Aug 03

China Watch Blog reports that organizations are like Rubik’s Cubes. Multifaceted, sometimes frustrating, with many possible moves leading to a single desired outcome. A leader cannot twist one side of the cube without affecting the others. Mastering the Cube: Overcoming Stumbling Blocks and Building an Organization that Works (AlignOrg Solutions) is by Reed Deshler and Kreig Smith. A leader’s guide to orchestrating complex organizational change, it’s a practical approach to a topic that is usually academic, too technical or overly complex.

Changing a large business to maximize opportunity in the marketplace is a process of aligning a multifaceted organization. Following the metaphor of an organization as a Rubik’s Cube, Deshler and Smith have identified eight common but misguided moves of organizational change.  These are Stumbling Blocks. But for each of these they offer an alternate move, or Building Block. These are solid principles or methods for leading organization alignment.

Reed Deshler is a principal with AlignOrg Solutions and a leading organization design and change practice leader with extensive corporate and consulting experience. He has worked with leaders at some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Deshler’s expertise is in the science of organization design and change coupled with a talent for diagnosing organization misalignments. This facilitates the insights needed to drive business change and growth. Deshler is a regular presenter at industry conferences and a noted educator of organization design and change management skills with business executives around the world.

Kreig Smith is the founder of AlignOrg Solutions and a principal with the firm. He has consulted with a wide range of organizations—from Fortune 50 corporations to small businesses, for profit and nonprofit organizations, and domestic and international enterprises—for nearly thirty years. His expertise centers in the alignment of organizations to marketplace positions. Kreig focuses on large-scale change efforts, strategy clarification, organization design, and education.

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Dec 16

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For years, we have been servicing you with all kinds of gems. Many have thanked us, others have bombarded us with SPAM, but NO ONE has even donated or sponsored us.
People want to receive for FREE, while the editors and contributors at China Watch Blog have had to bear with the rising costs year after year.
We are not even looking for profit, we just need HELP to run this site.
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Sep 05

China Watch Blog has learnt that four Dutchmen invented, developed and patented a gearbox without any gear wheels. Compared to traditional transmissions their revolutionary Controlled Rotation System (CRS) has a simple design, is maintenance free, doesn’t require lubricants and saves fuel because it lacks friction between the gears. Therefore it’s a sustainable technology.

Innovative Gearbox Without Gear

The inventors from the Eindhoven region expect the new transmission to change the automotive industry on a worldwide scale. The system has no gear wheels, but uses two discs which are powered by a strong belt. With the help of a digital operated hydraulic oil pump and so called slide units the diameter of the discs is increased and decreased, causing acceleration and deceleration, thus providing a different gear.

The new transmission can be applied in cars, but also in windmills, ships, motorbikes or all kinds of machines. “This innovation fits perfectly in a green economy. It’s easier, more compact and cheaper to assemble than traditional transmissions. It saves energy, offers more gear possibilities and can be used in all kinds of applications. The technique is completely different compared to the traditional gearbox which dates from the 19th century. That’s why you can call it revolutionary,” the designers say. They state that their system can’t be compared with existing CVT systems. To further develop their ideas and techniques they have founded Parts Services Holland Ltd.

Originally the system was developed for bicycles. The four got the idea when they saw how cyclist Andy Schleck lost his bicycle chain during the crucial moment of the Tour de France while he was shifting gear. “Then we thought: we should put an end to gear wheels.” For bicycles the system is called Dual Slide Gear. The two discs replace all the gear wheels normally used for the gears.

After developing a prototype for bikes they modified the system for cars. The first prototype for the automotive industry measures 30 x 22 x 18 centimetres. It’s most effective when used in electric cars because the electric engine can run in a constant rpm. By linking each wheel to a separate transmission a lot of energy can be saved.

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Aug 27

China Watch Blog has learnt that Chinese geologists confirmed today that they have discovered a large gold deposit with estimated reserves of 21 metric tons in south China’s Guangdong Province.

It is the third such gold deposit in the province and has a potential value worth billions of yuan, sources with the Guangdong Geological Bureau said.

The deposit is located in western Guangdong and its main body measures about 800 meters long, sources said.

In addition to the gold, the deposit also has reserves of silver of about 26 metric tons, according to the bureau.

Two other gold deposits, each with reserves of over 20 tons, were found in Guangdong in the 1980s and 1990s.

Guangdong is one of China’s major gold producers. As of 2010, there were five gold mining companies in the province, with annual investment in the gold market of up to 100 billion yuan (US$16.13 billion).

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Jul 20

China Watch Blog has learnt that people’s fear of sales and marketing, which has long been viewed as a mysterious art, is unfounded.

According to Richard White, founder and Chief Executive Officer of WiseTech Global, if there’s one thing all companies struggle to measure, it’s the relationship between marketing and sales, and how these business units affect new revenue creation.

“We all know that there’s a connection, but actually tracking a prospect from the time they know nothing about you through to the point where they are a revenue-generating customer, who is happy to recommend your services, continues to be a challenge.

“Part of the problem is sales staff and their work methods,” White explains.

It’s in their interests to wave their hands mysteriously, and suggest their innate skills and talents are the secrets of their success, and the way most businesses operate ensures that it remains in their interest to behave in this way. Their success is measured based on how much new business each sales person wins, and little attention is paid to the amount of business they have lost, or failed to win on the way. Even less attention is paid to the contribution made by brand, the product itself, price or all the other inputs which ultimately affect the outcome.

Because we don’t ultimately know what contributes to success and failure, it becomes impossible to learn from what we’re already doing. It therefore also becomes impossible to improve. Failure is always put down to outside influences, while success is ascribed to the mysterious talents of the sales person.

The other part of the problem is the way most companies remunerate sales staff. They’re usually paid on a very narrow measure of personal success, with no reference to what the organization achieves overall. Little attempt is made to track their day-to-day activities, interactions with customers, or the correlation between marketing and sales. As a result, we lose the link between what they do, and what they achieve.

We understand that there are talented, successful sales people, but what makes them successful is routinely misunderstood or misinterpreted; and as a result, we create a situation where real improvement through learning is impossible.

Most companies manage this issue by employing sales staff based on what they say they’ve done, put them on trial, and fire them if they haven’t met expected sales goals. But this method does not provide any business insight into the steps involved in transforming a prospect from a complete stranger into a customer willing to pay for, and promote, your services.

The central problem, however, lies not with the sales people and their methods, or with the way they are remunerated, but with the way we think about the sales process itself.

We think of it as a process – as an ongoing flow rather than a series of discrete stages. We focus on the movement rather than the points of interaction. As a result, it becomes impossible to understand what happens at each of those points; how people change and what changes them.

If we were analyzing a factory process, we wouldn’t look at the conveyor belt which moves the goods, but at each of the points along the line when the good is changed or modified.

In marketing and sales, there is movement from one state to another, but it is perhaps more useful to consider it as a series of points rather than one long continuum – and here’s why:

There may be tens and perhaps even hundreds of tiny points of transition where the customer is ‘touched’ by either sales or marketing – so many in fact, that it may look like an impossible task to first quantify them and then measure their effect. Good sales people will personally make many attempts to ‘touch’ the customer, as they qualify, understand education, inspire, and ultimately create the confidence that converts a “lead” into a “customer”.
However, it is possible to identify and measure many of the small transitions that occur, and it’s well worth the while of each sales person to track them, because they are able then to plan for when they need extra inputs like an email, video, phone call, automated message, or detailed personal interaction.

The process may sound overwhelming, but when you begin to do this you will also be able to figure out that there are many small stages that can be skipped, and others which could do with more focus in order to properly manage the sales cycle.

Once you divide the activity into discrete stages, you can also begin to use software to track and manage the progress of leads into customers; you can design and target your skills toward particular customer types, and most importantly you can turn the sales process into something which is predictable and therefore scalable.

I can already see sales people all over the world lean in closer to the screen, narrow their eyes, and grow angry at the assertion that part of their magic can be clearly, logically deconstructed and managed by software.

However, it is possible to create a highly successful and scalable sales and marketing system that grows your business even in times of economic turbulence or downturn, assuming your base product and pricing is right.

By focusing on the points of transition rather than the movement, it is entirely possible to create a predictable, and measureable set of steps specifically targeted to your prospect no matter where they are in the sales cycle.

The ‘magic of sales’ is about giving people what they need, when they need it, so they can respond to the needs of the prospect as they develop into a customer … simple really.

Armed with such a tool marketing teams can create a succinct plan, and build content which boosts the effectiveness of the sales team, enhancing their confidence to respond to high-quality leads through a well-designed set of targeted stages.

Effective sales people can become more productive because they have access to all that they need, and weaker sales people can be stepped through the different stages without having to double-guess what is needed to advance the sales process, and when.

By Identifying, quantifying, tracking, measuring and training, you ignite the torch that brings light into the dark art of sales and marketing.

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Apr 25

China Watch Blog has learnt that Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s biggest e-commerce company, plans to step up efforts to fight counterfeiting, which the company head says is the biggest obstacle for its future development.

China Daily reported that the Hangzhou-based company will spend “as much as it can” to tackle counterfeiting problems on its e-commerce websites, said Shao Xiaofeng, Alibaba’s chief risk officer.

The company will set up a committee for intellectual property rights protection this year, which will have Lu Zhaoxi, its new CEO starting on May 10, as head and Alibaba’s different business division leaders as members, Shao said.

The effort came after the company was removed from the United States’ yearly list of the world’s most “notorious markets” last year because of its improvement in reducing counterfeits.

“I am afraid that something we notice but don’t prevent today will eventually grow into a cancer for a company’s future development. … That’s why I think I will surely regret it if we don’t do well in fighting counterfeits,” Ma Yun, Alibaba’s chairman, said at his last news conference before he officially steps down as CEO on May 10.

About 2,000 employees at Alibaba are responsible for protecting intellectual property rights.

Last year, Alibaba dealt with 94 million items that infringed copyrights and handed out punishment 900,000 times, it said.

In the first three months of this year, China’s public security organs have dealt with 3,747 counterfeit cases, which involved a total value of 24.2 billion yuan ($3.91 billion), said Meng Qingfeng, head of the Economic Crime Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security.

In December, a report from the United States Trade Representative said that Taobao, owned by Alibaba, “has worked with rights holders to significantly decrease the listing of infringing products for sale through its website, and has committed to continue working to streamline its complaint procedures to further reduce listings of counterfeit products”.

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Apr 25

China Watch Blog has learnt that a Russian entrepreneur wants to introduce MAT Russian swear words – to the English speaking world and in doing so upset all sense of decency.

MAT is the term used to describe Russian sacral swearwords and the plot is simple yet ingenious. Introduce English speaking people to MAT and encourage them to use these Russian words regularly. The ingenious part of the plot is that very few of their friends and family will know that they are swearing and by using these words individuals will be participating in one of the best stress relieving activities around.

The leader of this plot to infiltrate the English language and scandalize Americans is Sergey Yanchevskiy. According to Yanchevskiy there is pure healing magic in properly shaped sacral swearwords, especially Russian language swear words. Yanchevskiy and his team are planning to gather the most effective Russian swear words into one book and then deliver these MAT guides to libraries throughout the United States.

Their diabolical scheme is to introduce as many Americans as possible to the healing power of MAT and they won’t rest until they can walk any street in the country and hear these Russian swear words being expressed on a regular basis.

In essence, the goal of Yanchevskiy’s project is to undermine conventional norms by making swearing more acceptable. Using Russian, a language few Americans know is the perfect way to allow people to swear without obviously offending anyone. It’s scandalous, it’s ingenious and it just might work.

Drawing on recent studies by some of the top researchers Yanchevskiy is testing out the new theory that getting made and yelling out swear words is healthy and in fact can have a healing effect. Researchers are now learning that getting angry every now and then and relieving stress by shouting a few swear words can actually help people cope with daily life in a more effective manner.

Of course there is always the problem of the social stigma of swearing but one can only be offended if they are aware that a swear word has been uttered. That’s where Russian MAT comes in. Like a covert operation, Yanchevskiy and his colleagues will infiltrate the English language and offer people the chance to curse to their hearts content with few people understanding what they are saying.

Yanchevskiy argues that Russian MAT is more effective at helping people cope with stress because of the way the Russian words are structured and how they sound. Forcefully pronouncing the Russian words correctly leads to the maximum stress relieve for those who say them.

Yanchevskiy is currently in the early stages of developing his book and is offering the average person the chance to take part in making the book a great success. He has teamed with Indiegogo.com to fund this project. The partnership with Indiegogo let’s Yanchevskiy enlist many different people in his subversive plot to infiltrate the English language and bring Russian MAT to the masses.

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Apr 11

Red Wings, photo courtesy albspotter.eu, http://albspotter.eu

China Watch Blog has leant that the Moscow-based airline grounded following the fatal crash of one of its aircraft last year has reportedly been sold for one ruble, the equivalent of less than a Swedish, Danish or Norwegian krona.

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev announced the sale of his carrier Red Wings to a group of unnamed investors on Twitter, according to a TTG Nordic report.

A Red Wings Tupolev crashed at Moscow’s third airport, Vnukovo, in December. No passengers were on board but five crew members were killed. Russian regulators suspended its operations earlier this year. It operated a fleet of eight TU-204 jets.

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Feb 11

China Watch Blog has learnt that under new taxation changes, foreigners in China will no longer enjoy exemptions from various investment taxes.

The State Council unveiled sweeping tax reform plans Tuesday to make the rich pay more and narrow the income gap between urban elites and the rural poor.

Included in the plans is a measure to cancel tax exemptions for foreign individuals who obtain dividends and bonuses from foreign-invested enterprises, according to a report in Caixin.

A tax rate of 20 percent currently applies to dividends and bonuses, according to China’s existing personal income tax law.

The Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation will begin making changes and modifications to relevant tax laws and regulations.

Chinese tax lawyer Liu Tianyong told Caixin that the abolition of tax benefits would be beneficial for anti-avoidance investigations and the fight against international tax avoidance.

“It was an outdated policy conceived during the period of planned economy. It should have been abolished a long time ago,” Liu said. “Tax breaks are especially unwise given that many foreign investors in China shift profits overseas. The new plan is more fair, as it ensures equal treatment of national and foreign investors.”

During its early period of economic reform and liberalization, China adopted tax incentives and special treatment to foreign enterprises and individuals to attract overseas investment. Since 2003, the government began to standardize taxation laws, especially in regard to foreign investors.

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Oct 24

China Watch Blog has learnt that real estate tycoon Wu Yajun tops the list of seven Chinese self-made women billionaires with personal assets of 38 billion yuan (US$6 billion), Hurun Report said yesterday.

Wu, 48, founder and chairman of Longfor Properties Co, holds her position as the world’s richest woman despite a 10 percent shrinking of assets from a year earlier amid China’s tight controls over the property market.

“The position of Chinese woman entrepreneurs in the world is like China’s table tennis team,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher.

“They are the absolute number 1.”

The number of self-made women billionaires, with personal assets over US$1 billion, declined to 22 from 28 last year. Their average personal wealth fell 6.8 percent from a year ago to US$22 billion as the global economy encountered a strong headwind.

Chen Lihua, chairman of Fu Wah International Group, was second on the list with 34 billion yuan in assets. She was followed by Spain’s Rosalia Mera, founder of Inditex and known for its Zara brand, with US$4.4 billion assets.

J.K. Rowling, writer of the best-seller series Harry Potter, ranked 16th on the list with nearly US$1.3 billion.

In terms of nationality, Chinese women entrepreneurs made up for half of the 22 self-made billionaires, followed by five from the United States and three from Britain.

The real estate market remained the most important incubator with about 30 percent on the list founders of property companies. Twenty percent of the 22 billionaires are from manufacturing industries while another 14 percent are apparel makers, the report said.

On China’s mainland, 13 percent women occupy the 2012 Hurun Rich List, which was down 2 percentage points from a year earlier. The proportion of rich women from the property sector fell to 22 percent from 24 percent last year.

Hurun and Forbes have ranked China’s beverage tycoon Zong Qinghou, 67, as the wealthiest individual on the mainland.

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