Time to Say Goodbye...

December has come again, and with it the time to reflect on the past year, take stock of what we have learnt and decide on the focus for the year to come.

In 2012, we caught a glimpse of the emergence of a multipolar world, we pondered on possible economic models of the future, while noticing a strong surge of national pride in the UK thanks to the queen’s diamond jubilee and the olympic games.

What about 2013? The world has been sliding further from past models and behaviours. Everywhere, the need, the urge for change is getting stronger.

In the west, the US is facing a couple of firsts – an embarrassing budget debacle and being on the verge of transforming the global balance of power in the energy sector with impending independence.

The EU is in an increasing shambles, and the following question is at the forefront: what does leadership means for Europe?

And what is happening with France? A president at an all-time low popularity, and the emergence of new movements – such as “les pigeons”, protesting entrepreneurs – are strong signs of a growing and somewhat refreshing current of contestation. Are they the seeds of a new revolution?

The Middle East is stuck in a state of flux – the continuing civil war in Syria, Libyan power struggles and questions about Egypt. The entire region is struggling to make sense of what is to come, and posing another question: who will benefit from this state of disarray?

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London Calling: A city of opportunity

The Europe correspondent for Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service called me the other day. He was working on a television report about the increasing number of French people buying property in London. More specifically, he wanted to understand the intricacies of taxation and red tape difficulties Parisian property owners face and why the UK is increasingly an attractive alternative.

The call made me think of one particular field I have been consciously avoiding over the past two years – real estate, and more specifically the London real estate market. It is about time to address it, so I asked Sandra Roth- Gowen, a former managing director of a prominent continental real estate company and now independent real estate adviser. She speaks about the industry with contagious passion.

Most people would agree that investing in bricks and mortar is less risky than investing in other asset classes. The underlying asset usually represents and maintains at least a certain value,” she says.

But, buying real estate can also be seen as a highly emotional act. To some extent it does bring you closer to alternative Investment.

The London market is the crème de la crème when it comes to properties in size, style and, above all, valuation, and this is not going to stop any time soon.

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Tags: London / Real Estate

Recruit millennial oomph

October is a time to think and convince. It is a time to have an impact. It is a time to be bold and audacious. It is a time to inject some oomph into your business.

How is this related to alternative investments? I am taking the word alternative to a different dimension – organisational and cultural. I am giving the word investment a new angle, a leadership perspective. I am asking: how can you invest in your own company?

Investing in women (see my previous article) seemed to be much more foreign to you than investing in vintage cars – an article that made Global Corporate Venturing’s most read list. So what about investing in your future and the future of your company?

Jack Welch, GE’s chief executive from 1981 to 2001, would say: “Keep you organisation engaged, keep it moving, never let your people rest.” Disrupt them, push them out of their comfort zone, make them adjust. An easy way to do it is with graduates. Commit to hiring a certain number of graduates every year and you will inject energy, disruption and innovation into your organisation, because young graduates are plugged into the reality of today’s world and represent future markets. They are the future consumers and know what they want and how they think.

Because they are new to the workforce and do not have a strong frame of reference, they can force your organisation to snap out of complacency. Through questioning, they will help you reassess why you are doing things the way you do and look for improvement.

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feOctober is a time to think and convince. It is a time to have an impact. It is a time to be bold and audacious. It is a time to inject some oomph into your business.

How is this related to alternative investments? I am taking the word alternative to a different dimension – organisational and cultural. I am giving the word investment a new angle, a leadership perspective. I am asking: how can you invest in your own company?

Investing in women (see my previous article) seemed to be much more foreign to you than investing in vintage cars – an article that made Global Corporate Venturing’s most read list. So what about investing in your future and the future of your company?

Jack Welch, GE’s chief executive from 1981 to 2001, would say: “Keep you organisation engaged, keep it moving, never let your people rest.” Disrupt them, push them out of their comfort zone, make them adjust. An easy way to do it is with graduates. Commit to hiring a certain number of graduates every year and you will inject energy, disruption and innovation into your organisation, because young graduates are plugged into the reality of today’s world and represent future markets. They are the future consumers and know what they want and how they think.

Because they are new to the workforce and do not have a strong frame of reference, they can force your organisation to snap out of complacency. Through questioning, they will help you reassess why you are doing things the way you do and look for improvement.

If you are a French-speaking leader you can refer to French philosopher and Stanford professor Michel Serres’ book Petite Poucette that depicts a new cultural and organisational paradigm in which the “millennials” – those coming of age in the new millennium – are reinventing the way the world thinks, learns, creates value and interacts. Any business has an imperative to jump on to this bandwagon.

Adjust or die – but this can only ring true if you are truly committing to spening quality time with them. I am not only talking about the fancy high-flyer grad programme, where you move them from one part of the organisation to the other. I am talking about full-blast personal involvement in learning from them.

How do you do that? Do your homework. Hiring a young graduate is like creating a business plan – data gathering is essential. So is competitive analysis.

Invest time and put together a list of relevant universities and courses that would make the most sense for your company.

Go global, recruiting young graduates from emerging economies. Cognitive diversity, cultural diversity and business diversity are the names of the game. If you do a good job, you will have them talking about your company on their social network, and no doubt in a couple of years you will be cherrypicking the top of the crop while your strategic plan will be addressed with fresh and current ideas. - See more at: http://www.globalcorporateventuring.com/article.php/7101/recruit-millennial-oomph#sthash.bF0ys2JV.dpuf


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The female paradigm

As the Chinese would say, there is a Ying to every Yang, balance is what is needed for harmony in this world.

After a testosterone-appealing article on vintage cars last month, I would like to draw on Eastern philosophy to embrace my readers’ feminine side. I also want to ponder on another meaning to “alternative”, as in “existing or functioning outside the established cultural, social, or eco- nomic systems”. I am talking about investing in women.

Ladies: Here is some ammunition to spice some (unpleasant) conversations with male counterparts. Hav- ing had a corporate career in male-dominated industries (financial services and oil and gas) and function (finance), I know what it feels like.

Gentlemen: Silence your inner sarcastic voice and look at these telling statistics. Women control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending globally, according to the Harvard Business Review in 2009. This number is expected to reach $30 trillion by 2030.

According to business writer Tom Peters, women account for about 83% of all consumer purchase across any category of industries – yes, any category, cars, technology and real estate included.

Savvy businessmen, which I am sure you all are, it is time to further consider women as a powerful yet specific market.
A female presence at board level contributes to healthier and higher return on equity and total return for shareholders by up to 35% and 34% respectively, according to Catalyst, an organisation that promotes women in business.
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Alternative investments: cars

  

By the time you read these lines, summer will have probably arrived in London. Or you would be enjoying a well deserved break in the likes of Ibiza, Positano, Saint Tropez, or the beaches of Thailand and Bali for our Asian-based friends. Your eyes will be browsing through lush natural beauty and your mind will be ready to be introduced to another type of beauty – vintage cars.

I spoke to industry experts ranging from Dietrich Hatlapa, keen collector and founder of Historical Automobile Group International, as well as Filippo Pignatti Morano, managing director of the Classic Car Fund, but here I can present only the quintessence of what you need to know.

Vintage cars are the up-and-coming asset class. Investors like to spend on a physical asset with an intrinsic value, and this is the trend that has brought wine and art to the fore of the investment scene. It is also particularly attractive from a tax perspective – exemption from capital gains tax.  [Read More]

  


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