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HOW ARE COUNTRIES MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN TRADE POLICIES AND PRACTICES?

trade policies

HOW ARE COUNTRIES MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN TRADE POLICIES AND PRACTICES?

Tracking How Much She Trades

On July 7, the International Trade Centre rolled out a new tool to track the types and prevalence of trade policies designed to promote more trade by women-owned businesses.

Called “SheTrades Outlook” and funded by the UK, the index initially covers 25 countries as wide-ranging as Australia and Canada to Mauritius, South Africa, Rwanda, and Samoa, applying quantitative and qualitative data to rank them across 83 indicators and six policy areas. Analysts interviewed more than 460 institutions and organizations in these countries, evaluating factors including women’s access to opportunities for skills development, finance, and global markets, and networks.

Dashboard of SheTrades

The index also queries whether governments and national organizations offer tailored support to enterprises owned and run by women to enable them to grow their businesses globally, whether programs exist to help women entrepreneurs win government contracts, and if governments have begun to collect gender-disagreggated data that might better inform policies to support women in trade.

Finally, SheTrades Outlook compiles recommended practices across these policy areas to share the experiences of countries covered in the index as a global resource.

Example of SheTrades Tracker

Starting to Get the Picture

SheTrades Outlook seeks to create a more complete picture of how women participate in the global economy through trade. Doing so will help inform trade policies and national trade promotion programs that better serve women as critical drivers of productivity and economic growth worldwide.

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Andrea Durkin is the Editor-in-Chief of TradeVistas and Founder of Sparkplug, LLC. Ms. Durkin previously served as a U.S. Government trade negotiator and has proudly taught international trade policy and negotiations for the last fifteen years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

global

How to Take Your Business Global

Companies around the world have increased their comfort level and ability to participate in international trade. Thanks to significant improvements in communication technology, infrastructure, and more numerous and adept service providers to support companies engaging in global business, the opportunity for U.S. companies to expand beyond our borders has never been better.

If you are considering taking your business global, the infographic below, Are You Ready for International Business Expansion? is a superb reference. It presents a concise overview of how to get started and the pitfalls to look out for when marketing products and services in other countries and cultures. The infographic is sufficiently broad to help businesses pursuing anything from straight exporting to local-market manufacturing, and yet it zeroes in on all the key issues to consider.

Preparation and planning make all the difference in any new enterprise, but for international business expansion, danger lurks in unexpected places. For instance, even sophisticated, Fortune 100 companies have gotten tripped up by using product names that appeal to U.S. customers — but repel customers in the foreign markets they were aiming at.* Language and cultural differences from one country to another, or even one region within a country to another, can create unintended consequences for every aspect of your sales, branding, marketing, operations and financial management.

Despite the challenges, companies can get plenty of help to overcome the hurdles and create new revenue streams from customers in faraway places. On the customer service side, companies have overcome language barriers by partnering with customer support organizations with multilingual skills — much more cost-effective and far faster than trying to build a multilingual internal team from scratch. Along similar lines, U.S. companies wishing to export can work with any number of experienced export firms with the knowledge to navigate the confusing and complex issues of local trade regulations.

Given the complexity of global operations, along with the increased costs and risks, it’s natural to ask, is going global worth it? Many organizations have correctly concluded that it is. Establishing positions in foreign markets enables companies to establish new and potentially vast revenue streams. It allows a company to shift focus from slowing markets to growing markets and maintain dynamic growth, rather than being anchored to the fate of a single national market. It enlarges the company’s talent pool, facilitates new product development, and establishes a competitive advantage over companies doing business locally or nationally. To learn more about what it takes to go global, continue reading below.

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Author Bio: Anita Lee is Marketing and Sales Director for Callnovo, an outsourced contact center service provider specializing in customer services and technical support. She has five years of experience in the industry, and focuses on e-commerce customer service and call center operation. 

*Source: https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/the-20-worst-brand-translations-of-all-time.html

questions

Hiring The Wrong People? Maybe You’re Asking Them The Wrong Questions.

A company’s intention in a job interview is to find the person who best fits a particular position. But recent research has shown that quite often, the candidate who was hired failed, and usually their exit was related to attitude issues that weren’t revealed in the interview.
That raises the question: Are interviewers asking the wrong questions — and consequently hiring the wrong people? Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com), says some traditional styles of interviewing are outdated, thus wasting time and resources while letting better candidates slip away.
“It still astounds me to meet HR professionals who lack the basic skills of interviewing,” says Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership. “In 2019, ‘tell me about yourself’ is still a way to start an interview, and that’s absurd. The only thing you get is people who describe the outline of their resume, which you already know.
“You want to get to know the candidate’s personality in the interview. In a normal setting, you would have about one hour to do this. But some traditional interview practices waste this precious time, and you can miss out on great talent and instead hire a mediocre one.”
Zlatin offers the following interview approaches to help HR leaders, recruiters and executives find the right candidate:
Make it a two-way conversation.  Zlatin says traditional interviewing focuses too much on the candidate’s skills and experience rather than on their motivation, problem-solving ability, and willingness to collaborate. Thus, he suggests configuring the interview in a non-traditional, informal way to gain insight into the candidate’s personality. “Rather than make most of the interview a rigid, constant question-and-answer format that can be limiting to both sides, have a two-way conversation and invite them to ask plenty of questions,” Zlatin says.
Flip their resume upside down.  “Surprise them by going outside the box and asking them something about themselves that isn’t on their resume or in their cover letter,” Zlatin says. “See how creatively they think and whether they stay calm. You want to see how a candidate thinks on their feet — a trait all companies value.”
Ask open-ended questions. Can this candidate make a difference in your company? Zlatin says answering that question should be a big aim of the interview. “Ask questions that allude to how they made a difference in certain situations at their past company,” Zlatin says. “Then present a hypothetical situation and ask how they would respond.”
Don’t ask cliched questions. Zlatin says some traditional interview questions only lead to candidates telling interviewers what the candidate thinks the company wants to hear. “Interviewers should stop asking pointless questions like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ “ Zlatin says. Or, ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ Candidates rehearse these answers, and many of them are similar, so that doesn’t allow them to stand apart.”
Learn from the candidate’s questions. The questions candidates ask can indicate how deeply they’ve studied the company and how interested they really are. “A good candidate uses questions to learn about the role, the company, and the boss to assess whether it’s the right job for them,” Zlatin says.
Don’t take copious notes. Zlatin says the tendency by interviewers to write down the candidates answers and other observations is “a huge obstacle to building a solid two-way conversation because it removes the crucial element of eye contact.”
“An effectively done interview allows the employer to get both an in-depth and big-picture look at a candidate,” Zlatin says. “Judging whether they might fit starts with giving them more room to express in the interview.”
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Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel. His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.
communication

Your Business Has 99 Problems and Communication is All Of Them.

Businesses face a multitude of vexing situations every day.

Sometimes these are quickly remedied, such as a missed phone call that must be rescheduled, or an unhappy customer who needs to be soothed. At other times, there’s a total breakdown and turmoil erupts, as in the recent GM strike where 50,000 auto workers walked out, venting their anger over a number of decisions by the company.

But, small or large, of minor importance or potentially ruinous, every cause for concern that a business encounters originates from the same place.

“All problems are communication problems,” says Bill Higgs (culturecodechampionspodcast.com), an authority on corporate culture and author of the upcoming book Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business. 

“How well you communicate is tied to your organization’s culture, which raises the question: What is your current culture costing you?”

Higgs says it’s common in the business world to be in a situation where someone asks or tells you to do something, you think you understand what they want, but when it’s done, it’s not right.

“When you both review what happened, you realize there was a communication breakdown at the outset,” he says.

Higgs recommends a few ways businesses can improve communications – and in the process avoid everything from minor mishaps to major disputes:

Seek and value input from everyone. A lot of rework could be avoided if leaders in an organization would empower their people to speak up if they see a problem, Higgs says. “Often, people remain silent even when they see something that does not seem right,” he says. “Why is that? I believe these problems happen because a person might notice something seems wrong, but he or she isn’t comfortable challenging someone who they see as more expert on the subject than them or who has more authority.” That’s why it’s important to foster an organization-wide culture where people feel comfortable challenging things, no matter who they are or who they are challenging. That way you increase the odds that things will be done right the first time.

Cross-train people so they better understand what others do. When employees have no idea about their co-workers’ areas of expertise, work slows down, as though everyone on the team is speaking a different language. “You want to get your people to broaden their knowledge and expand the scope of what they normally do in their own jobs,” Higgs says. As people learn more, they become more efficient and, for example, could handle questions from a vendor without bringing in other members of the team, saving everyone’s time. Higgs says cross-training often can take place when people have downtime, but if that’s not possible, it may be necessary to schedule time to make it happen.

Bust silos. Many organizations group people together by function. Marketing people work in the marketing department, finance people in the finance department, and so forth. Departments also are often separated physically. “This can create a number of problems and inefficiencies,” Higgs says. “For example, it can lead to lots of rework because silos are not conducive to communication.” Other problems silos cause include competition rather than collaboration among teams, and finger-pointing and blame-shifting when things go awry. He suggests that, instead of separating people by their functions, group them together in teams that are working on the same projects.

“Don’t let your people shut themselves off in their offices or workspaces, and don’t create such a hierarchy that people can communicate only through pre-approved channels,” Higgs says. “Effective teamwork requires good communication – and lots of it.”

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Bill Higgs, an authority on corporate culture, is the author of the upcoming book Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business. He recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast (culturecodechampionspodcast.com). Higgs is also retired CEO of Mustang Engineering Inc., which he and two partners started in Houston, Texas in 1987 to design and build offshore oil platforms. Over the next 20 years, they grew the company from their initial $15,000 investment and three people to a billion-dollar company with 6,500 people worldwide; since then, it has grown to a $2 billion company with more than 12,000 people. Higgs is a distinguished 1974 graduate (top 5 percent academically) of the United States Military Academy at West Point and runner up for a Rhodes scholarship.