Written by Mona Pearl

Going Global: Not Just For Large Companies Anymore

Global growth and expansion is the antidote for shrinking domestic markets.  It offers unparalleled opportunity for growth, increased sales, diversified markets, and improved profit.  US companies must pay attention to international markets for their products and services and take advantage of amazing growth opportunities.  Unfortunately, many US businesses gaze with trepidation at the process and surrender to fear before making an earnest effort.

Locke, the former Secretary of Commerce stated: “With traditional drivers of U.S. economic growth like consumer and business spending facing stiff headwinds, it has never been more important for our companies to increase their sales to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside the United States.”  Not to neglecting the fact that 73% of the purchasing power is outside of the US.  How do you plan to take advantage of that?

Every company can increase its sales dramatically when going global
Today, businesses are being placed into one of two categories: those that skillfully enter into the global marketplace and those that sheepishly exit out of business. A wait-and-see mindset is nothing short of organizational suicide. However, a reactionary, ill-conceived global expansion is no improvement. That, too, spells disaster.

Tapping into this large pool of opportunities requires a bit of work to refine your skills, adjust your mindset, reaffirm your focus, and retest the strategy while modifying the direction as needed, in a global context.

There are three main reasons to start planning your international path now:
1.    The real growth trends are outside the US.
2.    It isn’t a choice anymore.  Your competitors are doing business in the US and are gaining market share, so whether you are aware of it or not, you are competing globally.
3.    Like every investment portfolio, you need to diversify, and by balancing domestic and international markets, you manage risk and leverage growth opportunities.

Focus on Success and Avoid Top Three Costly Mistakes
In order to create a framework that enables you to see, identify, respond, think, plan and operate strategically, beware of the top 3 mistakes companies make when going global:

Mistake 1: Lacking Clear Objectives
The reason to go global must come from a legitimate need to change that is based on accurate data, starting with the present and looking into the future. It begins with asking the right questions. Don’t skip this critical step. You can significantly increase your likelihood of success by researching the market and the competition and setting clear objectives, timelines, milestones, and metrics and using this research to create a roadmap to success. And of course, all this information has to be analyzed and interpreted in context, and aligned with the local culture, politics, financial system, and more. Data alone will not suffice. Make sure you define the right target market(s) for your product or service and choose the appropriate mode of entry.

Mistake 2: Forgetting the Fundamental Importance of Cultural Differences
Be sensitive to cultural nuances. I’ve witnessed many business transactions that come to a screeching halt and fall apart due to cultural misunderstandings and cultural ignorance. Don’t assume anything, and do your homework. Business people in an international business environment must not only be sensitive to differences in culture and language, but they must also learn to adopt the appropriate policies and strategies for coping with these differences.  This will affect the outcomes of the negotiations, agreements and business structure.

Mistake 3: Underestimating the Time to Market for Your Product/Services
Don’t put expansion plans at risk by budgeting too short a timeline.  When this happens, inevitably, the business depletes available capital and the upfront investment of time and money is wasted while your international reputation is blemished.  Resist the temptation to be overly optimistic.  Look at the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) index for planning purposes, and focus on interpreting that information correctly and analyzing how it will affect your specific business plans, using your resources, vision and long-term plan. You cannot put a time frame or price tag on building relationships and trust.

Focus on Opportunities, Not Obstacles
Ultimately, a successful global expansion is dependent on a company’s ability to view the world in a new way. In this increasingly complex and competitive global environment exceptional skill is then needed to evaluate the options, manage the risks and execute a winning growth strategy.  Instead of gazing with fear at the process, focus with excitement and starry eyes at the opportunities and, most importantly, plan for success.

Winners will reap the benefits, while expanding and executing growth strategies more quickly and more effectively than their competitors. Be fast, flexible, innovative, motivated and enjoy the adventure!  It’s a big world out there with lots of potential for businesses with a keen entrepreneurial spirit.


Includes excerpts from Grow Globally: Opportunities for Your Middle-Market Company Around the World.  Copyright (c) 2011 by Mona Pearl.  Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Written by Mona Pearl

Looking Ahead: Main challenges

I foresee five main challenges: the growing competition from other nations (and not only in technology), being dependent on foreign manufacturing and resources, energy issues, credit and finance issues, and the lack of globally oriented talent.

United States companies have to integrate a global strategy into their yearly planning for three major reasons: to increase sales, generate economies of scale to manage risk, and raise profitability. The global aspect cannot be ignored any more, since the competition in technology, manufacturing, and talent will grow the gap between the United States and other countries’ ability to compete. Other countries are on our doorstep, with some we are competing neck to neck, so it is not up to us to make the decision whether to compete globally or not. It is happening, and therefore, U.S. companies need to leverage competition and design and implement cost-effective strategies to enter the international marketplace.

Other countries have been increasing their global trade for years now; they get their education in the best universities in the United States, and basically they duplicate and adapt our methods to their country’s needs in a very clever and sophisticated way.

In many ways the United States is still the leader; however, we don’t do enough long-term planning and don’t know enough about what the other countries do in similar industries. With the emergence and continuous growth of countries like Brazil, China, India, The Philippines, Thailand and so many others, it is becoming a necessity to do business globally, and it would be very costly to not make the right

Written by Mona Pearl

No Time for Long-Term Planning, BUT All the Time in the World to Live with the Consequences?

As we approach the end of the year and many companies are in the process of assessing and planning, let me raise three major questions: \r\n

In his poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost writes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

The global marketplace is literally a maze of untraveled roads and the “difference” can be unparalleled growth if the approach to selecting the right market is carefully executed with commitment, purpose and direction. However, taking the road less traveled requires a long-term strategy to define a product’s uniqueness and a presentation in a manner that distinguishes itself in a global marketplace. It’s more than just taking a national strategy and adding the word “international” on the front-end.

Whenever product modification is required, always opt for the adaptation which brings the most value to the targeted buyer with the least relative cost to the business. In other words, consider what market offers the greatest demand with the least amount of alteration to the actual product itself.

Going the road less traveled also requires a significant investment of upfront resources in terms of understanding the marketplace: understanding cultural habits and perceptions to help forecast buying habits; calculating expected sales volumes; anticipating trends; evaluating existing competition; and understanding the region’s overall economy. Beware, however, that this process may require unbiased and objective oversight and coordination by independent global experts who are skilled at anticipating issues because of their extensive experience operating in foreign markets.

In-sourced expertise can also improve communication between the company’s various departments and up the chain of command to senior management. From product development to marketing, sales and finance, each department will have an important role in the planning process. An initiative manager, experienced with international business and familiar with all aspects of the process, keeps each department focused on their tasks and prevents the teams from pulling too far in their own direction, which often leads to disaster. Ultimately, the focus must remain on prospective customers around the globe with different lifestyles and different worldviews, but with the same basic needs that drive consumers in the U.S.

Avoid the Pitfalls in the Road

Selecting an effective competitive strategy requires an organization to bring unsurpassed value to a targeted audience. Hence, it is vital to understand the concepts of value, needs and desires from the perspective of the targeted marketplace. After all, “value” is a relative term. Only then can the company begin to evaluate both the options and feasibility of aligning its expansion strategy with the needs and desires of any particular region or market. Still, the road to global expansion can be perilous and warrants close examination of common challenges faced by many businesses that have led the way internationally.

Oftentimes, the challenges result from unclear strategic direction, inaccurate assessment of risk and inconsistent alignment between vision, mission, resources, strategy and operations. Consequently, companies need to continually monitor their internal structure and domestic operations and align both with global strategies. Another common stumbling block is cultural ignorance. It’s critical to know the customer! Does this culture eat out or in; walk or drive; are the women at home or working; do they discard and replace or do they repair; do they shop online or in stores; are they brand loyal or not; and who in the family makes purchasing decisions?

Second, make sure all employees are aware of the global vision, understand it and accept it. It is also necessary to design international programs that appeal to your global customers, and that there is a cultural fit in terms of values and product design.

Finally, assess risk, but focus on opportunities. Part of assessing risk is understanding the region’s legal environment. Here’s an example: In the U.S., Lands’ End possesses a strong competitive advantage through its pledge to stand behind quality and offer a lifetime guarantee on every item it manufactures and sells. However, when it attempted to duplicate that strategy in Germany, it was quickly rebuked by the German courts. Such a guarantee violated German law, which prohibits companies from offering incentives with purchases that can cause unfair competition. Fortunately, in this instance, Lands’ End was able to turn the incident into an international marketing campaign. But, the company is still prevented from directly telling consumers about the lifetime guarantee unless directly asked. This is an important lesson. Remember, success in the home market is not a guarantee of global success.

Make sure the expansion doesn’t get “a life of its own,” and that good money doesn’t follow bad.

No time for long-term planning, BUT all the time in the world to live with the consequences. True or False?

Written by Mona Pearl

Re-Evaluating China

Rise up, stretch, and rub the green dollar signs from your eyes. A new day is dawning in China and a radical transformation is underway. China’s new economic mission has shifted from sourcing and manufacturing to outbound and domestic investment, indigenous innovation, and domestic consumption. While beneficial for some U.S. businesses already in China, this shift may present challenges for others. Certainly, any first-time businesses looking strategically at China will need to understand this new China and how its current trajectory will impact future success.



Written by Mona Pearl

No Shortcuts

In the not too distant future, U.S. businesses will be placed into one of two categories: those that skilfully entered into the global marketplace and those that sheepishly exited out of business. A wait and see mindset is nothing short of organizational suicide. On the other hand, a reactionary, ill-conceived global expansion is no improvement. That too spells disaster. What’s needed? Start with a mindset overhaul, fuel it with 100 percent commitment and do your homework – none of which should be any secret to entrepreneurs who’ve launched successful domestic businesses.


As Bill Gates reminds us though, “success is a lousy teacher; it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Consequently, many “smart” business people approach global expansion as just that, an expansion of their existing business. Instead, it is important for U.S. businesses to approach globalization as an entirely new enterprise: an enterprise worthy of all the money, time and sweat equity dedicated to getting domestic start-ups running successfully. At the same time, globalization needs to be fully incorporated into the overall corporate strategy and not treated as a disjointed side business. No short-cuts, no resting on past laurels and no more excuses.


Written by Mona Pearl

How the US Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How We Can Come Back

I was at a Chicago Council on Global Affairs event, where Mr. Friedman discussed his book, “That Used To Be Us”.  America is in trouble, according to Thomas L. Friedman. Globalization, the information technology revolution, chronic deficits, and the nation’s excessive energy consumption are all major challenges facing the country today. Moreover, the current political factionalism in Washington has undermined the United States’ ability to tackle these dilemmas and further threatens the country’s position as a global leader.

Is that all?  And what else? I will argue and add that there is a major fourth challenge we face as a nation, one that stands in our way to succeed:  it is our unwillingness to play in the sandbox with the other nations.  Or, is it that we are so spoiled that we don’t know how?  I am not talking about simply leading the world where there is no competition, the way it used to be.  My point is that the power in the world has shifted and we are no longer alone at the top; a few nations have emerged and take some of our place in limelight and we need to learn to collaborate and not only dictate. Is it arrogance or ignorance?  Or a bit of both?

In my book, “Grow Globally”, I explain outline how US companies can thrive, lead and succeed, but need to acquire a few skills to help them navigate in this new global economy.  Historically, the US has been the leader in the world’s economy (well, this history started about 200 years ago!).  As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, that position has changed.  We’re not even second or third!  According to the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report, the US ranks fourth, behind Switzerland, Sweden, and Singapore.

Fueled by our rugged individualistic and isolationist heritage, it’s no surprise that collaboration across international borders requires a significant level of reconditioning. The United States must move beyond the “us-against-them” approach and recognize that a prosperous world translates to more business for U.S. companies—a win-win situation for all. This attitude is necessary for the United States to maintain its long-standing and valued leadership in the world. Fortunately, with a large dose of commitment, mindset can be corrected, and this challenge can be overcome. How quickly depends on how serious American companies are about joining the global marketplace. As proven in previous decades, when American business embraces challenge, it finds success.

While it is tempting for U.S. businesses of all sizes to focus and dwell on the many overwhelming issues of the day, such as weak economic growth at home, an uncertain credit crisis, a shrinking pool of skill and talent, and increased foreign competition, the fact remains, these issues are not within the control of corporate management. Instead, corporate leadership must take one large step back and look into the global marketplace to discover new opportunities and new avenues to generate future growth. While larger corporations have more resources to invest in exploiting these new opportunities, smaller companies are more agile and can more readily adapt to change.

It is about execution, and since most of strategies fail in the execution phase, we need to learn new ways to get our points, products and services across borders; realize our strengths and competitiveness, and learn to share the stage, focus on teamwork.  Friedman, proudly calling himself a “nationalist”, managed to undermine his own wake- to America. What he focused on is an inward look into a great past, or, as the FT calls it “reinforce the illusions of exceptionalism”. What he emphasizes is that need to look into our own history, and although there may be things we could learn from others, we should focus inwards.

Let’s think about it: how does isolation, constant self-praise, and ignoring the rest of the world by not wanting to learn and accept the new order going to help the United States of America thrive?

It is time we get rid of the illusion that things are going to go back.  There is no going back, only forward.  We need to refine our skills, adjust our mindset, reaffirm our focus, retest our strategy and modify our direction.

\r\nSome of the information above is excerpted from Grow Globally: Opportunities for Your Middle-Market Company Around the World. Copyright (c) 2011 by Mona Pearl.  Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Written by Mona Pearl

C.K. Prahalad, Philip Kotler and Mona Pearl at the First Peter Drucker Global Conference in Vienna, Austria

Global entrepreneurship & collaboration, everything remains different and social justice: three key thought leadership concepts to redefine global entrepreneurship and innovation in a global economy for 2010 and beyond.   

CK - Vienna Kotler - Vienna Mona-Vienna

Mona Pearl, the founder & COO of BeyondAStrategy, Inc. in Chicago looks at global entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration as a driver for future world peace and economic stability. “Many CEO’s just don’t focus on successful global strategies and the need to in-source the expertise for global success”, says Mona Pearl, following a KPMG study highlighting that one out of two US companies trying to go global – fails.

A superb and brilliantly invigorating gathering of the top management minds took place in Vienna, the Austrian capital on November 19 – 20, 2009. They all came to celebrate and commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the birth, in this city, of Peter Drucker, the father of modern management who died in 2005 just short of his 96th birthday. His widow Doris, age 98, has come over from the States to see it all for herself.

Following the conference, the Austrian economic magazine, FORMAT has interviewed three thought leaders on where should the world look for opportunities in this time of crisis? What are the big goals and focal areas for management as we approach 2010 and beyond?

“Many CEO’s do not allow themselves the amount of planning and time it takes to succeed in global markets, and what may work in the US, may not work in Western Europe, or in Eastern Europe.” Or for that matter, in any other place in the world.

Creating an effective competitive advantage is an essential component of any corporate strategy, and it is critical for success in today\’s dynamic global environment. Not surprisingly, competitive advantages are not available in one-size fits all packages. In fact, they vary greatly depending on the unique circumstances of the company, product, market and culture of the target audience. For that reason, what works well in one market may fail in another, even with the same product! To make matters worse, even the most powerful competitive advantages may not last long. But, businesses with the skills to rapidly identify, innovate and exploit new competitive advantages quickly and repeatedly will be formidable competitors both at home and abroad.

Prof. Philip Kotler, the marketing guru sees many changes, but also opportunities to help the poor become consumers. Managers need to devote more time to plan for different situations and establish an early warning system that will prepare them for the worst case scenario.

The question we should be asking is: what do you sell and who do you sell it to? This question wasn’t always answered ethically by the ones selling risky financial products.

CK Prahalad focuses on social justice as a major goal for growth and stability. Helping establish poor countries as future markets and creating the future consumers is our chance for a better future and should be the core interest to enhance the world.

“As competition continues to intensify both domestically and around the globe, so does the need to identify key competitive advantages. Quality products offered at competitive prices, although important, will not guarantee long-term success. Rather, businesses must answer one critical question: “Why should customers buy my products/services as opposed to the competition, and what is my long term plan to remain competitive and succeed in growing the business globally?” If this question can not be answered with clarity, it is time to step back and identify a position from which your product can be distinguished and set apart from all the other competing products, before it\’s too late”, warns Ms. Pearl.

Written by Mona Pearl

Arrogance or Ignorance? You Decide.

The Chicago Olympics Bid:  A case study in the Do’s and Don’ts of Global Business Development & Sales

Experience is the key word, as well as a global network of relationships that were developed and nurtured throughout the years. In order to be a successful player in the global arena, one has to develop relationships across borders. Cultural differences can make or break a deal. As a global business expansion expert, I will take some of the principles of successful global business practices and take the Olympic bid to analyze them. This will demonstrate how discounting cross-cultural sensitivities can leave you dead in the water. The US missed the boat in Copenhagen on so many levels. Was it arrogance or ignorance? You decide.

Let me set the record straight. Let me start with expressing my passion and love for the City of Chicago. Chicago is my town, and as much as I have traveled around the world, it is a fabulous city to live and conduct business in. Mayor Daley is my hero and there is nothing I wouldn’t do to get the Olympics to Chicago. But Chicago and the US have a lot to learn about the rest of the world.

The US is the best country in the world. Sometimes I think people don’t appreciate how good we have it here compared to each and every other place on the planet.  Since international business is my business, I would take the initiative and provide some constructive criticism to our leadership.

In my book I list the 10 biggest mistakes companies make when going global. I will mention the two that seem to be a perfect fit this case study:

When KPMG’s Global Enterprise Institute surveyed U.S. middle market companies in late 2007, it found that 58 percent of all businesses surveyed planned to increase their global presence over the next five years, and one-third planned to maintain their current global presence. Interestingly, in the same survey, fewer than half of all respondents said their expansion efforts over the past two years had been successful; therefore, 50 percent were unsuccessful! With failure rates like these, it’s time to ask “What are we doing wrong?” More importantly, what must be done differently to improve chances for future success in the global marketplace?

Mistake # 7: Forgetting the Fundamental Importance of Cultural Differences. There is no one best way of doing business, and the American way is definitely not the only way. When venturing globally, one has to be sensitive to nuances in order to get the deal done. Many business transactions were halted or terminated due to cultural misunderstandings, or to be a bit blunt, cultural ignorance. Managers in an international business environment must not only be sensitive to cultural and language differences, but they must also adopt the appropriate policies and strategies for coping with them. \r\n

Mistake #9: Being Overconfident in Your Global Expansion Skills. Seek professional advice to navigate the unknown and use other people’s experience to help you succeed and follow a smooth road. A little humility goes a long way in combating the overconfidence error. Remember that what got you to be successful in the US, in most cases won’t get you there. At the most fundamental level, the differences arise from the simple fact that countries are different. Countries differ in their cultures, political systems, economic systems, legal systems, and levels of economic development. Many of these differences are very profound and enduring.

The first among five most commonly mentioned areas of difficulty for US companies are Cultural issues (39 percent). And this came to light on October 2nd in Copenhagen.

International success requires tremendous finesse in terms of cross-cultural skills. The fact is, not paying attention and ignoring mindset and perception can make or break even the most carefully executed global efforts. We are not talking about the technical issues. Chicago’s bid was up to par. We lost support due to a few don’ts that should have been considered beforehand:

President Obama. It starts with Obama saying publicly he will not go to Copenhagen but he will be sending his wife. President Obama, yes, Michelle is the first lady, however, she is no replacement to a head of state, the Unites States of America. In other cultures this is considered as a faux pas (a bad step in French), and is perceived as: “it is not important enough for me to be bothered”.

The next move was that just a couple of days before the Oct. 2nd, when you stated that you will be joining your wife, made it even worse. So now, you do have the time? And then you show up for a few hours, not even considering that your presence is building trust and rapport.

The flip flop didn’t fly very well in the international community. Then you decide to show up for 5 hours, on a touch and go trip. So American – down to business and no regards to relationships. And to top that off, the speech was so much focused on “I”. Yes, the US is considered a very individualistic society (based on Geert Hofstede’s Index), which has been great for business, but hasn’t built too many friendships around the world. We don’t have the luxury of choosing who we want to do business with anymore. It is time we listen, learn, observe and accept that there is a world outside of the US. A world that wants to collaborate with us. A world that has tremendous respect to our achievements.

Where is the commitment, the staying power? Here is how most Nations perceive the US way of doing business:

Direct and open communication. The Japanese, German and many other cultures do not appreciate the approach of ‘tell it like it is’, or, ‘what’s the bottom line?” This may arise uncomfortable and embarrassing feelings, while giving the impression of being too pushy, or even hostile.

You proved them right, Mr. President: you came to make your speech and that’s it. Bottom line. Touch and go.

Impatience. ‘Get it done yesterday’, is an acceptable way of operating in the fast pace business environment in the US. The phrase ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way’ often seems to be how Americans go about business. In a global context, this may reflect that the American is rushing through the negotiation, and has no interest what so ever, to get to know the other side. It puts a strong emphasis on content over the relationship involved.

You just stopped by for a few hours, a “touch and go” approach.

Emphasis on short-term. US corporations tend to look short-term, especially in comparison to the Eastern cultures. There is a tendency to think in terms of the immediate deal rather than of developing a business relationship that will bear long term benefits. It appears to the other side as the person is out simply to ‘make a fast buck’ for the company.

The King of Spain made it a priority. Yes, the King. I know we are a very informal society in the US, but we need to learn to respect. Respecting other countries, their heritage and culture. Yes, a Spaniard discovered America and their history starts way before we became the United States of America. And let’s not forget all the other dignitaries from other States.

President Obama, it is not about being a star, it is about connecting with the world. Building relationships, listening, observing, learning, and collaborating. One of the complaints about President Bush was that he was a cowboy from Texas. Well, he is. He felt comfortable with that identity and was proud of it. Global stardom requires a global approach, and the IOC wasn’t swayed by your influence. Maybe your clout stopped at the Pacific and the Atlantic? (Said Wood, who said the early elimination reflects poorly on the president).

With the IOC’s members sitting silently you explained how your family moved around a lot when you were a kid and “I never really had roots.” President Obama, it is a faux pas in such high level circles to share this type of information. One just doesn’t talk about it. Again, it is common in the US, but your audience was global. A rule in sales: go to where your customers are and speak to them in a way they understand. It is not about you, it is about the benefits to them.

Yes We Can does not translate very well into most other languages. On the contrary, if not emphasized right, it means that the focus is on the US again, leaving out the rest of the world.

Mayor Daley, my role model and hero. What you have done for Chicago in the past 20 years is amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And when I travel overseas on business, I am always proud to say that I live in a world class city, Chicago! But when it comes to the international community and the Olympics, it was not about pitching to a corporation or wooing another Boeing to move its HQ there. It is about a compelling story, about passion, about talking a person to another person.

“It’s not about the words,” Daley said. “It\’s about the heart and the soul.” Dear Mayor, it is about the words, since this is how people build a connection. And the words have to be chosen carefully. The video was made by Americans for Americans. It doesn’t appeal to the heart and soul of other nations. They also have beautiful beaches, high rises… It does have to do with words, compelling and passionate words that reach the hearts and souls.

It took a charismatic Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in his presentation full of passion, which demonstrates that even though he was fearful that they were going to lose to the star power of the OBAMAS.

And your mention of the two African-American sprinters made quite a few people feel uncomfortable. What was the message? That there is no race discrimination in the US? We all know we have a long way to go before we accomplish that. It was not appropriate, didn’t send the message. Race is something we should work on in our country. Did you realize there are delegates that may be offended? It is a faux pas.

Doug Arnot, what can I say? Je ne comprends pas. The US is known to be language deficient, where people speak the English language only. Mr. Arnot tried to show that we are different. You should have known better not to do it in French. Doug, you butchered the French language, and you should know how much pride the French take in their language. And not only the French, but the Francophones in general.

Not to mention that I didn’t see any headphones or was aware of any interpreters on site, so in addition to almost insulting the Francophones, the rest of the dignitaries, who do not speak the French language could not even understand what you said, and they were left out. What was the idea behind this? It couldn’t have been a sales tactic, or at least not a thoroughly planned one. What was that all about? Was that supposed to make us appear as a multi-lingual nation and present us in a different light? Je crois pas, monsieur Arnot.

“So many members have never been to Chicago and expect it to be a city of smoke stacks,” said Doug Arnot, Chicago 2016\’s operations chief. “They come here and see this picture and it has quite an impact. This is a real photograph. It exists today. It\’s not what might happen.”

Let’s not put the down the rest of the world. They are well read and know that Chicago is not a smoke stack anymore, especially since Obama’s Presidency. People outside of the US are much more in-tune with US history, politics and culture. They study it at school, they are worldly and educated.

Another aspect as to how the US is viewed by the rest of the world:

US-Centric. There is a joke that has been around for many years: How do you call a person who speaks several languages? Polyglot. How do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bi-lingual. How do you call a person who speaks one language? American.

Americans have limited experience with other cultures due to the enormous market size and opportunities within the 51 States. The perception by the other side is that Americans are culturally myopic and arrogant about their nationality, and refuse to learn a foreign language, understand local customs, or accept another country’s approaches to business or personal life.

Michelle Obama, our First Lady. You get my full respect and admiration. However, in international high society circles one doesn’t reveal such overly detailed personal information. It is not considered good manners. I am aware you had a very close relationship with your father, and this is a great memory for you. I know that in the US we talk just about anything, but your audience was not Americans, so it would have been great to match the message to the audience, stick to the objectives. When going global, know your market. Know your audience.

Michelle Obama was sharing how her father “taught me how to throw a ball and a mean right hook.” It is not very lady like.

What was our message besides we want it and we deserve it?

Rio de Janeiro has delivered a passionate appeal for South America to be awarded the Olympics for the first time.

“Tokyo is indeed well positioned to serve as a future model for public safety and environmental sustainability,” Hatoyama said. “In hosting the 2016 Games, Tokyo will show the world how a major metropolis shall flourish without detriment to the environment.”

An uncomfortable moment for Chicago came when an IOC member from Pakistan, Syed Shahid Ali, noted that going through U.S. customs can be harrowing for foreigners. Obama responded that he wanted a Chicago Games to offer “a reminder that America at its best is open to the world.” How did this answer address the question?

It’s a project that has my wholehearted support,” Juan Carlos told IOC members. It also reiterated that 77 percent of its venues are ready or under construction.

So why do foreign companies excel in the global marketplace and in many cases beat U.S. corporations to the punch?

Many U.S. corporations have been so successful for so long that it seems now they are too slow to react to changes in global markets due to a lack of being able to see a different point of view. Successful global expansion depends on leaders who think proactively, sense and foresee emerging trends, and are not afraid to act upon them. To accomplish that, U.S. corporate leaders have to possess a global mindset and be open to new opportunities in new countries, involving different cultures.

Many foreign companies that are now direct competition to the U.S. have been more exposed to global business. These leaders have learned to deal in a less structured, bureaucratic, and regulated reality. They are more comfortable with ambiguity and have developed an efficient decision-making and execution process, and this basically enables agility and the tracking of issues in parallel and real time.

Fortunately, with a large dose of commitment, mindset can be corrected and this challenge can be overcome. How quickly depends on how serious American companies are about joining the global marketplace. As proven in previous decades, with past challenges, if American companies get serious, look out world!


Written by Mona Pearl

Where Do The Women Visionaries of the World Gather?

Mona Pearl at LeaderSHE – the most important reunion in Central and Eastern Europe of women leaders active in business, politics and social life. LeaderSHE Forum will take place in Vienna, Austria where elite personalities and celebrities, both men and women – be it in politics, business or social life – will debate over major themes of the day, from a woman leader perspective: government-driven solutions for business sustainability, globalization and market expansion – cross-border business development, the aftermath of the economic meltdown – reinventing business models, strategies for sustainable growth and innovation: never ending reforms of the healthcare systems, risk management, energy security and sustainability.

In a global uncertain world where all the rules were broken this past couple of years, we all crave for a new kind of leadership; Leadership that has the flexibility, the ability to communicate, the commitment and panoramic vision to navigate the storm and get us safely to shore. The world is in search for a unique set of skills and a new generation of leaders. Are women the leaders the world has been waiting for?” Asks Mona Pearl, confirmed speaker at the LeaderSHE International Forum, and Founder & COO of BeyondAStrategy in Chicago, IL USA.

A superbly impressive line-up of worldwide visionary women – leaders will take place on April 7 – 8 at the LeaderSHE International Conference and Gala Dinner, organized with the special cooperation of Mr. Erhard Busek, former vice-chancellor of Austria, in Vienna. 

“As women in a complex business world, we need to be true to ourselves as to what we want to do and who we want to be. Let’s accept the fact women and men are different. Let’s play the business game as women and not forget for a moment the range of skills we bring to the table. Let’s focus on collaboration, while translating our uniqueness into advantage. We have to believe in ourselves and learn to embrace achievements and success. Let’s stop focusing on limitations and perfection, and center on possibilities while doing the right things. Dare to let yourself dream and visualize with open eyes, and you may be surprised how fast reality follows. Let’s become the role models we didn’t have”, concludes Mona Pearl, Romanian born and has been managing her global strategic expansion firm for over 10 years now in the US.

Mona Pearl’s experience in international strategic development and global entrepreneurship has been vital in helping companies design and execute their global strategies. Ms. Pearl is known for her out of the box thinking and developing creative solutions to tough challenges which produce bottom line results. Mona Pearl was featured along side with Philip Kotler and CK Prahalad in an interview on The Search for Global Consumers.

Among the high profile speakers and confirmed debate generators to join the Leader SHE Community in Vienna, Forum Invest proudly announces Gabriele Heinisch Hosek, Minister for Women and Civil Service, Austria, Barbara Prammer, President of Parliament, Isabel Aguilera, director of INDRA Sistemas Spain, quoted by the Financial Times as one of the first 25 European Executives, as well as one of the only two Spanish women included in Fortune Magazine´s Top 50 Most Influential Executives in the World, Ms Mona Pearl, Global Business Expansion Expert, Founder & COO Beyond a Strategy, USA, Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, the First Woman Minister of Defense in Finland, Minister of Equality Affairs & Presidential Candidate in 2000. Ms Selma Aliye Kavaf, State Minister for Women and Family Affairs, Turkey, Ms Vasso Papandreou, Member of Parliament, Greece, Ms Barbara Kolm, President, European Center for Economic Growth, Austria, Dr. Amany Asfour, President, Egyptian Business Women Association & AfroArab Network for Women Empowerment, Egypt have also confirmed their official participation at the most important Central & South-East European reunion of Women-Leaders. http://www.foruminvest.ro/conference/leadershe2010/agenda

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