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Who Should Lead Global Economy?

In terms of global economic leadership, the twentieth century was American, just as the nineteenth century was British and the sixteenth century was Spanish. Some Chinese and Europeans think that they are next. Are they? And should they even want to be?
The most important prerequisite for global economic leadership is size. The bigger an economy, the greater its systemic importance, and the more leverage its political representatives have in international decision-making. The United States is the world’s largest economy, with a GDP of roughly $16.7 trillion. The eurozone’s $12.6 trillion output puts it in second place, and China, with a GDP of around $9 trillion, comes in third. In other words, all three economies are conceivably large enough to serve as global economic leaders.

But an economy’s future prospects are also crucial to its leadership prospects – and serious challenges lie ahead. No one thinks that the eurozone will grow more quickly than the US in the coming years or decades. While China is expected to overtake the US in terms of output by 2020, decades of rigid population-control measures will weaken growth in the longer run, leaving the US economy as the most dynamic of the three.

Another key requirement for global economic leadership is systemic importance in commercial, monetary, and financial terms. Unlike China, a large trade power with underdeveloped monetary and financial capabilities, the eurozone meets the requirement of systemic significance in all three areas.

There is also a less concrete aspect to leadership. Being a true global leader means shaping and connecting the global economic structures within which states and markets operate – something the US has been doing for almost 70 years.

At the 1944 Bretton Woods conference, the US crafted the post-World War II international monetary and financial order. The basic framework, centered around the US dollar, has survived financial crises, the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and several developing countries’ integration into the world economy.

Today, American leadership in global trade and financial and monetary governance rests on inter-related strengths. The US provides the world’s key international currency, serves as the linchpin of global demand, establishes trends in financial regulation, and has a central bank that acts as the world’s de facto lender of last resort.

Beyond delivering a global public good, supplying the world’s central currency carries substantial domestic benefits. Because the US can borrow and pay for imports in its own currency, it does not face a hard balance-of-payments constraint. This has allowed it to run large and sustained current-account deficits fairly consistently since the early 1980’s.

These deficits raise persistent concerns about the system’s viability, with observers (mostly outside the US) having long predicted its imminent demise. But the system survives, because it is based on a functional trade-off, in which the US uses other countries’ money to act as the main engine of global demand. In fact, export-oriented economies like Germany, Japan, and China owe much of their success to America’s capacity to absorb a massive share of global exports – and they need to keep paying America to play this role.

Given this, the big exporters have lately come under intense pressure to "correct” their external surpluses as part of responsible global citizenship. While this has contributed to a sharp contraction of the Chinese and Japanese surpluses, the eurozone’s current-account surplus is growing, with the International Monetary Fund expecting it to reach 2.3% of GDP this year (slightly less than the Chinese surplus).

A global economy led by a surplus country seems more logical, given that creditors usually dictate terms. At the time of the Bretton Woods conference, the US accounted for more than half of the world’s manufactured output. The rest of the world needed dollars that only the US could supply.

Chinese or European leadership would probably look more like the pre-World War I Pax Britannica (during which the United Kingdom supplied capital to the rest of the world in anticipation of its own relative economic decline), with the hegemon supplying funds on a long-term basis. But this scenario presupposes a deep and well-functioning financial system to intermediate the funds – something that China and the eurozone have been unable to achieve.

Despite the 2008 financial crisis, the US remains the undisputed leader in global finance. Indeed, American financial markets boast unparalleled depth, liquidity, and safety, making them magnets for global capital, especially in times of financial distress. This "pulling power,” central to US financial dominance, underpins the dollar’s global role, as investors in search of safe, liquid assets pour money into US Treasury securities.

The belief that a common currency and a common capital market would buttress financial institutions and deepen markets was a driving principle behind the eurozone’s formation. But, given the lack of a single debt instrument equivalent to a US Treasury bill, the crisis caused eurozone member states’ public-debt yields to diverge. Bank lending subsequently withdrew to national borders, and the idea of a European capital market disintegrated.
CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphLikewise, in China, the absence of currency convertibility – together with a weak financial supervisory framework, which reflects a broader problem related to poor implementation of the rule of law – is impairing the economy’s prospects for leadership.

Europeans and Chinese should question whether they really want to assume the risks associated with a position at the center of a large and complex global financial system. Control of the system is the chalice of global leadership; but, for economies that are not adequately prepared for it, what should be an elixir may turn out to be poison.

-- Harold James & Domenico Lombardi

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5 Transitions Great Leaders Make That Average Leaders Don't

The secret to leadership is there aren’t any real secrets. The best leaders have simply gone to school on improving their tradecraft. While the capabilities possessed by the best leaders might seem otherworldly to many, they are merely the outcome of hard work, experience, perspective, and yes, a bit of luck. The best leaders have just learned to make certain transitions that less effective leaders curiously remain blind to.

Some leaders hit their stride early in their career, others find their path later in life, and regrettably, far too many leaders never seem to get their footing. Great leaders discover pivot points and transitions that create a certain rhythm and balance, while average leaders tend to be somewhat tone deaf and awkward. We all recognize great leadership when we see it, but many fail to see what it is that actually makes the leader great. In my new book Hacking Leadership I outline several transitions great leaders make; following are 5 of these transitions great leaders make that average leaders do not.

Find Purpose – Purpose is the one thing all great leaders have in common. Great leaders have a clearly defined purpose, while average leaders just show up to work. Purpose fuels passion and work ethic. It is these characteristics that afford great leaders a competitive adva

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5 Trends to Affect Marketing in 2014

Marketing has gotten more complex. The tactics that worked even a few short years ago are now obsolete. It’s becoming clear that iterative sprints leveraging mobile, social and location-based approaches and powered by data and insights, are required in order to thrive. Agile marketing is now a common approach, and includes a healthy loop of building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving.

There are five trends that you need to be on the lookout for when creating your marketing plans in the coming year, a combination of focus on results and a set of new channels that can connect directly to the bottom line.

Interested in tips to get your social media marketing ready for 2014? Download the FREE e-book The Beginner’s Guide to Growth Hacking

Trend #1: The need to tie marketing to results

A new survey commissioned by Adobe of 1,000 US marketers shows that marketers are most concerned about reaching customers and being able to understand whether their campaigns are working and effective. They also overwhelmingly feel that companies won’t succeed unless they have a strong digital marketing approach.

Also noted was that Social Media Marketing is projected to be the most important area to marketers over the next three years, ranking significantly ahead of other areas like digital advertising (The question, as phrased, was "What do you think will be the most important to marketers in the next three years?”)

After years of hiding behind soft marketing metrics, it’s also increasingly clear that the "so what” matters, a lot. Three of the top four items that those surveyed are concerned about have to do with measurement and ROI. (The four top items were "reaching customers,” "understanding whether campaigns are working,” "proving campaign effectiveness” and "demonstrating marketing return on investment”).

The bottom line is that results matter.

Trend #2: The rise of social+video

Pew Research has published a new report on the state of online video, and it’s a eye-opener. From the report: "Over the past four years, the percent of American adult internet users who upload or post videos online has doubled from 14% in 2009 to 31% today. That includes 18% of adult internet users who post videos they have created or recorded themselves—many of whom hope their creations go viral. The share of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69% of internet users in 2009 to 78% today, and mobile phones have become a key part of the video viewing and creating experience.”

Key findings include:
  • 78% of adult internet users watch or download online videos, up from 69% in 2009
  • The percent of online adults using video-sharing sites has grown from 33% to the current figure of 72%
  • The percentage of adult internet users who post videos online is growing rapidly
Trend #3: Relentless analytics

As marketing moves to a more data-driven approach in 2014, it is essential to have analytics tools in place that allow measurement of the effectiveness of the tests and tactics you are deploying. Google Analytics in combination with Google Webmaster Tools is a good way to start. Additionally, there is a whole range of useful tools to perform A/B testing including Optimizely and Unbounce, funnel metric tracking like Mixpanel and KISSmetrics, and user feedback tools like Qualaroo and SurveyMonkey.

Two tools that belong in every toolkit are Google Analytics and Facebook Insights (and they’re free).

Google Analytics: Signing up is free and all you need to do is drop a few lines of code into all the pages you intend to track. Make sure to explore event tracking on buttons and links and creating "goals” that map paths through your website and their corresponding action (eg. sign-up or download).

Facebook Insights: Facebook has some good insights about your Facebook profile, demographics and usage via their Facebook Insights tool; also recommended is claiming your domain via "Insights for your Website.” This provides further data on actions where people have posted a link to your site, how often posts with a link to your site have been viewed and how many people have clicked through to your site from Facebook (aka referral traffic).
In addition to the tools noted above, many social sites including Twitter, App.net, Pinterest and others also allow you to claim your domain to receive more detailed analytics and insight on engagement and traffic generated through those platforms.

Trend #4: Content curation vs. content creation

Two of the biggest social media success stories of 2013 were BuzzFeed and Upworthy. In addition to both having breakout success this year, the other thing that these two sites have in common is a focus on content curation and presentation of that curated content, versus content creation. In both cases, finding the content that mattered to their audiences and sharing that content in a meaningful way trumped creating their own content from ground zero.

The great stuff is already out there in the long tail (and there will always be a larger number of great pieces of content outside the walls of your organization than created within them). As marketers in 2014, honing your workflow for content curation, packaging and sharing will be as significant, or even more significant, than content creation itself.

Trend #5: The increasing ramp of inbound marketing efforts

Inbound marketing is a highly effective way to generate awareness, convert customers and give advocates something to talk about. In a world where advertising is increasingly "tuned out,” the creation and sharing of media and publishing content is paramount to achieving business goals.

Inbound marketing focuses on online channels and their usage. By providing value in the form of information and making that information findable via search (SEO) as well as distributing it through social channels, prospective customers learn about the brand driven by their interests, rather than as a result of interruption marketing or outbound cold calls.

Between content curation and content creation efforts, inbound marketing efforts should be aligned with the channels that are most connected with your community. The mix of inbound marketing outreach activities varies by channel, but a good place to start is with a balanced approach along the lines of:
  • Blog posts : 1-3 times per week, with content useful to your customers
  • Social media distribution : Share content to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Medium, Reddit, Quora, StumbleUpon, Tumblr etc., based on which channels are most relevant to your prospects and customers
  • Other blogs : Participate in conversations relevant to your brand and industry without being spammy
  • Email newsletters : Twice a month, not too long, ONE call-to-action
  • Guest posts : Write them first then offer to others
  • Ebooks : Visually appealing, on-topic, with designated landing page for lead generation
  • Videos:  Short video (less than two minutes) almost always wins
  • Others: Infographics, how-to guides, case studies, whitepapers
-- Christopher Carfi, Social Media Today 

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11 New Year's Career Resolutions

Many of you will resolve to do a whole host of things in 2014. Some will vow to eat healthier, lose weight or save money—while others will pledge to land a new job, get a promotion or earn more money.
"Many people go into a New Year with resolutions or goals for their career for the next 12 months,” says Shawnice Meador, director of career management and leadership development at MBA@UNC. "The holidays are a great time to reflect and begin implementing your resolution plan.”

Andy Teach, a corporate veteran and author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time, agrees. "I do believe that it’s fairly common for most people to have career-related New Year’s resolutions because work is such an important part of our daily lives,” he says. "Therefore, it’s in our best interest to try to become better at what we do for a living.”

The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t worked for us, and to think about what we want to do differently next year, he says.

"New Year’s resolutions tend to be reactions to things we want to change in our lives,” adds Dr. Karie Willyerd, vice president of learning and social adoption at SuccessFactors. "I have a good friend who only makes resolutions she knows she will keep, so they tend to be positive and something she really wants to do. The same could be said of career-related resolutions: some can be in reaction to things you want to change, but you should also consider some aspirational, desirable resolutions.”

Creating an actual plan will help you stick with your career-related goals for the year, Meador says. "Some resolutions are inward-focused, such as improving a mindset or stopping a bad habit, and sometimes career-related resolutions are outward-focused, such as expanding your professional network or getting your name ‘in the mix’ for a lateral move to another department.”

To increase your probability of sticking to your resolutions, prioritize your list and don’t sign up for too much all at once, she says.

Here are 11 of the most popular career-related resolutions, along with tips for sticking to each of them.

1. Get a raise or promotion."Talk to your manager now to really understand what it will take and what the timeline is for receiving a raise or promotion,” says Lindsey Pollak, a career expert and author of Getting from College to Career. "When you have specific, tangible, measurable goals they are much more realistic to achieve.”

Before you pursue this one, you’ll want to consider your request from the company’s viewpoint, Willyerd adds. "What are you doing or what do you offer that is addressing a big issue or need for the company? Promotions and raises have two parts: what you bring and what the company needs. No matter how fabulous your skills are, if the company doesn’t need them, it can’t justify a promotion or pay raise.”

The best way of proving that you offer what the company needs is to come up with a list of your daily responsibilities, the major projects you’ve worked on, projects you’ve worked on that you weren’t asked to do, recommendations or endorsements from others inside or outside the company, future responsibilities, examples of how you’ve made your boss’s job easier, and, if possible, quantify your accomplishments, Teach says. "Don’t mention that you work hard (so does everyone else) or that you’ve been with the company for a long time. Longevity doesn’t necessarily count, but results do.”

Once you have a compelling story about the value you bring to the organization, get a good friend to rehearse your request, Willyerd says. "Listen to their feedback and practice again. This is one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have and you should be highly prepared to have it.”

2. Reduce stress. Ask yourself if the stress is coming from outside sources (your supervisor, colleagues, etc.) or if it’s self-induced. Perhaps you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, Teach says. If so, step back and start with the simple things like sleeping and exercising more. "Don’t place the weight of the world on yourself,” he says. "You can’t do everything so don’t try to.”

One excellent way to reduce stress is to gain better control by managing up, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job. "Most bosses barely have time to get their job done, save overseeing yours. In the process, hasty decisions can be made; not enough time may be spent upfront on a project; your wishes may not be heard; there may be misalignment with what you can achieve and when, and so on.” So here is your opportunity in 2014 to take your boss by the proverbial hands and set meetings, goals, and your agenda. "If you are reactive, don’t be surprised if you also are more stressed out, juggling more than you can handle. But if you present logical to-do lists and provide leadership, you will thrive.”

Pollak says this resolution is different for everyone because we all have different stress triggers and favorite ways of relaxing. "Know what works for you,” she says. "Maybe it’s walking around the block, calling a friend, playing online for five minutes, or breathing deeply. Do your best to fit that de-stressor into your day on a regular basis.”

3. Be more organized. "Getting a head start on organization coming into the New Year is wonderful, however maintaining it is a little more difficult,” Meador says. "Don’t overwhelm yourself into a whole new way of doing everything. Rather, focus your efforts on one or two key areas where you want to be more organized and maintain them throughout the entire year.”

There are two key areas that are very important to keep organized in all jobs: your calendar and your desktop, she says. Once you determine a system that works for you to manage your time effectively, the more you will be able to accomplish at work, and, in turn, the better you will be at your job. "If you use an online calendar system, consider color-coding various tasks to track how you are spending your time, actively using the task management function as your checklist (instead of thousands of post-it notes), and utilizing the meeting tracking function to stay on top of the agendas and attendees.”

Your desktop is a direct reflection on how you manage your job, and management and executives do pay attention to this, Meador says. "Your office or desk is the first impression for anyone that is working with you to see how you manage your workload and how you take pride in your professional presence.”

Keeping a clean and organized workspace can also help reduce stress. "It’s obviously much easier and less stressful when you can easily find important projects and papers on your desk,” Teach says. If not, this could hurt your work efficiency and productivity.

4. Quit your job/get a new job. Consider this one if you feel stuck, you hate your boss or your company, or there’s no opportunity for growth and you have skills that match needs in the marketplace, Willyerd says. "Take matters into your own hands and look for a place or a role where there’s buzz and excitement.”

If you’re simply unhappy with your position or responsibilities—seriously consider a new role within your current company, Meador says. "Instead of looking for a way out this year, it may be worthwhile to focus your efforts to creating a plan to stay. An internal move is usually an easier and quicker way to achieve your career progression goals. You have an advantage at your current company because you are a known entity.”

Whether you stick with your employer or pursue a job elsewhere, you need to take the time to figure out exactly what you want in a new job–and then ensure that your personal brand is accurately and professionally reflected in three key mediums: your online presence (your LinkedIn profile or Google search links), your on-paper presence (your résumé and cover letter), and your in-person presence (your elevator speech), Meador says.

"There are many people who don’t like what they’re doing for a living and are ready for a change,” Teach adds. "They see the new year as a great starting point to look for a new job. The one thing I would recommend is to only quit your current job if you have a new one lined up, especially in this economy. You have a lot more leverage that way.”

If you’re unhappy with your current role but unable to find a new job—consider modifying your job description within the same company and do more of what you enjoy, Taylor says. "The company has invested in you and a slight shift in your role and responsibilities may be viewed as a win-win. In this scenario, the squeaky wheel may get the grease; don’t overlook the possibilities.”

5. Improve your work-life balance. "Get clear on what your boundaries are, and stick to those boundaries so your colleagues start to know how best to work with you,” Pollak says.

Part of this might be working more or fewer hours.

If you work late every night, vow to leave the office earlier. "Many people work long hours every day and it really infringes on their personal life,” Teach says. "They want to leave earlier each day but aren’t sure how to go about doing it.” One solution is to come in earlier. If you can get things done first thing in the morning, perhaps it will allow you to leave earlier each day.

Another solution is to delegate more. "If you’re a supervisor, try giving your employees more work so that you will have less,” Teach says. "You can also try to prioritize better. Don’t try to please everyone because then you’ll end up pleasing no one. Work on the most important projects and realize that you can’t finish everything in one day. There’s always tomorrow.”

6. Network more effectively. You might want to tweak your approach to networking. "As you embark on professional networking, you need to drop the ‘me’ perspective and go into your interactions with other professionals with a partnership perspective,” Meador says. Remember that both of you are there to share, learn and help each other out professionally. "You and others will get more out of this type of ‘give and take’ relationship than the single-sided approach.”

Once you’ve got that down—try to become more active on LinkedIn or other professional social networks, Pollak says. "Schedule 10 to 15 minutes three times a week (or whatever consistent schedule works for you) to set up a great profile, connect with colleagues and former colleagues and surf around LinkedIn to see where you can add value and what features of the site will be most helpful for you.”

If you are more of a face-to-face networker, stay involved with your college alumni networks and your regional professional associations, Meador says. And make an effort to attend more networking events, Pollak adds.

Start with a realistic goal, like attending one networking event per month. "It’s also a good idea to have an accountability partner–someone with a similar goal who will encourage you to stick to your plans and not bail at the last minute,” she says. Also, try to find events that really appeal to you, with great speakers or at fun venues, so you are more likely to attend and enjoy yourself.

7. Improve your relationship with the boss/co-workers. If there’s one relationship that you should constantly be focused on, it’s your relationship with your boss, Teach says. "They control your destiny so it behooves you to develop a really strong professional relationship with them and to work at improving that relationship.” How do you accomplish this? It all comes down to communication. Stay in touch with your boss throughout the day by letting them know about your progress on important projects. Let them know that you’re there to help them in any way possible. Ask them how you can be better at your job and what their expectations are. Anticipate your boss’s needs and by focusing on them, you should be able to improve your relationship with your boss, he says.

Cooperation with your co-workers is also critical. "We all want to have a department of supporters who will have our backs and we have theirs,” Teach explains. "It’s not always possible to get along with everyone in your department. Sometimes there’s friction between co-workers and it may be our fault, it may be theirs. Again, it comes down to communication.”

Make an effort to get to know your co-workers better and offer your help when they need it. Keep in mind that it’s in your best interest when the entire team looks good, not just you.

8. Develop your communication skills. It might be difficult to improve your professional relationships if you’re a poor communicator. If that’s the case, you might resolve to enhance those skills in 2014.

"Being a better communicator is a great career-related New Year’s resolution,” Taylor says. "Consider taking local adult education classes for presentation or communication skills. If you think your business writing could use a refresher course, consider an online college or adult education class. You can also pick up a book and learn the ropes if you’re self-motivated,” she adds. Strong communications skills is often what separates great employees from good ones.

9. Get a degree. "One study I read said that one of the biggest regrets people have late in life is not finishing a degree,” Willyerd says. "I’m amazed at the number of people who go back to school late in life and find they are highly successful, motivated students—which is often quite the contrast to their first school experience.”

There are endless options for online or flexible degree programs for those who want to go back to school later in life—so whether you want to earn an undergraduate degree or a Ph.D.–you should get the wheels in motion in 2014 by researching programs and setting a date by which you want to complete the program. "I decided I wanted to get a doctorate by the time I was 50, and I was in the middle of the age spectrum of my fellow program participants,” Willyerd says. "It’s simply never too late.”

10. Be better with e-mail and voicemail. Many workers vow to return phone calls and e-mails faster, Teach says. "One quick way to hurt your work reputation is to not return phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner. If you don’t, you will have a lot of unhappy campers on your hands.”

When you return from a meeting or lunch, and you have a list of people who called or e-mailed you, make an effort to get back to them promptly, in the same day if possible, depending on your workload and what their request is, Teach says. It’s critical to prioritize by their deadline, importance of the project, and title of the person making the request.

Another way to expedite this process is to clear out your inboxes often.

"The only difference between physically cleaning your desk and cleaning out your e-mails and voicemails is that you can delete messages with the touch of a button,” Teach says. Once you listen to the message or read the e-mail and take note of the important information—delete it (unless you need the message for your records).

"It feels much better when our e-mail or voicemail backlog is manageable.”

11. Have a better attitude. A positive attitude can bring you great career success in 2014. "The resolutions I hear all the time, like make more money, get a promotion, do work I love, be a better networker, are more likely to happen if you have a more positive attitude,” Pollak says. "People want to do business with people who are proactive, positive and enthusiastic, so a good attitude will likely attract more people and opportunities your way.” If you want to be more optimistic this year, you’ll need to take good care of yourself; spend more time with family and friends–or doing the things that make you most happy; learn to appreciate what you have (both in your personal and professional lives); and smile more.

Unfortunately, most people fail to follow through on New Year’s resolutions, Willyerd says.

"Once Jan. 2nd hits we’re usually thrown right back into the grind and get caught up in our day-to-day tasks and short-term goals,” Meador adds.

Pollak believes most people give up their resolutions by February, "after the momentum of the New Year has worn off.”

But if you really want to stick to any goal, the best thing to do is get clear on the outcomes you want and what it takes to achieve them, set actions in your calendar so you really make time for your goals, and have accountability partners to keep you on track, Pollak says.

"If you make a list of 10 things to do in the new year regarding your career, perhaps just focus on two or three of the most important ones. Once you accomplish one of these, pat yourself on the back and move on to the next one,” Teach adds.

Meador agrees. She says it is important to prioritize your resolutions, and consider only tackling a few in the first few months. Then, assess your progress regularly, and determine if you need to continue to focus on just a few goals, or if you are ready to add a few more to your actionable to-do list.

Another trick for staying on track is to send yourself some predated e-mail messages, Willyerd says. Write a half dozen e-mail messages to yourself, dated every other month. A few times a year you’ll get a reminder from your motivated self to get back in touch with important goals in your life.

"As the year wears on, the excitement of a new plan can wear out–unless you stay vigilant in your purpose,” Taylor concludes.

-- Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes

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