Friday, August 15, 2008

South Korea's mysterious Leadership strategy

A few months ago I was asked to speak at the European Regional Economic Forum (EREF) in Slovenia on the topic of Education and the Lisbon Agenda. When preparing for the speech I was surprised to see how many times South Korea came up in all sorts of education rankings. Most recently, in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment South Korea came first in Reading and Problem Solving. When it comes to financing universities in % of GDP, South Korea scored 2,3 % in 2004 (2,03 % going to education and 0,27 % going to research). This was second after the US!!! (US scored 2,9%: 2,03 % for education and 0,87 % for research). Belgium scored a mediocre 1,2 % (0,8% for education and 0,4% for research).

Today South Korea is third in the ranking of the Olympic medals! This could change over the next couple of days, but fact is, after nearly a week of Olympics, South Korea scores a surprising third place after China and the US.

What is the secret here? What is going on in South Korea that brings this country to top positions in education and sport ? Is the answer hidden in the question ? Is their dominance in education also responsible for their dominance in sports ?

A centralized administration in South Korea oversees the process for the education of children from kindergarten to third grade high school. Mathematics, science, Korean, social studies, and English are generally considered to be the most important subjects and are considered compulsory. South Korea was the first country in the world to provide high-speed internet access to every primary, junior, and high school. South Korea's national IQ is estimated at 106, the second highest in the world after Hong Kong. Education in South Korea is regarded crucial to success and competition is consequently very heated and fierce.

If you have more answers, do not hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

The Law of the Lid - Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness
The Law of Influence - The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence– Nothing More, Nothing Less
The Law of Process - Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day
The Law of Navigation - Anyone Can Steer the Ship, But It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course
The Law of E.F. Hutton - When the Real Leader Speaks, People Listen
The Law of Solid Ground - Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership
The Law of Respect - People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Then Themselves
The Law of Intuition - Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias
The Law of Magnetism - Who You Are Is Who You Attract
The Law of Connection - Leaders Touch a Heart Before They Ask for a Hand
The Law of the Inner Circle - A Leader’s Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him
The Law of Empowerment - Only Secure Leaders Give Powers to Others
The Law of Reproduction - It Takes a Leader to Raise Up a Leader
The Law of Buy-In - People Buy Into the Leader, Then the Vision
The Law of Victory - Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win
The Law of the Big MO - Momentum Is a Leader’s Best Friend
The Law of Priorities - Leaders Understand That Activity Is Not Necessarily Accomplishment
The Law of Sacrifice - A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
The Law of Timing - When to Lead Is As Important As What to Do and Where to Go
The Law of Explosive Growth - To Add Growth, Lead Followers–To Multiply, Lead Leaders
The Law of Legacy - A Leader’s Lasting Value Is Measured by Succession

Laws from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (John C Maxwell)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bob Parsons 16 Rules for Success in Business and Life in General

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.
I believe that not much happens of any significance when we're in our comfort zone. I hear people say, "But I'm concerned about security." My response to that is simple: "Security is for cadavers."

2. Never give up.
Almost nothing works the first time it's attempted. Just because what you're doing does not seem to be working, doesn't mean it won't work. It just means that it might not work the way you're doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn't have an opportunity.

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think.
There's an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: "The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed."

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be.
Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of "undefined consequences." My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, "Well, Robert, if it doesn't work, they can't eat you."

5. Focus on what you want to have happen.
Remember that old saying, "As you think, so shall you be."

6. Take things a day at a time.
No matter how difficult your situation is, you can get through it if you don't look too far into the future, and focus on the present moment. You can get through anything one day at a time.

7. Always be moving forward.
Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Make it your goal to be better each and every day, in some small way. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.

8. Be quick to decide.
Remember what General George S. Patton said: "A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

9. Measure everything of significance.
I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.
If you want to uncover problems you don't know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven't examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.

11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you’re doing.
When you look at your competitors, remember that everything looks perfect at a distance. Even the planet Earth, if you get far enough into space, looks like a peaceful place.

12. Never let anybody push you around.
In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you're doing as anyone else, provided that what you're doing is legal.

13. Never expect life to be fair.
Life isn't fair. You make your own breaks. You'll be doing good if the only meaning fair has to you, is something that you pay when you get on a bus (i.e., fare).

14. Solve your own problems.
You'll find that by coming up with your own solutions, you'll develop a competitive edge. Masura Ibuka, the co-founder of SONY, said it best: "You never succeed in technology, business, or anything by following the others." There's also an old Asian saying that I remind myself of frequently. It goes like this: "A wise man keeps his own counsel."

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.

16. There’s always a reason to smile.
Find it. After all, you're really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”

Copyright © 2005-2007 Bob Parsons. All rights reserved.

Bob Parsons is the CEO and Founder of The Go Daddy Group, Inc.
Go Daddy was named the fastest-growing privately held technology company (ranked # 8 overall) on the Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in 2004. See for more details:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Marketing, Advertising and the Art of Collecting Contacts for WSJE in the Provence, France

My former boss at The Wall Street Journal Europe, Rick Zednik, gave me a WSJE windshield sun shade, before he moved on to a new company. I never knew we had these kind of gadgets. Since my family says I live a life without a separation between private and work time, I decided to try the WSJE sun shade on my holiday in the South of France, in an effort to teach my kids about marketing, advertising and the art of collecting contacts.

This is after I had to explain to my kids that my company car, a Fiat Multipla, plays the role of a running joke at The Wall Street Journal Europe, because it doesn't fit the Audi, VW, BMW category of company cars of my peers.

Sault, market, 30 contacts per hour for 4 hours: 120 contacts

Rousillion, lower parking, 50 contacts per hour x 3 hours: 150 contacts

Our garden, Mont Ventoux in the background, 13 contacts per hour for 1 hour: 13 contacts

Crosspoint Simiane La Rotonde, Revest du Bion, 40 contacts per hour, for 15 minutes: 10 contacts

Road to Simiane La Rotonde: 20 contacts per hour for 30 minutes: 10 contacts (but of high quality because they all thought we were picking lavander)

Simiane La Rotonde, Center, 60 contacts per hour for 1 hour: 60 contacts
Beautiful little town, please do visit.

St Christol d'Albion, sheep market, 100 contacts per hour for 2 hours: 200 contacts.
We bought 'cheese, honey and escargots'.

Apt, city parking nr 2, parked in the wrong direction to generate a lot of contacts, 15 contacts per hour for 2 hours: 30 contacts

Total: 593 contacts
From these 593 contacts at least one third was from foreigners (non-french speaking people)(let's say 200), the rest was native (ca 393).
Then I realised, by joining my family when shopping in the local supermarkets and magazine stores, that our product was no where to be found in the greater area of the Vaucluse. That is a very hard one to explain to kids.