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As Prime Minister Noda is pushing for more Nuclear Reactors to restart, Japanese tend to strongly oppose this decision.
Noda is claiming that the country cannot survive without cheap electricity and that only the restart of Nuclear reactors will allow factories to remain on the archipelago. However the recent massive demonstrations, unseen since the 1960′s are clearly demonstrating that Japanese do not agree.
During the past quarter century, Vietnam has emerged as one of Asia’s great success stories. In a nation once ravaged by war, the economy has posted annual per capita growth of 5.3 percent since 1986—faster than any other Asian economy apart from China. Vietnam has benefited from a program of internal restructuring, a transition from the agricultural base toward manufacturing and services, and a demographic dividend powered by a youthful population.
China is innovating. Some of its achievements are visible: a doubling of the global percentage of patents granted to Chinese inventors since 2005, for example, and the growing role of Chinese companies in the wind- and solar-power industries. Other developments—such as advances by local companies in domestically oriented consumer electronics, instant messaging, and online gaming—may well be escaping the notice of executives who aren’t on the ground in China.
More than half of CEOs in the Asia-Pacific region are Eery confident Eof increased revenue for their companies over the next three to five years, up slightly from a year ago. More than 40% of CEOs say their single greatest opportunity for growth will stem from the rise in spending power in Asia, particularly in China. These were the key findings from a survey by PwC of more than 320 CEOs across 26 countries, including the 21 APEC economies, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO summit.
To drive growth CEOs are seeking to expand in Asia’s fast growing consumer markets and to extend their presence in the evolving markets for services. Over 40% of planned investments, both by domestic Chinese and non Chinese companies, are targeted on China.
The CEOs surveyed remain confident that the economy of the Asia-Pacific region will continue to prosper despite the weak economic recovery in the United States, financial uncertainty in Europe and the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan earlier this year.
However nearly one-third of CEOs said the weak US recovery had impacted their companies Eo a great extent, Ewhile 17% said they had been strongly affected by conditions in Europe.
“The opportunities in the APEC economies for the remainder of this decade will be different from the past 10 years. Going forward, developing domestic Asian markets will replace low-cost manufacturing exports for mature economies as the main driver of economic growth in the region E said Dennis Nally, chairman of PwC International Ltd, who will speak at the opening session of the APEC CEO Summit on November 11th .
Among other findings of the survey:
If they could send a message to political leaders, two thirds of CEOs put a free trade agreement for the region at the top of agenda for issues that APEC leaders need to address.
Inter-regional trade pacts will play a key role in growth for APEC economies; 64% of CEOs said bilateral and regional trade agreements will be more important to their company than multilateral agreements.
Nearly 30% of CEOs say protectionist tendencies by their trading partners are a significant barrier to their growth while 32% of CEOs cite corruption as another significant obstacle.
Companies are changing their approaches towards innovation. More than 80% of CEOs said they plan greater use of emerging technologies such as mobility and cloud computing technologies.
APEC companies are seeking to lessen their reliance on traditional energy sources. One fifth are Eignificantly’ raising their commitment to green processes and products.
One fifth of CEOs are making significant changes to their innovation strategies to protect intellectual property rights.
A majority of CEOs in APEC economies say they face problems with talent shortages. Nearly half of CEOs based in mature economies have difficulty deploying people overseas.
Nearly 40% of CEOs are making Eignificant Echange to their talent strategies to deal with new challenges.
More than 40% of CEOs in the region expect to increase their headcount by more than 5% over the next three to five years.
CEOs in the APEC region recognise that cooperation between business and government is critical to economic competitiveness and social well being in the region. They cited financial sector stability as the top way in which companies can work more closely with government, followed by spreading economic access and opportunity across the population and promoting sustainable growth.
“CEOs in the APEC region see a future in which their countries evolve from ‘producer only’ economies to ‘producer and consumer’ markets. That change will require deeper capital markets, streamlined supply and distribution channels, and more consistent regulation with less corruption. Achieving those goals will require unprecedented cooperation and is something that CEOs look forward to political leaders addressing at next week’s APEC summit,” Mr. Nally said.
“Free trade, increasing innovation and creating the right environment through the rule of law are a key part of the APEC CEO Summit. This survey of APEC CEOs will provide essential context for what we believe will be a very productive meeting next week, Esaid Craig Mundie, chair of the APEC CEO Summit and chief research and strategy officer, Microsoft.
It is a big leap from being dominant in one’s own country to becoming a worldwide leader in a rapidly shifting and highly competitive global landscape. But this is exactly what Samsung, LG, SK, Huawei, Haier, Lenovo and a host of other emerging Asian
multinationals are striving to accomplish. The most successful of these aspiring multinationals are doing it Eheir way E Ewith long-term vision, home-grown capabilities, Asian management practices, and an almost messianic sense of urgency and purpose.
While all of these companies generally focus on growing their own talent, there is a small cadre of invited best-in-class talent who reside at the senior levels of each of these Asian corporate success stories who are assigned the task of helping to ‘globalize Ekey elements of the business.
Reporting to the CEOs, these foreign executives, by and large, don’t speak the local language and many have never worked in Korea or China. But their impact has been felt throughout the global enterprise and most of these Asian conglomerates expect to hire more foreign talent as CEOs recognize the importance of building global capabilities, beginning with the head office.
These executives, recruited by the CEO to augment the existing leadership team, are asked to fill critical functional roles and build capabilities around global best practices. After participating in a number of these highly visible hires and collecting meaningful data on the success of these recruitment efforts, Korn/Ferry sought to define the success profile, including the ideal leadership competencies, of these executives.
The goal of this analysis is to enable companies to make more informed hiring decisions, ensure the success of these globalization initiatives, and help create an environment for the executives to achieve their personal and professional goals. What follows is the result of our research and Korn/Ferry’s view of the Euccess profile Eof these high-profile hires.
We surveyed 39 executives, a combination of Asian hiring managers and western-trained foreign executives who hold C-level positions with Korean- and Chinese-based multinational corporations which produce revenues of at least US$5 billion. Many are well known to Korn/Ferry and were personally interviewed for this article. All the foreign executives in our survey have management experience outside of Asia; 70 percent have worked in four or more countries, and 62 percent speak at least two languages fluently. Most have worked in Asia prior to joining their current employer.
Key takeaways include:
For a foreign candidate to be considered, he or she needs to demonstrate professional credibility – senior level experience with leading global multinationals, outstanding educational credentials, and a track record of corporate success on more than one continent. Once hired, however, these executives need to adapt to the local environment, demonstrate relevant on-thejob leadership competencies, and live the basic values of the organization. Said one executive, “Don’t rush in even when there is an expectation of quick action. Understand the context of why something is the way it is. E/p>
The practice of hiring western expatriates for C-level positions is fairly new, with most Asian corporations having less than ten years experience in assessing, deploying, reviewing, and promoting these top-flight foreigners. Most hiring managers (though not the CEOs) we surveyed are wary about defining these recruitment initiatives as a success, cautioning us that it is
too early to tell.
The vast majority of these foreign executives, all highly successful in competitive western multinational cultures, advise that humility is by far the most important personal quality required for success in an Asian organization. This quality can help the executive avoid political or cultural miscalculations and foster more immediate and stronger personal relationships.
Apart from humility, the top on-the-job leadership competency, as advised by these executives, is interpersonal savvy Ethe ability to relate well to all kinds of people, build rapport, and successfully navigate the organization.
Most foreign executives believe that their organization’s expectations of their performance are different from the expectations of performance of their local colleagues. The hiring managers agree that there is certainly more pressure for the newcomers to add value and deliver hard results. As one foreign executive said, “there is a sense that my contributions will be exponential, whereas the [contributions of] others are more linear. E/p>
It is both an advantage and a disadvantage to be a foreigner, depending on the situation. It is an advantage in pushing change. One executive said that “you can act in unconventional ways without violating cultural norms or the management hierarchy.” However, at the onset, it may be difficult to gain trust, to communicate, and can be a handicap in efficient decision-making.
Cultural training in and of itself will not determine a Western expatriate’s success in an Asian company. While one-on-one coaching can speed up the on-boarding process, the executive needs to arrive with cultural sensitivity already embedded in his or her DNA. As one executive in China said, “Do not try to change the company into something that is based on your own culture.
Learn how to extract the principles of your experience and inject them effectively into the local reality. EAnother executive, revealing perhaps one of his underlying motivations to join a Korean company, said, “Do it (take the position) for the growth, not the money, it will show. E/p>
Putting their own stamp on globalization
Aspiring enterprises with a distinctly Asian culture, workforce, and set of organizational practices and processes are going global in a highly compressed time frame, especially when compared to such western powerhouses as P&G, Unilever and GE, which have a 50 or 100-year head start.
Far from being disadvantaged, these successful organizations use their Asian experience to their advantage, bringing to the international stage distinct competitive strengths and capabilities honed during their remarkable rise to the top within their home markets. Their corporate cultures differ from company to company as it does in the west. They can be top-down or bottom-up, long-term or short-term focused, quick to make decisions or highly deliberative, decentralized or centralized Ejust as western companies are.
As these foreign C-level executives are discovering, there is no easy definition of Asian-style management. Samsung is quick-to-market in the US, exploiting capabilities derived from years of experience in the highly competitive Korean market where technological and product innovation is highly valued. In the US, LG’s mobile handset business built a reputation for being customer-centric from its ability to quickly adjust their business model and products to meet the needs of local
operators and consumers Ea success that would not be possible with an overly centralized and less entrepreneurial decision-making apparatus. Haier, a global leader in mini-refrigerators, after suffering from insufficient margins in the US, demonstrated local innovation by transforming their US offering into wine fridges at higher prices and margins, and is now a leader in a new category. Huawei, a telecom solutions provider, is winning market share in developed markets by offering competitive technology for lower prices than its competitors.
Just as Nokia’s rapid transformation and growth into a multinational mobile communications powerhouse produced, over time, a distinct global culture and set of practices that differ markedly from its global competitors, each of these emerging Asian enterprises is building a unique culture and set of practices, drawing on their core strengths and experience. Yet as they build their global organizations “their way, Evalues commonly associated with Asia do kick in, complicating the picture for executives new to Asian organizations. Most Asian companies have a teaming culture; a long-term view, combined with speed of implementation; a culture that puts the success of the enterprise ahead of the needs of any one person; and decisionmaking processes that emanate from the local culture.
Aside from their firm’s globally competitive assets, these CEOs recognize that long term global success Eas measured by return on invested capital, market share, revenue, margin, and other wellaccepted metrics Erequires more in the toolbox Eand fast. This urgent need is driving CEOs to foster a more global mindset, acquire brands and companies abroad, and build best-in-class capabilities in mission-critical functions like finance, HR, marketing, supply chain, R&D, and strategic planning. The practice of hiring top foreign executives to assist in the transition is part of this move.
Although they are not looking to build another GE, they may in fact seek talent with experience in GE, for the knowledge and practices they can impart to their headquarters in Asia. LG Electronics (LGE) has been particularly bold in its efforts to build global capabilities, recruiting a team of C-level functional executives from among the best multinationals around the world, several reporting directly to the CEO. In doing so, LGE’s CEO, Yong Nam, has been emphatic about preserving the best of LGE’s teaming and entrepreneurial culture. “These are the qualities that made us a great company. Adaptability is very important, Ehe told us. One of the executives also made this very clear, “When it comes to cultural adaptation, the executive should not expect to be met halfway. The executive should arrive with an open mind, embracing the differences. E/p>
Outside of Asia too, this step by step globalization of the management ranks requires making fundamental decisions about the role and responsibilities of Asian expatriates and local hires in key operating roles in places like the US and Europe. Asian-based multinationals, like western multinationals before them, are evolving toward some mix of Asian expatriates and local hires in overseas markets. This process takes time, care, experience, and a roadmap that puts talent and capabilities-building at the top of the strategic agenda. A small, hand-picked cadre of best-in-class global talent at the top sends a strong message to the field.
Best practices for the CEO and Asian Hiring Manager at Asian Companies
The stakes are high for these executives and their CEOs. Both the executive and the hiring manager need to understand how the position will impact the strategic objectives of the company. The executive and the CEO should be realistic with respect to the foreigner’s expected impact on the organization, the speed of change, the authority residing in the role, and the potential impediments, recognizing that every organization takes occasional steps back as it moves the ball forward. Over time, experience, will lead to more informed hiring decisions and enriching careers for foreign executives, a win-win for both the company and the executives. The following practices were developed in part from our discussions with hiring managers:
Demonstrate visible sponsorship from the top. The CEO must be prepared to strongly support change implementation and deal with internal integration challenges as they emerge.
Consider the bigger career issue for the executives. Are these foreign expatriates being hired for a specific contract period or is the company willing to help chart a career?
Fine-tune the role’s objectives once the executive has had time to assess the situation. Gain alignment with other stakeholders within the organization and agree on a set of performance measures and a process of evaluating performance.
Assess executives on their strategic and learning agility by probing for their experience in adapting business solutions to different situations and cultures. Assess a candidate’s level of personal flexibility, tolerance for ambiguity, humility and interpersonal savvy. These qualities can be assessed.
Look for ways to provide practical help such as providing language support, including simultaneous translation during group meetings. Consider assigning a local mentor to guide the executive during the first 90 days or longer.
An ongoing Process: resolving the internal Challenges
While most hiring managers say that it is too early to judge the success of these initiatives, many see more selective hiring of seniorlevel foreign executives in the future, notwithstanding the current economic downturn. Said a senior staffing manager at one of China’s largest multinational, “[Our company] is on the road to globalization; there’s no way back. EYet internal challenges remain and the issue can be controversial, even with companies experienced in hiring high-powered executives from the outside.
Integrating foreigners into the C-suite can be disruptive for the organization with cost, language barriers and lack of local knowledge often cited as reasons against hiring foreign talent.
At a strategic level, this is not a temporary skills-transfer exercise lasting two or three years after which time the task of capabilities building is done. Foreign expatriates will come and go for different reasons and needs, as they do in multinationals around the world, but the demand for these executives will likely continue. Over time, HR policies pertaining to compensation, performance management, and succession planning need to be created and refined. It is one thing to appoint a senior foreigner into a top staff or specialist role at head office, and quite another to appoint the executive into a P&L role overseeing hundreds or thousands of Chinese or Korean executives, managers and staff. Most Asian organizations, for good reasons, are taking it step by step, taking care to tackle the challenging HR issues with fairness and common sense.
In time, these issues influenced by language, culture, and the hard realities of global competition, will continue to evolve, leveling out the playing field for all nationalities. The result can be enriching for all concerned. The executives themselves see it positively. Virtually all of the executives we surveyed felt that they were well-prepared for the role and that the experience was a positive step in their career.
As one executive said, “…a foreign executive who is recognized as being successful in an Asian company should be regarded as having mastered one of the most challenging work cultures in the world. E/p>
About the Author
Michael Bekins is Managing Director of Korn/Ferry International Hong Kong, and Leader of the Firm’s Asia Pacific technology practice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK – “America needs to learn from the example for future growth and long-term sustainability being set by China, and build the infrastructure and invest in the education and development of talent in growth industries, such as renewable energy and electronics, to achieve long-term growth and the continuation of the whole American experience,” according to Dr. Stephen Leeb, a recognized authority on finance, investing and economic trends.
Realizing the tremendous career and growth opportunities in “green” industries and technology, Clayton regularly features experts in the field on his program.
However, the picture Dr. Leeb paints in his interview is troubling. China is gaining ground as a superpower and attaining competitive advantage over other developed countries, especially the United States, by using its profits to globally invest in and control mineral commodities such as coal, oil, zinc, silver, and gold. In his latest book Red Alert: How China’s Growing Prosperity Threatens the American Way of Life, Leeb argues that access to rare earth resources will determine the standard of living for future generations.
Leeb discusses how “U.S. officials and politicians engage in short-term myopic planning, endless legal maneuvering, scandals, and wartime investing that are crippling America’s economic viability.” Contrast this with China’s government, led by politicians with backgrounds in hard sciences. “China is spending enormous amounts of money planning for, and analyzing, the long-term consequences of global warming,” Leeb asserts. “The Chinese, I don’t think, hate Americans, by no means, but the Chinese are all for China. They would like to come off as the heroes in the environmental revolution.”
“There’s a war going on out there in the world between the two most important economic powers: the United States and China. We don’t know we’re fighting a war. We are,” said Leeb. “Our country needs to start looking forward to our future and how we can win this war and continue to prosper. However, it’s going to be virtually impossible to build out a new renewable energy society or create new energies, whether they call them renewable or not, without having access to rare earth. Right now, we don’t.”
As an example of the “war” with China, Leeb pointed to the Solyndra scandal. “Yes, there were bad people that were running Solyndra. The real issue here is that the most honest, best businessmen in the world would have run into trouble, too – almost insurmountable trouble – because, in the end, there’s really no U.S. solar company that can compete effectively with Chinese solar companies.”
Leeb views China’s accumulation of rare earth assets as proof of the country’s growing strength. “China almost has a hammerlock on two premier renewable energy markets – wind and solar,” said Leeb. “Their control and refining of the heavy rare earth elements, which are essential for building magnets that go into wind turbines, hybrid automobiles and military equipment, clearly demonstrates China’s ever-increasing lead in the global environmental revolution.”
“You know, the benefit of this is just as in China: if we do wake up to this, we will create a number of very big growth industries in this country – huge growth industries with great jobs,” Leeb concluded.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the latest report on Internet usage inMalaysia including insights into the top online destinations, content categories and video viewing behaviors. The report found that Social Networking accounted for one third of all time spent online in Malaysia in August 2011, ranking as the top online activity for the market. The report also found that online video viewing continues to grow in Malaysiawith the viewing audience climbing 8 percent in the past year, while average viewing minutes increased 19 percent, representing an additional hour of monthly viewing time. “Social networking has become the central activity in Malaysians’ digital lives, accounting for 1 in every 3 minutes spent online,” said Joe Nguyen, comScore vice president for Southeast Asia
What it means for recruiters and companies is that recruiting Malaysians requires a clear social networking strategy. So does companies who want to build up a clear employer brand equity.
MILAN– Global luxury goods sales have continued 2010’s double-digit growth trajectory and will see an increase of 10 percent, to €191 billion in 2011; this according to Bain & Company, the leading advisor to the global luxury goods industry, in the 10th Edition of its industry bellwether “Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Ewhich was unveiled at a conference today hosted by Fondazione Altagamma (the Italian luxury goods industry trade association).
The study points to a consumer whose return to luxury spending is not simply a rebound, but instead a sustained renewal of spending on luxury apparel, accessories, leather goods, shoes, jewelry, watches, perfume and cosmetics. As luxury revenues have surged out of the trough and continued their momentum to record-breaking sales levels, the study shows, luxury distribution has undergone a significant shift, with 14 percent growth for direct-owned stores, more than 50 percent higher than the growth rate of wholesale and department stores. Direct-owned retail now accounts for nearly 30 percent of luxury sales worldwide.
“Top brands are now master retailers as well, Esaid Claudia D’Arpizio, a Bain partner in Milan and lead author of the study. “Product still matters, but retailing strength has let luxury brands take control of their growth more than ever before. E/p>
The post-crisis world of luxury goods has also proven that luxury’s mature markets are still relevant, both in absolute terms and in impressive growth rates. Bain expects 10 percent growth in Europe and 12 percent growth in the Americas for 2011 at constant exchange rates, although the weakening Euro eats into these growth rates by three to four percent. Japan yields the biggest surprise in terms of growth. It remains luxury’s second market. Declines, which stabilized to result in a flat 2010, have now reversed to five percent growth at constant exchange rates for 2011. The over 230 brands reporting 2011 revenue for the study report a much lower impact to luxury goods sales from Japan’s March earthquake; the effects on luxury sales lasted only one quarter before this year’s growth cycle restarted. Developing market growth (China, 35 percent; Brazil, 20 percent; Middle East, 12 percent) is still notable and remains a priority for brands. When factoring in spending in Mainland China and spending by Chinese tourists abroad, luxury consumption by Chinese people is now just over 20 percent of the global market.
The 10th Edition of Bain’s Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study also finds that the luxury sector’s growth is robust, by looking at organic growth versus new openings. Like-for-like growth will exceed growth from new stores by two percent in 2011, indicating that luxury growth is not exclusively driven by store openings. Eighty percent of brands saw growth in 2011, with 20 percent of brands seeing more than 20 percent growth.
Finally, the study shows growth across all major luxury categories. Apparel will experience eight percent growth in 2011, driven by both menswear (nine percent) and womenswear (seven percent). Perfumes and cosmetics consumption will grow by three percent globally, with much of that growth found in emerging markets such as China and Brazil. As with 2010, however, accessories and hard luxury (jewelry and watches) are the strongest growth stories. Accessories (including shoes and leather goods) will grow by 13 percent in 2011, as consumers often rely on these products as an entry to luxury consumption. Hard luxury is delivering the strongest growth for 2011, however, with 18 percent estimated for 2011. Increasingly, consumers are shifting their hard luxury purchasing from unbranded to branded items, and purchasing these branded products in direct-owned stores.
“Despite the headwinds of global events and economic uncertainty, luxury is experiencing a sort of ‘anti-crisis,’ Econcluded Bain’s D’Arpizio. “We expect to see the sector continue to outperform other categories, if brands stay as nimble as they have been in their approach to recovery. E/p>
Last night, Congress passed free trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia, an important step toward opening dynamic and fast growing markets. After waiting for several years, these agreements will help level the playing field and allow U.S. companies to export more goods and services abroad, which will lead directly to more jobs at home.
These agreements will remove existing barriers to free trade in those countries, such as tariffs, regulatory barriers, and red tape. Currently, if a U.S. company wanted to sell a product in South Korea or Colombia, it had to pay an average tariff of around 12 percent; in Panama, the tariff was 7 percent. While American companies have been paying tariffs, many of our most tenacious competitors from the European Union and Canada have implemented trade agreements and are gaining market share at the expense of U.S companies.
Consider the projected impact of just the three free trade agreements passed yesterday. With South Korea and Colombia growing twice as fast as the U.S., and Panama growing three times as fast, free access to their markets is essential. Last year, even with trade barriers still in place, GE earned $2 billion in revenues from those three markets. Freer access will yield even faster sales growth that will directly and positively impact job growth here at home. The White House estimates that the South Korean free trade agreement will support more than 70,000 American jobs, boosting U.S. exports by up to $11 billion.
GE will continue to highlight the importance of free trade agreements like the ones passed today and advocate for passage of future, similar deals. Here in the U.S., we have the world’s best companies and employees, but 95 percent of consumers live outside the U.S. Reaching them—on the same terms as our toughest competitors—will benefit us all.
If you were to ask me, “From all the data you have studied so far, where will the next economic breakthrough come from?” my answer would be: From the combination of the forces within big cities, great universities, and powerful local leaders. Those three compose the most reliable, controllable solution. Their combined effect is the most predictable solution to America’s biggest current problem, which is winning the global war for good jobs.
Economic booms originate in the souls of individuals and great cities.
The cornerstone of these three is cities, especially America’s top cities. All cities count and can contribute. But so goes the leadership of the top 100 American cities, so goes the country’s economic future.
Of course cities, like organizations and workplaces, exhibit wide variation in economic outcomes. Austin has flourished, while Albany has declined. Sioux Falls is booming, while Sioux City is not. Think how different Detroit’s outcomes are from San Francisco’s. Detroit went from being one of the most bustling economic cities in the world to one of the most spectacularly failed. One could even argue that citizens in San Francisco saved the republic and national job creation by leading the technology boom. One city is a drain on America, and the other continues to save it.
Globally, the variation between cities is even more defining. Consider the difference between Havana and Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew founded modern-day Singapore and Fidel Castro founded modern-day Cuba at about the same time and under similar circumstances. Singapore is now one of the most progressive modern societies in the world with a super-charged economy and great jobs; Havana is an economic and social disaster. One city worked, one city failed. The difference between these two is primarily the result of one thing: local leadership.
Fixing America’s biggest problems and re-winning the world can only be accomplished one city at a time. Ultimately, all solutions are local.
Strong leadership teams are already in place within cities. A natural order is already present, in governments and local business and philanthropic entities. Every city has strong, caring leaders working on numerous committees and initiatives to fuel their local economic growth — let’s call it the city GDP — and to create good jobs. The feat these leaders have to pull off is doubling their entrepreneurial energy by aligning all their local forces.
They succeed by declaring all-out war.
I don’t use the term “war” lightly. This really has to be a war on job loss, on low workplace energy, on healthcare costs, on low graduation rates, on brain drain, and on community disengagement. Those things destroy cities, destroy job growth, and destroy city GDP. Every city requires its own master plan that is as serious as planning for war.
That plan must focus on the following:
- Recognize that the most important solutions are local. Weak local leaders will look to Washington for more legislation and stimulus packages and more money for R&D to solve their problems. But what they need for job creation — entrepreneurs, enterprise energy, and the leadership to put it all together — is right there at home because cities are the highest probability source of job creation.
In 2009, almost half of all venture capital money spent in America went to four cities: New York, Palo Alto, Seattle, and Sunnyvale. So the obvious question is: Why does the Bay Area create so much economic power and not Detroit? Both have the same federal government. They work under the same laws and same rules. But San Francisco and Silicon Valley have created a culture that responds to innovation and creates business models like no other place on Earth. Cities that do this become a beacon for the most talented people in the world.
- Have your whole city wage a war for jobs. Everybody in charge of anything needs to focus on job creation. If they divert their attention, vote them out. Be ruthless. If the bike path doesn’t have anything to do with job creation, there is no bike path. If rezoning improves the jobs outlook, rezone.
But not just any job will do — you want good jobs. The jobs war is won by knowledge jobs. Aim everything at those. The global economy is moving to the knowledge worker. You can build a slaughterhouse in your city, but that can’t be the leading job strategy. Good jobs are created by entrepreneurs working with innovators creating a winning business model. The jobs war is what should get city leaders up in the morning, what they should work on all day, and what should keep them from getting to sleep at night.
- Align efforts citywide. Every city needs a team to work on the alignment, focus, and strategies that put all businesses and local institutions of absolutely every kind on the same page. Meanwhile, the whole city has to be participating, highly coordinated, and working out of the same playbook to win.
- Don’t allow your local constituencies to look to Washington. Washington has something for you that is unsustainable or even worse, unhealthy. Free money eventually makes you more dependent. Free money, entitlements, more bureaucracy, less of your control — all these things make individual initiative, meritocracy, and free enterprise weaker and less competitive.
To reenergize, to strike lightning on your city’s GDP growth, its brain gain, its quality job creation, its vitality, and its future prosperity, don’t expect national answers. “Everything is local” is truer regarding job creation than anything else. You have to jumpstart your city yourself.
In defense of Washington, it wasn’t originally set up to be the nation’s economic engine. The U.S. government has seeded whole industries through land grant universities, defense contractors, and scientific and medical researchers to name just a few. But the government has never, will never, nor should it be expected to ignite badly needed sustainable economic booms. These economic booms originate in the souls of individuals and great cities.