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Mission Statement   Positioning your Industrial Participation and Corporate Social Responsibility Programs in foreign markets in front of Government and Community to add brand value, business growth, and sustainability.   
US Department of State and Foreign Commerce European countries may be ahead of the US in using diplomatic channels to further commercial interests, but the US is catching up.  This has been especially true under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I use the Department of State to stay informed and to gain access to foreign governments.
Early Adopters of CSR Defense companies always understood the value of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To increase sales and win new business in foreign markets, defense  companies enter into Industrial Participation, or Off Set agreements as they bid on large contracts. In reality these Offset Agreements are Corporate Social Responsibility by another name.  An Northrop Grumman, I positioned these activities to differentiate the company from its competitors and won large contracts as a result
H.E. Houda Nonoo, Kingdom of Bahrain Ambassador Nonnoo has been one of the busiest government representative in Washington this year. Bahrain is strategically important to the security of the Arabian Gulf region and it is also home to the US Fifth Fleet.  Bahrain is also known as the Financial Hub for GCC Countries 
HRH Princess Cristina of Spain I met with HRH Princess Cristina (La Infanta Cristina) youngest daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain. Princess Cristina She is a very involved in making global connections on cultural level and educational level. 
Global Commerce in 24hr. News Cycle I walk into offices of many business leaders, usually CNN or another 24 hr news channel is turned on. Cutting edge global leaders do not want to miss fast developing stories that can affect their business.   
Russian Senator Michael Margelov and Secretary Bill Cohen   Washington is the hub of international networking. In the picture is former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, and Senator Michael ( Mikhail ) Margelov from Russia. ... the latter a close friend of mine for nearly 20 years. Margelov was in town to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service  
Annual Arab Ambassadors Forum I had the pleasure to speak to the Arab Ambassadors Forum in 2010. The Forum is held annually by the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce on the margin of the US National Governors Association Conference. The event affords State Governors and Heads of Missions of Arab States an opportunity to interact on economic and industrial interests

In The News

Lagarde-Christine3Weak GDP growth forecasts, recently released by the IMF, suggest probabilities are significant that one or more Eurozone countries could slip back into recession in 2015. The IMF predicted that the combined Eurozone GDP growth will come in at a meager 0.8% in 2014 and 1.3% in 2015; compared with 2.2% and 3.1% for the US.  Stimulus measures

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Pub ProfileSo many conservative politicians, I won’t name names, have been on the Feds’ case (Federal Reserve Bank), accusing it of a libertine attitude and a penchant for accommodative monetary policies which

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Mounir Ghaly with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry of EgyptWith the appointment of 13 new Minsters last week, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el Sissi, completed his Cabinet and is now ready to take on the tough challenges ahead.

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Prince Salman bin SultanIn an increasing turmoil, the Middle East continues to be a lucrative target for arms sales, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE getting the lion’s share.  According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the United States provides just over 40% of total acquisition. But, former top supplier, Russia, has become once again serious contender with its recent $2 Billion deal with Egypt. For Saudi

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BizSpark is Microsoft's global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with Microsoft evanglists, key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility. BizSpark was re-launched in Egypt on September 30, to attract local developers for localization (arabic) of Windows 8 and Windows mobile application....

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This is an excellent example of how Industrial Participation and Corporate Social Responsibility work to strengthen sustainability in international markets.

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UAE Downtown
Saudi Arabia has traditionally taken the lion's share in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) within the GCC countries. But in 2013 the UAE surpassed Saudi, attracting over $10 Billion. This is the little country that could.

For the last 5 years, the trend has been going down for FDI in Saudi.  While Saudi is roughly 10 times that (in practically all measures) of the UAE,  the more favorable investment and lifestyle atmosphere in the UAE has been a big factor in helping investors make the decision where to invest.

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Duqum Oman

The Middle East's largest construction site is Duqm ,in Southern Oman. Duqm is being built as a city for 100,000 people,  a deep water port, a petrochemical complex, pipeline and rail terminal. The plans, running nearly $10 Billion, also include building a railway that will run all the way up to Kuwait. For the Sultanate of Oman, and perhaps the world, completing the planned investment in Duqm is of the greatest strategic importance. The Duqm complex will provide a land route for crude oil and distillates now being carried by tankers in the Arabian Gulf and through the Hormuz Strait.  In effect, Duqm, when completed in 2017, will totally neutralize Iran's threat of closing the Strait of Hormuz

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Drone

Total world spending on military in 2011 amounted to $1.7 trillion. This is the first break in run ups in almost 13 years. Adjusting for price increases and dollara value, 2011 spending is only 0.3% higher than that of 2010(1). Within the aggregate number, spending and budgets have varied by regions. Leading the decrease in absolute dollar terms is the US with a 1.2% cut. Africa showed the highest increase (8.6%), followed by the Middle East (4.6%). Accounting for almost all the increase in Africa is Algeria, which increased its spending by a whopping 44% from 2010. Algeria's spending was helped by its hydrocarbon revenue and spurred by troubles in Libya and the Sahara. Europe, in total, had a decrease of 3.3% with most of the reductions coming from financially troubled countries e.g. Spain, Italy, and Greece. The reductions in European spending is likely to continue over the next few years because of EU commitments to austerity measures.

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Recep Erdogan Within a decade, Turkey is likely to once again become the pivotal power of the Near East region. A study by the European Union Institute for
Security Studies (EUISS) suggests that Turkey can accomplish this by 2030.

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Unrest spreads in several Muslim countries over an amateur you tube video (not shown here) about prophet Muhammed.

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Getting A Dashboard for Strategy Execution

The execution phase of business strategy – any strategy really – is where most management fail to deliver.  I know many companies –including Fortune 500s- where strategy building is an exercise in layering carefully crafted buzz words on a document which soon after would be saved to some obscure shared computer drive and rarely visited.  Ask yourself, how many times in the course of the year have you opened your company's long-range and one-year strategy documents to status if your department or company is on course?  This is not the same as measuring sales, costs, inventory etc.  I am talking about measuring progress on the execution of the strategy you set.  And, there is wherein the problem lies.

Soon after going through the annual joint exercise of setting strategy – usually done at a great cost, management turns its attention to traditional accounting tools to measure achievements and deficits.  This puts measurement of the results into the hands of the CFO. I have nothing against financial types, I myself find that numbers tell a story.  But, management level accounting bench marks are gross numbers that will not get you visibility or get you to root cause of trouble except after several drill down levels.  Finally, these same financial measures only offer delayed blunt tools for corrective action. 

To get to tools and measurements of strategy execution you must combine project management practices into what you are doing.  The Project Management discipline, pioneered by Aerospace industry, is all about managing resources and activities to meet a time based objective.  If you will agree with me to simply define strategy as series of coordinated activities to meet time based objectives, then project management tools should be utilized in strategy execution and measurements.  So, into your strategy execution phase think about mapping-in and utilizing practices of Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Critical Path management, and progress measurements by adding Earned Value to traditional GAAP  measurements.  All these are tools I found, after learning project management domaine within the enviornment of an Aerospace blue blood.

Tolerance for failed strategy is very narrow.  But in many cases appropriate corrective actions could be taken to trim course for success.  Utilizing project management practices gives management a dashboard to monitor execution. With better visibility into the execution of all the discrete activities that bind strategy, you can actually follow the execution of the strategy you set and also have the tools for better informed decision making.  

Forming Alliances and Building Trust

Models for growing your business internationally change overtime. If your company wants international expansion and brand sustainability, current tools include: Offset Investments, Industrial Participation, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs - it is all about being seen as a partner in building a better future for the people who live where you conduct your business; it is being a Good Corporate Citizen and aligning with community concerns. If you think that you can grow your international sales by simply exporting your product to foreign markets - unless you have a compelling technical or brand name advantage - then very soon you will be competing on price alone. Commodity pricing is a place no smart business wants to be.

Offset programs have been part of military sales agreements for decades, because typically such transactions are very large and the parties try to strike a balance on the gains. These programs can vary,  from the Seller providing technical training, to sourcing local contents and work scope, to investing in educational and healthcare services. But these Offset programs are mostly mandated as part of the contract with the foreign buyer - usually a government entity. Notwithstanding the mandatory nature, these Offset programs, or Industrial Participation as they are sometimes called, help create alliances and build trust that lays down basis for future business. 

Traditional commercial enterprises (non-military) have recently discovered that providing CSR activities, on a voluntary basis i.e. without a contractual mandate, has a much more magnified impact in helping create alliances and build trust. This trust and goodwill is created not only with the business community but with various government entities which creates top political cover for your business in the country, and bestows a valued partner status on the enterprise. This "partnership" status, once you reach it, is the true cornerstone of business sustainability, and thus is very relevant to a company's financial performance. Under this status your enterprise can reap many reward that will help you grow your business. You can expect to be invited to the inner circle of the country where decisions are being made, decision makers will seek you out for additional procurement, and in bid/tender form of procurement you will most likely receive additional points in evaluation for being a good local corporate citizen.  The simplicity of the idea of a local pizza place sponsoring the high school varsity team and reaping commercial benefits gets applied on a magnified scale. Here is what John Chambers, CEO of CISCO says about Corporate Social Responsibility " We believe that by integrating CSR in our business, we not only benefit the communities in which we work and the planet in which we live, but we also benefit our business".  To create sustainability and drive revenue, CISCO built "Network Academies" in 165 countries that prepare students for careers in ICT fields, and over the years has graduated over 4 million individuals since inception. That is good Corporate Citizenship; but guess what name routers and switches these graduates will recommend to their employers?

 Like CISCO, Microsoft is also quite advanced in CSR.  In 2011 Microsoft, through its BizSpark CSR program supplied 75000 small businesses with free software. Steve Balmer, the ever astute leader of Microsoft, knows that this is good for business.

If you are a small business or a big business, you must think of using CSR as a tool to grow your international business. You do not have to lay out a big CSR investment to get a return. If you are a small business, a small CSR investment can put you ahead of a larger company competing for the same business. The key is in how to get the word and buzz out to the local government and to the local community. Go Global One  can help you think about including CSR into your foreign markets strategy.

CSR Benefits

Your CSR program has to be meaningful to the community and to the Government.  Also, you must find appropriate channels to position your program, and create the "Buzz" in front of the citizen community and the foreign government. If done correctly, you will be viewed as a valued local partner and, as such, here are some of the benefits you should expect: 

  • Brand name recognition and superiority - even if you are a small company
  • Entry into inner circles of business and governments that will help you plan your local expansion
  • Faster permitting, licensing, and other formalities
  • In bid and tender situations you may be awarded additional points at evaluation 
  • In government procurements, you will most likely be favored over competitors that have not given back to the community
  • Leap frog a stronger competitor and gain better pricing power

 

 All these benefits and others can accrue, provided your program is positioned correctly to be seen as valuable to the community and country in its future development. Go Global One can provide you with guidance and can help you image your program for maximum visibility