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Monday, August 31, 2015

PERSONAL SPECIAL ........................5 Really Good Reasons To Take A Personality Test

5 Really Good Reasons To Take A Personality Test

Type A. Highly sensitive. Extrovert. Dog person.
There are many personality measures, and each one offers its own unique insight into what makes you tick. But aside from being a pleasant 20-minute distraction in the middle of the workday, there are real benefits to taking assessments like the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator or even BuzzFeed's "Which Disney Princess Are You" quiz

Below are some truly legitimate reasons for taking a personality test.

1. It can help inform your career.
Should you be an engineer or a doctor? A social worker or a journalist? Passion is part of the equation, but your personality may also determine what occupation is a good fit.
Take highly sensitive people, for instance. According to Elaine Aron, a longtime researcher of the personality type, HSPs may want to consider careers like teaching because of their service-based nature. HSPs also enjoy quiet workplaces because they don't like overstimulation, Aron previously told HuffPost.
Additionally, personality tests may also be part of the job hunt. Some companies use the assessments in the application process to help vet candidates, the Wall Street Journal reported. Companies may also offer personality tests during their training process after an employee has been hired as well.

2. It can help you decide what to study in school.
Character assessments can also help college students as they navigate their area of study. The more you know what your personality aligns with, the better idea you'll have of what to major in when you go to school. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that students who were more personally interested in what they were studying had an increased likelihood of performing better.

3. It will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
The more insight you have into how you operate, the easier it is to determine what your best and worst traits are -- something that can come in handy both personally and professionally. 
For example, according assessments based on the Meyer's-Briggs test, ESFJs, or Extroverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging individuals, are "caregivers" and work hard to make other people happy. This is a great quality to have, but it may lend itself to being too much of a people pleaser. Strength? They care about others. Weakness? They tend to ignore their own needs.

4. It plays a role in social interactions.
These quizzes and tests help you connect with others who are just like you, Mitch Prinstein, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explained to NBC News in 2014. "Ultimately, they give you some feedback on whether your behavior is similar to others, what your niche is, and how similar you are to a sub-group of people," Prinstein said. "That is inherently very rewarding to people."

5. It feels good to know yourself.
Chances are you've received personality test results that make you exclaim "this is so me" (or, if not, you just take the test again). But why does it really matter what the answers say? Humans like the validation that comes with establishing who they really are as individuals. The more you know yourself, the more you're able to assert what you really need in life, relationships or otherwise. How else are you going to know what kind of vacation to take or what city you actually belong in?
So storm fearlessly into the world, armed with the knowledge that you're Type B, an introvert, an old soul or whatever it is that you identify with. Let that personality shine.
Lindsay Holmes Healthy Living Editor, The Huffington Post

MANAGEMENT/ LEADERSHIP SPECIAL ........................Thinking Like a Leader: Three Big Shifts

 Thinking Like a Leader: Three Big Shifts 

Leadership development often focuses on doing — the mastering and use of certain desirable skills and behaviors that concretely show someone to be leading. Competency-based models can provide lists of such skills, as well as attributes of their practice. But where leadership effectiveness really starts is with thinking — adopting a mental model that makes it possible to acquire those skills and demonstrate those behaviors in the first place. Mastering leadership thinking can be challenging, but it is absolutely essential. I may adopt the exact stance and handgrip of Jordan Spieth, but I’m unlikely to win the Masters — while there may be a (wide) gap in our athletic abilities, there is an even larger one in our mental capacity for the game of golf.
Leadership thinking can be learned but is difficult to teach. It is a matter of asking questions and presenting challenges that help someone discover the mental model that enables their “best leader” to emerge. It requires not just competency, but demonstrated proficiency. And proficiency only comes with practice, feedback, and analysis. Journaling and other reflective exercises are good for processing and absorbing both successes and failures. As Peter Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
Leadership thinking requires not just competency, but demonstrated proficiency.
In my experience, there are three big mental shifts that aspiring leaders must make in order to develop thinking capacity and capability:

Shift 1: From linearity to complexity. 
Management systems and processes tend to be linear. They assume that similar inputs will result in similar outputs. In many situations, this holds true. Leadership, however, requires a more nuanced view of the world because it involves people: what motivates them, what their interests are, and how engaged they become. Mechanical systems may be linear but as soon as the human element becomes involved, the system becomes both complex and adaptive. It is dynamic — similar inputs may bring about wildly divergent outputs.
As a leader, you come to understand that relationships between the system components are paramount, rather than the components themselves. Discerning these dynamics is essential to achieving your desired outcome, which means you think about connectivity, and the extent and robustness of those connections. You accept that these relationships contain some performance factors you control and some you don’t — you are part of the system, but likely not its gravitational center — and that effective influence can amplify your impact on those beyond your direct purview.
When things go well or when you hit a bump along your leadership road, ask yourself which direct and indirect relationships were at play. Where did your attention to positive connectivity pay dividends and where might you have done better?

Shift 2: From “focus” as a noun to “focus” as a verb. 
There is always temptation to set static goals — annual growth rate, net profit, or customer acquisition costs, for example — but once you accept that you are operating in a dynamic and adaptive environment, you begin to realize such goals have limitations. As a leader, you must continually recalibrate to ensure that you have established the right goals and that they not only include financial measures but also purpose (understanding the problem your customer has hired you to help solve) and values (the bedrock principles that guide your activities).
Clarity is a constant challenge, particularly in large organizations with multiple business units and geographic theaters of operations: Associates and executives come and go; competitors thrust and parry; customers evolve; technology disrupts. You must balance short- and long-term interests as well as the needs of diverse stakeholders. Each of these can create distortions and distractions. When you gain clarity on purpose, values, and performance, you foster agility throughout the organization. You enable order without having to control every action and decision. That’s leadership.
As you contemplate the outcomes you achieve — for better or worse — ask yourself about clarity. Ask others and accept their honest feedback. Often, poor signal-to-noise ratio in internal feedback loops results in less clarity than you imagine. 

Shift 3: From they to you.
For too long, individuals have looked to their organizations to tell them how to develop as leaders, and this competency model has dictated the training agenda. According to Jay Conger of the Marshall School of Business and Douglas Ready of MIT’s Sloan School, competency models offer the advantages of “clarity, consistency, and connectivity [with other HR processes].” But Conger and Ready also point out that competency models have significant limitations because they tend to be complicated, often with 30 to 50 components; conceptual in that they usually are based on a leadership ideal; and are built on current realities rather than future needs.
Let me add to their analysis that the traditional model was designed to assess and mold people based on the needs of the enterprise — what the company wants. The models do not fully consider the individuality of each person being pushed through the Play-Doh mold and how that person might make a distinct leadership mark. They also tend not to include some of what we at the NPLI have found to be important leader characteristics, such as embracing complexity, exhibiting curiosity, and actively recruiting strong people to your team. These are tough to assess with standard pre- and post-training tools.

Ask yourself: What are you doing to improve your leadership capacity and capability? What are you doing to push your boundaries and test your limitations? How are you getting ready for where you ultimately want to be beyond the next rung of the ladder?
You are likely to work in many contexts and will not spend your entire career in a single firm (or find all of your leadership opportunities in your work life). In other words, you need to take responsibility for understanding your strengths and weaknesses and discerning where and how you can make your most meaningful leadership contributions. Most important, you must take ownership of your own leadership development. With the mindset of a true leader, you can take the best of what your company offers — and then seek out more.

-         Eric J. McNulty is the director of research at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and writes frequently about leadership and resilience.

INFRASTRUCTURE SPECIAL................... Making infrastructure exciting: An interview with Peter Dawson

INFRASTRUCTURE SPECIAL Making infrastructure exciting: An interview with Peter Dawson

The public appreciates the creation of great infrastructure—but the process is difficult.

Peter Dawson has worked for the privately owned American engineering/construction giant Bechtel Corporation since 1978. He oversees a global portfolio of major projects, ranging from motorways in Kosovo to subway lines in Riyadh to gas plants in Africa to nuclear cleanup and construction in the United States. In this interview with McKinsey’s Adrian Booth, he talks about the challenges of building infrastructure in both developed and developing countries.
McKinsey: You once said, “Vibrant economies depend on world-class infrastructure.” What did you mean by that?
Peter Dawson: Infrastructure is an enabler for economies. There is the benefit of money coming into the economy through spending, plus the benefits of the infrastructure itself once it is finished. Building roads in Eastern Europe, for example, generates opportunities for agricultural exports. We benefit today from people being bold in the past, and the next generations will benefit from people being bold today.
McKinsey: What are the big roadblocks when operating in developing countries?
Peter Dawson: Financing is a problem, whether it’s a port, rail connections, roads, or distributed energy. Almost by definition, infrastructure is about building a long-term asset, and these projects can take a long time to finish. How do you manage political decision making when the benefits are not immediate? Where is the money to be found in the budget? How do you borrow against the future with confidence?
McKinsey: What do you think of developments in infrastructure funds and public–private partnerships?
Peter Dawson: I think we’re making progress. It’s easier for private money to evaluate the existing infrastructure—for example, taking over an existing airport terminal and then increasing efficiency. Starting from scratch (what is known as greenfield infrastructure) is a different risk. The confidence that the political framework will last 20 or 30 years for the life of the assets has to be there. Private investors, infrastructure funds, and the like have to be confident that they can get something to closure. You’ve got to be confident that the political risk of the asset you’re funding—whether it’s an airport or a hydro plant—is covered, even after development. You also need repeatability.
McKinsey: How can repeatability be encouraged?
Peter Dawson: In developed economies, we’ve seen private money being successful where there’s been standardization. That gives a degree of confidence that you will get across the finish line. In some developing countries, there are so many interested parties and so many people who need to be consulted that such repeatability is difficult. That makes me sound like I don’t want to have stakeholder involvement. That’s not true. But it’s a matter of how.
McKinsey: How do you think about skill and capability building?
Peter Dawson: From a company perspective, the short-term way of thinking is to bring in skilled workers from outside and then move them to another country, another place, when the project is finished. On the other hand, if I develop a local workforce and a local supply chain, I can use them on the next project. But there’s another side to this coin. If the project is in an area where there is likely to be no further work, then what happens? Do you then get a frustrated community saying, “Well, I have all these skills. Now what do I do with them?”
In Africa, an oil company we were working with was interested in developing a local supply chain that could provide fabricated steel or pipe bending or the like, even if it cost more. There would be a skill left, and even if the initial cost was higher, the recycling, the economic advantage, was good. Thousands of workers received skills training, from safety all the way through to welding and planning skills.
A Middle Eastern country offers another example. The country knows that it’s important to have skilled jobs for its growing population, rather than just depending on petrodollars. For example, the country has to buy thousands of air conditioners every year. So the government decided to favor in procurement a company that would build a manufacturing unit in the country and train or develop a skilled workforce and management. I think it’s a more sophisticated way of looking at pooling the power of national spending.
McKinsey: Are there models of success that governments can look at and say, “We can replicate that”? Or is it more that each country has specific issues and needs to find its own path?
Peter Dawson: A bit of both. Take the oil and gas companies. The global majors recognize that they’re a common owner with common customers, even if they’re teaming with national oil companies. There are global standards if you’re building a refinery in the Persian Gulf, in Europe, or in Singapore. The standards and efficiencies, the whole operating and maintenance side, will all be optimized.
Other forms of infrastructure, by their nature, don’t work that way. For roads, European standards may say you can’t have a certain degree of curvature if you want to drive above 80 kilometers per hour, but other countries or regions may have different standards. There’s a problem with the fact that you don’t have common owners.
McKinsey: What could be done to improve this?
Peter Dawson: The most difficult infrastructure projects we do are when we don’t have an experienced owner on the other side of the table. You want people who are knowledgeable and experienced. A European government did something interesting along these lines. A few years ago, it realized that most major infra-structure-related projects were late and over budget. In a sense, the government was the owner of these projects but was not knowledgeable enough to be able to manage them. So the government set up a joint education program with a first-rate business school to figure out how to become smart owners.
If governments or public institutions or global infrastructure firms could develop common purchasing standards, that would also make things more efficient.
McKinsey: You’ve said before that government leaders, democratic or not, sometimes don’t see infrastructure as something that is to their immediate advantage. Is there a way to frame infrastructure so it gets people excited?
Peter Dawson: How you connect major infrastructure development to something that resonates with the public or the taxpayer is difficult. Particularly in developed economies where things are not yet broken, there may not be a sense of urgency. People are apt to say, “What about me? I don’t fly out of London, so why should I care if Heathrow or Gatwick gets another runway?”
In some economies, the population is so connected with the success of the country and the economy as a whole that these things can happen because everyone knows it’s a good thing. The French, for example, have done extraordinarily well in two areas. One is building nuclear-power-generation capacity. That took decades, but it is obviously very significant and good for them. The other is building a very strong high-speed-rail culture. So the country expects new rail; it takes for granted that that’s what will happen.
McKinsey: It often seems that big infrastructure projects are controversial at the beginning but taken for granted once they’re done.
Peter Dawson: Yes—like the Channel Tunnel, between England and France. There were big arguments about that in the 1990s; now people couldn’t imagine not having it.
About the author
Adrian Booth is a principal in McKinsey’s San Francisco office.



Even in my relatively short foray into office life, I notice that few people bring a pen and notebook to meetings. I’ve been told that over the years, the spiral notebooks and pens once prevalent during weekly meetings have been replaced with laptops and slim, touch-screen tablets.
I suppose it makes sense. In a demanding new age of technology, we are expected to send links, access online materials, and conduct virtual chats while a meeting is taking place. We want instant gratification, and sending things after the meeting when you’re back at your desk feels like too long to wait. It seems that digital note-taking is just more convenient.
But is longhand dead? Should you be embarrassed bringing a pen and paper to your meetings? To answer these questions, I did a little digging and found that the answer is no, according to a study conducted by Princeton’s Pam A. Mueller and UCLA’s Daniel M. Oppenheimer. Their research shows that when you only use a laptop to take notes, you don’t absorb new materials as well, largely because typing notes encourages verbatim, mindless transcription.
Mueller and Oppenheimer conducted three different studies, each addressing the question:Is laptop note taking detrimental to overall conceptual understanding and retention of new information?
For the first study, the researchers presented a series of TED talk films to a room of Princeton University students. The participants “were instructed to use their usual classroom note-taking strategy,” whether digitally or longhand, during the lecture. Later on, the participants “responded to both factual-recall questions and conceptual-application questions” about the film.
The students’ scores differed immensely between longhand and laptop note takers. While participants using laptops were found to take lengthier “transcription-like” notes during the film, results showed that longhand note takers still scored significantly higher on conceptually-based questions. Mueller and Oppenheimer predicted that the decrease in retention appeared to be due to “verbatim transcription.”
But, they predicted that the detriments of laptop note taking went beyond the fact that those with computers were trying to get every word down. In their second study, Mueller and Oppenheimer instructed a new group of laptop note takers to write without transcribing the lecture verbatim. They told the subjects: “Take notes in your own words and don’t just write down word-for-word what the speaker is saying.”
These participants also watched a lecture film, took their respective notes, and then took a test.
They found that their request for non-verbatim note taking was “completely ineffective,” and the laptop users continued to take notes in a “transcription like” manner rather than in their own words. “The overall relationship between verbatim content and negative performance [still] held,” said the researchers.
In a third study, Mueller and Oppenheimer confronted a final variable — they found that laptop note takers produced a significantly greater word count than longhand note takers. They wondered, “Is it possible that this increased external-storage capacity could boost performance on tests taken after an opportunity to study one’s notes?” So while the immediate recall on the lecture is worse for laptop note takers, do their copious notes help later on?
For this study, participants “were given either a laptop or pen and paper to take notes on a lecture,” and “were told that they would be returning the following week to be tested on the material.” A week later, they were given 10 minutes to study their notes before being tested.
And again, though the laptop note takers recorded a larger amount of notes, the longhand note takers performed better on conceptual, and this time factual, questions.
This final test clarified that the simple act of verbatim note taking encouraged by laptops could ultimately result in impaired learning. “Although more notes are beneficial, at least to a point, if the notes are taken indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content, as is more likely the case on a laptop than when notes are taken longhand, the benefit disappears,” said Mueller and Oppenheimer.
Though your days of cramming for tests may be over, you still need to recall pitches, dates, and statistics from meetings. That’s why we take notes in meetings.  And while there are plenty of ways to work smarter with digital tools, you may remember more if you leave the laptop or tablet at your desk and try bringing a notebook and pen instead.
In addition to your mode of note taking, be extra aware of what you’re writing. Are you focusing more on recording what a speaker is projecting on a slide show, rather than actually listening to what is being said? Write your notes in your own words. It’ll encourage you to process and summarize what is being said rather than just regurgitating it.
Of course, not every meeting is the same, so you need to be able to distinguish what type of meeting you’re attending. Bring your laptop or tablet if you know you’ll need to just record a few key dates or a to-do list — and if you need access to materials or the internet. But keep in mind that meetings such as presentations, progress reports, and performance reviews contain information you need to stick. If you ditch your digital ways, and bring the pen and spiral notebook; your memory may thank you

Maggy McGloin

RETAIL SPECIAL .......................Modern grocery and the emerging-market consumer: A complicated courtship

Modern grocery and the emerging-market consumer: A complicated courtship

In some emerging markets, the response to modern grocery formats has been tepid. What’s a modern grocer to do?

Just 20 years ago, modern grocery retail appeared poised to conquer every consumer market in the world. Ambitious European grocers, having blanketed their home countries with supermarkets and hypermarkets, began setting their sights on growth both within and beyond the continent. They held particularly high hopes for China, India, and other emerging markets, where fast-rising consumer spending seemed to presage an unprecedented demand for gleaming new stores with large assortments, wide aisles, and bright lighting.
In the 1990s, the term “modern grocery retail” was essentially a proxy for a small group of multinational grocers including Ahold, Aldi, Auchan, Carrefour, Costco, Lidl, Metro, Tesco, and Walmart. It was widely presumed that these retailers’ entry into any market would lead to the demise of the traditional trade—the family-owned grocery chains, small independent stores, and informal merchants that at the time accounted for the vast majority of grocery sales in emerging markets. The prevailing expectation was that although there would be local differences due to cultural specificities, in every country the retail landscape would eventually consist of a combination of modern formats: full-line supermarkets and hypermarkets, convenience stores, and discounters.
These assumptions have been proved wrong. Global grocery giants are struggling to grow profitably in many emerging markets. Traditional trade has proved remarkably resilient. And the market and channel structures taking shape in individual emerging economies are distinct from one another, following no obvious pattern.
Why did this happen? What, if anything, did multinational grocers do wrong? And what does it mean for the future of modern retail in emerging markets?
The hypermarket’s shortcomings
To understand the disparity between early expectations and the current reality, it’s useful to examine the roots of the two quintessential modern-trade formats: the supermarket and the hypermarket. The hypermarket in particular—whether in its European form (in which food anchors a massive selection of nonfood items) or its North American one (the “supercenter,” which represents the successful injection of food and grocery into a general-merchandise discount store)—was widely regarded as unbeatable. By offering tens of thousands of products in an immense building just outside or on the edge of a town or city, a hypermarket could operate at a level of productivity that other grocery formats struggled to match. Hypermarket operators passed on these efficiency gains to consumers in the form of lower prices, which served to reinforce hypermarkets’ advantage.
In their first forays into other developed markets abroad, major retailers relied heavily on the hypermarket format. When French retailers Auchan, Carrefour, and Promodès opened hypermarkets in Spain during the first years of Spanish economic reform, they quickly captured a large fraction of that country’s overall grocery sales and dictated the market structure that remains in place to this day.
Expansion across Europe was an exciting growth prospect, but even more enticing to retail leaders and investors was the growth potential of emerging markets. Over the years, that potential has become even clearer: by 2025, we expect emerging markets to account for $30 trillion in consumer spending, or nearly half of global consumption.1
When multinational grocers entered emerging markets, they again relied on the grocery formats that were working so well in the developed world. But, in retrospect, it’s clear that the countries in which the hypermarket prospered had several characteristics in common: good road networks and high or fast-rising car-ownership rates, a large middle class that enjoyed decent wages and stable employment, and a high proportion of rural and suburban households with enough room at home to store groceries bought in bulk. Also, those markets had grown to maturity at a time when many women didn’t return to work after having children and therefore had time during the day to drive to and from the store. The hypermarket format draws heavily on consumers’ time, ability to travel, and storage capacity.
In emerging markets, retailers encountered an entirely different context. Consumers were less affluent and lived in urban areas; many didn’t own a car, couldn’t afford to travel to and from a relatively far shopping destination, had no room at home to store purchases, or all of the above.
A new respect for localism
Further complicating matters, emerging markets weren’t just different from developed markets; emerging markets also differed from one another in nontrivial ways. That was true in the 1990s and it remains true today. Based on our research—which involved in-depth study of the retail sector in ten developing countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, as well as interviews with more than 20 local retail and consumer experts and analysis of channel-growth data in these markets—we’ve developed a perspective on the factors that have hampered the growth of modern trade in emerging markets.
On both the demand side (what customers want from retailers) and the supply side (the means by which retailers can deliver what customers want), different factors shape the retail ecosystem in each country. Together, these factors produce wide variability in the level of modern-trade development in countries around the world.
On the demand side, for instance, food-shopping habits have turned out to be largely localized and deeply entrenched. Emerging-market consumers tend to prepare their own meals and cook more than their peers in developed markets do, and they are accustomed to shopping at open-air market stands or small neighborhood grocery stores that offer a familiar selection of fresh food and household staples. They don’t necessarily perceive customer service at modern retailers as superior to that of the traditional trade. Customers of India’s kirana stores—small, family-owned retail shops in or near residential areas—already benefit from personal service from the store owner, free home delivery, and credit and cash rebates if they remain loyal.
On the supply side, a big factor is the informality of traditional trade: many small retail businesses rely on unpaid labor from family and friends, pay no rent because they own their storefronts, and don’t pay corporate taxes. Modern retailers cite this informality as a major challenge when competing with local retailers. A European hypermarket chain found that its considerable operating-cost advantage from better sourcing and supply-chain processes was canceled out by the fact that it was paying taxes while local competitors were not.
Another major factor affecting modern trade is public policy. India’s restrictions on foreign direct investment have limited the growth of modern retail there; in China, by contrast, city governments are assessed on the level of economic activity and foreign investment they attract, which makes them biased toward supporting modern trade. As a result, modern-trade penetration in China’s largest cities has grown significantly over the past 15 years.
A further supply-side factor in emerging markets is the fragmented supplier base, which places a natural limit on the benefits of scale. A retailer can’t source products as efficiently as it would in a mature market because it must buy from a complex network of regional and local entities. And even retailers with a national buying team won’t easily find national manufacturers who are eager to partner with them—a point we pick up on later.
Incumbent advantage is yet another powerful factor shaping retail ecosystems. Today’s market dynamics tend to become tomorrow’s market structure—so, for example, in markets in which a highly efficient wholesale system serves the traditional trade, it becomes much harder for modern grocers to gain a foothold. That said, wholesalers can also be vanguards of modernization. In Turkey, for instance, some Bizim Toptan stores have developed a substantial retail business. These wholesalers-cum-retailers illustrate the fact that ecosystems in emerging markets are partly shaped by players that can concentrate and coordinate a critical mass of what otherwise is a complex set of routes to market.
Seven strategic levers for success
In parts of the world where the market structure is itself still in a formative stage, retailers need a bespoke strategy. Our research and experience suggest seven strategic levers that lead to success in emerging markets. These levers—having to do with delivering what consumers want, working effectively with other players in the ecosystem, and generating lasting productivity advantages—reflect perennial concerns for retailers everywhere, but they are especially critical in helping retailers secure a profitable future in the world’s fastest-growing economies .
The levers are by no means comprehensive. For one, they don’t touch on digital technology, which may well be just as important in emerging markets as in developed ones; indeed, rapid adoption of smartphone technology may allow emerging markets to leapfrog more mature markets and reconfigure the value chain farther upstream (for example, by giving smaller suppliers direct access to national and even global markets). Rather, we draw attention to areas that we believe require deliberate action in emerging markets.
1. Prioritize proximity.
Urban consumers with limited budgets and smaller homes often prefer to buy small amounts frequently, both for immediate consumption and for stocking up. And where trading space is constrained, proximity formats offer a more realistic prospect of economic returns for the retailer. Modern retailers can benefit from their experience operating smaller urban formats in developed markets—banners such as Albert Heijn’s AH to Go in the Netherlands or Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local in the United Kingdom.
One market in which small-format stores have been the major driver of modern-trade development is Indonesia. Sales through the convenience-store channel are growing at a rate of more than 25 percent per year across the country. In fact, the increasing dominance of convenience stores, known locally as mini-marts, has led to a contraction in the number of supermarkets and hypermarkets. The mini-mart chains mimicwarungs, which are small family-owned retail or restaurant businesses that play a central role in Indonesian social life. Although the mini-marts are run by modern retailers—in addition to leading national chains Alfamart and Indomaret, international players such as Circle K and 7-Eleven have moved into the market—the customer’s experience in mini-marts is not so different from that in warungs.

2. Keep prices low—and make sure consumers know.
The prediction that emerging-market consumers would initially shop at discounters and then “graduate” to supermarkets hasn’t come true. Discounters, or retailers that exhibit at least three of four core discounter characteristics—low prices, limited range, low-cost store retrofits, and ultra-simple operations—have more than held their own against supermarkets. In Turkey, for example, discount stores are the fastest-growing channel, largely due to the success of local companies such as A101, BIM, and Şok
Perhaps the success of discounters shouldn’t be so surprising, given the stature they enjoy even in one of the largest and richest retail markets in the world: Germany. Low-price stores can establish a dominant position in markets that are going through rapid increases in disposable income (as was the case, of course, in postwar West Germany). When the first modern-trade stores to open in a market are discounters, they can set price expectations permanently.
Other modern formats can also compete on price, but they have to work harder to get consumers to notice. Our research suggests most modern retailers don’t get full credit for the value they offer. This is the case with Indonesia’s hypermarkets, which typically are cheaper places to shop than warungs but haven’t been able to convey that message to enough consumers. Some common modern-trade practices such as high/low pricing can actually undermine a retailer’s value message. In Peru, where bodegas and market stands account for some 80 percent of grocery sales, we found that modern retailers—despite often having lower full-basket prices than traditional retailers—nevertheless lag behind traditional retailers by more than 15 percentage points in consumer perception of low prices.

3. Obsess over productivity.
In markets where labor costs are low, it can be difficult to retain a relentless focus on productivity. But wages are rising fast in emerging markets and bad habits are notoriously hard to unlearn. Retailers that have been obsessed with productivity have achieved striking results. BIM’s decisions on new-store openings in Turkey are driven as much by logistics-network optimization as by local demand attractiveness. BIM follows a “mushroom” expansion model: it grows to high density in specific neighborhoods within a city, using retail formats that require low capital expenditures. The high density of deliveries has allowed it to solve the small-format logistics puzzle that has tripped up many big-box players.
Corporación Favorita in Ecuador offers another example of operational excellence: its just-in-time inventory model of daily deliveries essentially eliminates backroom stock. To ensure full control of store operations, it eschews direct store delivery, managing all flows through its central warehouses. This focus on operations has enabled the company to successfully manage a complex format portfolio.
4. Make the business case to manufacturers.
A rarely discussed obstacle to the expansion of modern trade in emerging markets is the fact that established manufacturers don’t have much incentive to do business with modern retailers. Branded manufacturers enjoy high margins supplying small shopkeepers, who have little negotiating leverage. Why would they want to jeopardize that business in favor of modern-trade retailers with initially limited volumes and terms that are often less vendor friendly (especially if the retailer is a subsidiary of a global company)?
To woo major manufacturers, modern retailers may need approaches that are as creative, collaborative, and mutually beneficial as those they employ in developed markets. One argument full-line modern retailers can make is that branded manufacturers ought to support them rather than discounters. After all, in markets where discounters dominate, consumers can shift en masse away from branded products toward private-label goods.
5. Educate policy makers on the benefits of modern trade.
As mentioned earlier, government intervention can play a critical role in how, and how quickly, modern trade develops. In China, the strong central mandate to provincial and municipal authorities to create the necessary infrastructure for modern retailers—not just thousands of miles of new roads, but also urban planning that integrates modern-trade requirements into traffic patterns and real-estate zoning—has yielded extraordinarily rapid development.
Modern-trade players would do well to communicate the benefits of modern retail to government officials. They could, for instance, make a strong case that modern retailers can do a better job than traditional trade in providing safe and cheap access to high-quality food and household goods.
6. Consider partnering with the traditional trade.
One growth strategy for modern-trade players involves partnership with—rather than competition against—the traditional trade. The strategy has clear advantages: it allows a modern retailer to leverage the network and personalized service of the traditional trade while minimizing capital investment.
Eurocash in Poland is an example. Although its cash-and-carry stores and distribution centers play a wholesaler role, Eurocash also welcomes traditional-trade retailers as franchisees under its abc convenience-store banner (approximately 6,000 stores) and its Delikatesy Centrum banner (approximately 1,000 stores). This franchising approach has allowed Eurocash to grow quickly and profitably. Another example of partnership with the traditional trade comes from Grupo Éxito in Colombia: small retailers that join its Aliados Surtimax network receive Surtimax signage and fixtures, access to Grupo Éxito’s portfolio of private brands, and business and management training. Grupo Éxito has rapidly built a network of more than 500 stores at an extremely low capital-expenditure rate of less than $500 per store.
7. Adopt a city-based strategy.
When a market is in a relatively early state of modern-trade development, national borders can be unhelpful in scoping and designing a retail network. Rather, retailers should concentrate on getting to scale in cities or city clusters.2 Thus, Supermercados Guanabara, the market leader in Rio de Janeiro, has confined itself to the metropolitan area and operates just 23 stores—yet it outperforms formidable competitors, including Carrefour and Walmart.
In China, some retailers have chosen to concentrate first on one city or city cluster, be it Shanghai or Shenyang, before expanding nationally. Similarly, modernization in India’s retail sector will most likely happen through a series of players expanding in individual cities and states, rather than through a “big bang” national expansion plan.3
For any modern retailer, success in emerging markets isn’t guaranteed. Our research confirms the complexity and local specificity of market development and the degree to which it depends on initiatives taken not just by retailers but also by governments, manufacturers, wholesalers, and others in the local retail ecosystem. International retailers thus need to become experts at local tailoring. That said, operating in emerging markets still unquestionably requires excellence in core retailing competencies: marketing, merchandising, supply-chain management, and talent development, to name just a few. Retailers that excel in all these areas in the context of markedly different emerging-market structures will, in a sense, have conquered the world.
By Peter Child, Thomas Kilroy, and James Naylor

Sunday, August 30, 2015

PERSONAL SPECIAL.................. 5 Ways to Create Lasting Change in Your Life

5 Ways to Create Lasting Change in Your Life

When you think about how hard it is to make changes in your life, you're tempted to give up before you even start. It's easier to coast through a good enough life. Everywhere you look, another person or situation trying to convince you a mediocre life is perfectly fine.
In one of her songs, Taylor Swift says, "People throw rocks at things that shine." Marianne Williamson is famous for saying, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?"
Society has conditioned us against stepping out and claiming the kind of life we want to live. Life is short and time can never be recovered. Each moment is precious and should be lived to the fullest.

 Here are five ways to create lasting change that leads to an amazing life.

1. Start with the inner work. Real change starts within each of us. There are struggles and self-limiting beliefs that we have to battle before we can move forward. Take some time for a self-examination of where you are and where you want to be. Address that little voice in your head that gets uncomfortable at the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

2. Be honest with yourself. For the inner work to manifest, it starts with honesty. It's too easy to lie -- especially to ourselves. Real change starts with getting honest about the things that have held you back in the past, and what scares you about the future. Change lasts when you get honest and stay honest. You will have setbacks, and the honesty helps you keep from covering up what will help you. 

3. Focus on one step at a time. When you look at the big picture, it's easy to get discouraged at everything that needs to happen to create change. If you want to lose 50 pounds, it seems daunting. If you want to leave a job you hate, you get 100 thoughts of all that needs to happen. The best way to approach lasting change is to focus on your next steps. Don't look at the big pictures. Instead, break this down into bite size goals that you work on every day. 

4. Forms habits. Lasting change is most successful when you focus on creating habits. Habits are making lifestyle shifts versus quick wins. You incorporate the changes you want to make into your daily routine. You focus on changing how you think about the things you want to change, which affects the actions you take.

5. Stay accountable. Having support in your life can be the difference between success and failure. As much as we want to try this alone, having someone to get honest with you or hold your hand when you stumble, is crucial. It can be family, friends, or a support group, but stay accountable to avoid giving into excuses.
I realize this is all easier said than done, but I hope you realize how important this is. The death of my father and grandfather were my wake up call. They were the catalyst to shake me out of a 12-year period in my life that could best be described as existing. Today, I'm truly living and loving life.
I don't know what your dream life looks like. I only know you can and should do something about it. You can make your dream a reality, and it starts with creating lasting change in your life. Use these five ways to claim the life you truly deserve! 

Kimanzi Constable