as our detailed policy thinking develops, as the legislation moves through parliament, or as a result of the on-going negotiation with the EU," it said.