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Every Gadget and App Should Have a Dark Mode

The first thing I do in the morning is check my phone. I grab my phone off its charger, silence the alarm, press the power button—and instantly recoil as the screen’s hideously bright light turns my retinas to ash.

Our phones are bright and colorful by design, as they hope to lure us in all day, every day. But I’ve found a way to fight back that’s easier on my rods and cones, and lighter on my batteries. It might even help me use my phone a bit less.

Source: US Business

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To Be Your Most Productive Self, You Need to Set the Right Goals

Understanding how and when you work your best allows you to tap into a higher gear.

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Few things feel as good as a truly productive day. You start off knowing what you want to accomplish. You focus on and finish each task in succession without racing through. You go home with almost everything crossed off your list — and a clear plan of how your tomorrow will look. 

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, though, those days are far less frequent than you’d like. Many business owners begin the week with good intentions, then fall into a pattern of slipping behind. Soon, they’re ending every day feeling even more overwhelmed than the last. The outcome generally involves too much stress on the individual and unnecessary strain on the business, too.

Related: How to Evolve Into the Person You Want to Become

My career as a tech founder followed my experience in the science field and on Wall Street. I’ve seen a lot of different working styles and even more productivity traps. But nearly all the pitfalls stem from one cause: People ignore how they work best.

Develop self-awareness in your work.

Productivity doesn’t look the same for everyone. Did you notice how this article’s overview of a productive day didn’t define a set framework? Self awareness is the key when it comes to actually getting stuff done. Develop that, and you can use it to create a blueprint to structure your day. 

To cultivate this kind of self awareness, start by taking a hard look at the behavior patterns that motivate you as well as the ones holding you back. Are you really good at digging into deep work in the afternoon? Or are you all about checking off small items as soon as you get in? Knowing when you naturally tackle different types of projects will enable you to prioritize tasks and plan your day in a way that drives you to produce your best work.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game So You Win

This is a far better tactic than simply wishing you could be the type of person who thinks creatively first thing in the morning. Look not only at the when, but the how behind your work. Do you need to put all notifications on do not disturb? Do you have set times when you need to take breaks? As an entrepreneur, you aren’t going to have the same built-in structure that might otherwise plan your day. It’s up to you to identify the right structures, put them into place and communicate them to others.

Here’s one trick I learned from Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase: At the end of every day, I review two lists. One list describes what I owe to people. The other describes what others owe me. It holds me accountable to team members, partners and clients — and vice versa. I also keep a Trello board of tasks segmented by urgency and category. It can be easy to get caught up in responding to all the phone messages, emails and project updates, so I make it a point to block out at least two hours of deep work time every day. I invest that time in activities that drive the business forward. 

Set the right goals.

The next step in turning productivity into a sustainable habit is to set daily goals that take advantage of how you work best. (Don’t worry; this isn’t another article touting SMART goal-setting.) When you’re planning what you need to get done, consider just these three things: Aim for a target you can hit, create a timeline, and build in accountability checks.

1. Aim for a target you can hit. It’s extremely counterproductive (and damaging) to set unrealistic expectations and then fail to attain them, day after day. For years, I went through the same motions: I’d make my to-do lists too long and ambitious for a single day. Rather than tackling what I could accomplish, I ended up spending valuable time stressing about all the things I never got around to doing. I broke the cycle only when I focused on what was realistic and put my efficiency first.

2. Create a timeline. Even an achievable list can seem daunting when it contains so many possible start points. Eliminate the decision paralysis: Schedule beforehand when you’ll tackle each task. Use your newfound self-knowledge to identify which times of day you’re most effective. Plot breaks as needed and communicate your plan to your team. Going into deep work in the morning? Let your staff members know and turn off those Slack notifications. Making yourself available when you’re at your best is better for everyone anyway.

Related: You Can Stop Procrastinating Right Now

3. Build in accountability checks. Check in with yourself throughout the day to take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Be ruthlessly honest. This check-in process also should take place at the end of every month and quarter to measure your longer-term goals, both personal and professional. You need to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

Even the most disciplined entrepreneur can benefit from an occasional external gut-check. Think about colleagues and peers you confide in, and how well they know your goals and challenges. They can be be a source of “real talk” when you need it. For larger goals, it can be particularly helpful to find an accountability partner who is separate from your business. This might be a friend, a coach, a sibling, a partner or even a parent who can help hold you to the goals you set.

Related: An Accountability Partner Makes You Vastly More Likely to Succeed

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Isa Watson

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Toyota, Paccar team up on clean hydrogen tech that Elon Musk and others dismiss as ‘fool cells’

The twin ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach are cited by environmental authorities as some of the worst sources for the region’s endemic air pollution, a problem regulators aim to address with a planned phase-out of the 16,000 smoke-spewing diesel trucks that service the shipping centers.

Paccar, one of the world’s largest heavy-duty truck manufacturers, is teaming with Toyota to test one promising alternative.

At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the partners unveiled the first of 10 prototype trucks that will rely on hydrogen fuel cells. That puts the partners in competition with players like Tesla that are focusing on battery-powered semis.

“We believe that carrying energy in the form of hydrogen for heavy-duty Class 8 trucks makes more sense than carrying it in batteries” because the trucks can be refilled faster and offer longer range, said Brian Lindgren, director of research and development for Paccar subsidiary Kenworth.

While hydrogen could be used as a direct replacement for fossil fuels in internal combustion engines, most efforts focus on using it to power fuel cells. That technology — which was conceived back in the 1850s — forces hydrogen gas through a catalyst-coated membrane where it bonds with oxygen from the air. The process creates water vapor and a stream of electrons that can power the same electric motors that are found in a battery-electric vehicle. That’s why some experts refer to fuel cells as “refillable batteries.”

In passenger cars such as the Toyota Mirai or Honda Clarity FCV it takes about five minutes to refuel a hydrogen tank with a range of around 300 miles, far less than required to recharge a battery. Though refilling a Class 8 truck’s hydrogen tank will take longer, it still would be substantially less than the time needed to charge the batteries needed for a similar semi.

Fuel-cell technology is nearly as quiet as the drivetrain in battery-electric vehicles, Lindgren noted — so quiet, in fact, that reporters attending a CES news conference were surprised to learn the truck behind the Paccar engineer had been idling the whole time.

“Drivers like these trucks because they are peppy and quiet,” Lindgren said.

The fuel-cell system that will be used in the prototypes will be supplied by Toyota and is an updated version of an original test vehicle that operated at the ports this past year. The new trucks will actually pair two stacks producing about 228 kilowatts, or 306 horsepower. That understates the power the technology delivers because the electric motors that drive the wheels produce tremendous amounts of torque — though Paccar and Toyota officials didn’t have the final torque numbers available.

Improving performance and easing the job of a fuel-cell truck’s driver, the Paccar/Toyota technology will require only a four-speed transmission, rather than the 18-gear transmissions in the typical Class 8 truck.

In production, meanwhile, Andy Lund, the Toyota chief engineer on the project, said the trucks would have the same payload capacity as a diesel rig.

From a fuel economy perspective, Lindgren said the prototype trucks will be roughly equivalent to a current diesel, or around 5 to 7 mpg. But Lund stressed that the vehicles will produce nothing but water vapor in terms of exhaust.

The new project will provide answers as to whether fuel-cell technology can serve as a viable replacement for the conventional diesel trucks that now ply the ports, hauling goods from ship to shipping depots, Lund added.

Paccar and Toyota aren’t the only ones looking at fuel cells for the trucking industry. Salt Lake City-based Nikola Motor is developing several of its own hydrogen-powered heavy-duty rigs, including the Class 8 Nikola One it hopes to start building later this year. It claims to have received about 8,000 advance orders worth more than $6 billion.

Not everyone is convinced hydrogen power will prove viable, however. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fond of calling the technology “fool cells,” and he isn’t the only critic. Skeptics note that there is no ready source of hydrogen and no distribution network as there is for either electricity or diesel fuel.

They also point out that hydrogen must be produced either by cracking water into its component elements — two parts hydrogen, one part water — or by refining fossil fuels ranging from coal to petroleum to natural gas. Those approaches can be energy intensive or result in CO2 emissions.Tesla is one of several companies that are focusing on battery-powered Class 8 trucks. Musk previewed a running version of the Tesla Semi in November 2017.

Which technology will win is far from certain, but California air quality regulators want to see all diesel trucks used at the Los Angeles-area ports permanently sidelined by 2035 and replaced by zero-emission vehicles.

Source: Business News

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Investors betting against Tesla’s stock have had 7 really good days. Here’s what’s behind them

Tesla’s 13 percent stock slump on Friday was the biggest of the new year, and the seventh-steepest since the company’s public market debut in 2010. The decline followed an announcement by CEO Elon Musk that Tesla is slashing 7 percent of its full-time jobs as it ramps up production of Model 3 sedans.

But it’s always been a volatile story. The company’s economics are very challenging, production delays are routine and there’s no telling what Musk will say or do at any given time. That uncertainty has made the stock a big attraction for short-sellers, who profit when it falls.

Tesla’s biggest one-day declines in its nine years as a public company have been tied to all of those issues. Here’s what caused the most dramatic drops.

More than six weeks after Musk tweeted “funding secured,” in reference to his efforts to take the company private at $420 a share, the SEC sued the Tesla CEO for issuing “false and misleading” statements and for failing to properly notify regulators of material company events. Musk called the SEC’s allegations “unjustified” and said he “never compromised” his integrity.

The suit was filed after the market closed on Sept. 27, and the stock tumbled 14 percent the next day to $264.77. However, the shares more than recouped their gains on the following trading day, Oct. 1, climbing 17 percent after Musk settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay a civil penalty of $20 million and give up his role as board chairman for at least three years. The SEC also fined Tesla $20 million and said the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board.

When Goldman Sachs talks, investors listen.

Goldman analyst Patrick Archambault, who covers Tesla, put out a report with a price target on the stock of $84, a 34 percent discount to the prior day close of $127.26. Archambault had come up with three scenarios for the company, based on how many cars it would sell, market share and operating margin. The bull case for the stock had the company reaching 3.5 percent global market share in two categories and 15.2 percent operating margin, but even so the stock would only be worth $113 a share.

More than five years later, Tesla’s operating margin is just a little over 6 percent, but the stock has soared nonetheless. And investors quickly found a buying opportunity after the sell-off from the Goldman report, pushing the stock up 10 percent the next day.

It appeared to be a solid earnings report, with revenue coming in ahead of estimates and the company actually showing some profit.

But investor expectations were sky-high, as the stock had doubled in just a matter of months. So the optimistic report wasn’t good enough and the shares plunged when the market opened. They dropped another 7.5 percent the next day.

It had been 180 days since the IPO, meaning insiders had the option to sell. Venture-backed companies often take a dive when the lock-up period expires and big investors start seeking liquidity.

The sell-off started in anticipation a day earlier, with a 7.8 percent decline in the shares.

Tesla had a successful market debut on June 29, as the stock jumped 41 percent to close at $23.89. But the honeymoon didn’t last long.

The shares dropped each of the next five trading days, tumbling below the $17 IPO price on July 6 as investors worried about the company’s mounting losses. In the first quarter of 2010, Tesla’s net loss of $29.4 million exceeded revenue of $20.8 million.

Tesla’s biggest one-day drop came on a day that the company announced two key departures, just as it was gearing up to start selling the Model S.

Peter Rawlinson, vice president and chief engineer, stepped away “to tend to personal matters in the U.K.,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. It was also revealed that day that Nick Sampson, who was director of vehicle and chassis engineering, had recently left the company.

Investors weren’t ultimately too concerned. The stock rallied 17 percent the next trading day, its fifth-best day ever.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Source: Business News

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Lenders promise savings on student loans, but here’s why the reality is different than advertised

Student loan refinancing companies say they offer borrowers a way to save thousands of dollars on their debt, by allowing them to pay off their loans at a lower interest rate, in less time.

a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, SoFi agreed to stop its misrepresentations.

SoFi spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca said the company has always been committed to giving its current and prospective members clear and complete information, in a statement to CNBC.

SoFi is not the only student loan refinancing company the government is monitoring, according to records obtained by CNBC though a Freedom of Information Act Request.

The Federal Trade Commission recently sent “final warning” letters to other companies that offer big savings to student borrowers, CNBC has learned. Those lenders are CommonBond, Credible, LendKey and Splash Financial.

“We strongly recommend that you review your own company’s advertising claims to make sure you are not making false or unsubstantiated representations,” the FTC wrote to these companies in October.

The average graduate leaves school with $30,000 in debt, up from $10,000 in the early 1990s. The country’s outstanding student loan balance is projected to swell to $2 trillion by 2022.

CommonBond previously advertised average savings of $24,000 on its website, however that figure was removed after a CNBC reporter asked the company’s CEO David Klein how the lender arrived at it.

“You’ve caught a bug,” Klein said. “We don’t communicate average savings information. We believe every borrower is different.”

Credible, a marketplace for lenders, also removed its advertised average savings rate, which was over $18,000, the same day a CNBC reporter inquired about it.

Stephen Dash, CEO of Credible, said the company decided to keep its advertisements more general in the wake of the FTC settlement. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Dash said.

LendKey’s advertisements also made dramatic claims. In one, the company said people could reduce their monthly payments as much as 40 percent.

An online ad for LendKey, which the company says it is trying to remove.

Lewis Goldman, the chief marketing officer at at LendKey, said they were working to take such old ads off the internet. “We don’t make claims any more about absolute savings,” Goldman said.

The CEO of Splash Financial, Steven Muszynski, said its advertised savings rate of $29,340 is “very sporadically used.”

“We also are clear wherever it is used that this savings example is not showing the average savings of customers but is rather a hypothetical example,” Muszynski said. (It assumes a borrower’s interest rate is nearly halved).

“All are pretty aggressive in their marketing,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of

The key takeaway, he said, was that “you should be skeptical about the average savings figures.”

Before you refinance your student debt, use a loan calculator (Kantrowitz has one on his website) to compare the monthly payments and total bill of your current loan against a potentially new one.

“Keep in mind,” Kantrowitz added, “a longer repayment term leads to lower monthly payments, but also more interest paid over the life of the loan.”

Once a person refinances their federal student loans, they give up certain options.

For example, the U.S. Department of Education allows some borrowers to make reduced monthly payments if their income is low and others can postpone their bills without interest accruing if they prove economic hardship. The government also offers loan forgiveness programs for teachers and public servants.

Private lenders typically only allow for limited breaks from your payments, during which interest builds.

As a result, Betsy Mayotte, the president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, said she can count on one hand the number of borrowers for whom she thought refinancing their federal loans into private ones was a good idea.

“Private student loan refinancing can generate a lower interest rate than federal student loan rates,” Mayotte said, “but your rate doesn’t matter if you lose your job, have sudden medical expenses, can’t afford your payments and find that defaulting is your only option.”

More from Personal Finance:
Not managing debt can turn retirement dreams into a nightmare
Holiday spending could take up to 5 years to pay off: Report
Here are two strategies to turn your 2019 savings goals into reality

Source: Business News

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The Public Face of Huawei’s Global Fight

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, arrives at a parole office with a security guard in Vancouver, Dec. 12, 2018.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, arrives at a parole office with a security guard in Vancouver, Dec. 12, 2018.


Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP

For more than a decade, working her way through at least seven passports, she crisscrossed the globe, helping to transform China’s Huawei Technologies Co. into the world’s biggest telecom equipment company—while working to reassure investors, bankers and governments that Huawei can be trusted.

But when she landed in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s finance chief and the daughter of the company’s reclusive founder, became the public face of a bitter battle unfolding across multiple continents.

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Remembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great Strategists

Executive Summary

Within a two-week period, America lost two great business icons, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle. To me, they exemplify the true strategist in action. This is despite Kelleher’s seeming dismissal of strategy.  Perhaps his most famous quote, in response to a question about Southwest strategy, was: “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” And Bogle really only talked about his recommended strategy of how his customers should invest their savings: Buy and hold for the long term. With respect to Vanguard itself, he talked more about its philosophy than its strategy per se. But the heart of true strategy is not about plans or proclamations or vision statements, it is about making the few key choices that enable you to serve customers in a distinctive and valuable fashion. These two business giants were all about choices and when they made them, they chose distinctively. It would also be nice to see others follow their attitudes toward gaining personal wealth from their customer-focused enterprise.

Credits from left to right: Taylor Hill/Getty Images, William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Within a two-week period, America lost two great business icons, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher (March 12, 1931 – January 3, 2019) and Vanguard founder Jack Bogle (May 8, 1929 – January 16, 2019). I never met Kelleher but admired his work from afar. Jack Bogle and I had a longstanding friendly exchange of ideas that I will miss.

To me, they exemplify the true strategist in action. This is despite Kelleher’s seeming dismissal of strategy. Perhaps his most famous quote, in response to a question about Southwest strategy, was: “We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.” And Bogle really only talked about his recommended strategy of how his customers should invest their savings: Buy and hold for the long term. With respect to Vanguard itself, he talked more about its philosophy than its strategy per se.

But the heart of true strategy is not about plans or proclamations or vision statements, it is about making the few key choices that enable you to serve customers in a distinctive and valuable fashion. It doesn’t matter if you call it strategy or “doing things.”  These two business giants were all about choices and when they made them, they chose distinctively. Where competition zagged, they consistently zigged.

For Southwest, it was a point-to-point route structure rather than industry norm hub and spoke; Boeing 737s vs. multiple aircraft; one class of travel vs. many; no seat selection vs. advanced selection; partnership with labor vs. war with labor, and so on. For Vanguard, it was the index fund vs. the managed fund; lowest fees possible vs. highest fees you can get away with; etc.

Many CEOs hope that they can achieve distinctive results without boldly distinctive choices. However, these two realized that the only path to distinctive results is with distinctive choices – but not just any kind of choices. Theirs were distinctive choices utterly in favor of customers. Southwest customers would enjoy cheap, reliable, and pleasant travel. Vanguard customers would get to keep as close as possible to 100% of the returns their investments earned. Start with the customer and make choices that no one else was brave enough to make: that was their formula. It is a formula that more CEOs would be wise follow.

It would also be nice to see others follow their attitudes toward gaining personal wealth from their customer-focused enterprise. Yes, they both got rich by any reasonable standard. But that outcome genuinely seemed to matter little to them. That is especially the case for Bogle who broke completely with industry norms to structure Vanguard to be owned by its funds, each of which in turn is owned by the customers whose capital is invested in that fund. As a result, Bogle’s net worth at time of death was estimated to be about $80 million. In comparison, Vanguard’s most direct competitor, Fidelity, is owned by the Johnson family, the members of which, according the latest Forbes 400 list, have a combined net worth of about $30 billion. Kelleher died a much richer man than Bogle with a net worth widely estimated at $2.5 billion. But he famously never asked for or received a pay raise or bonus increase from his initial compensation as a startup in 1967.

When both employees and customers see a CEO who seems unconcerned about compensation and comfortable that it will all work out fine, they are more confident that leadership of the organization is more likely than not to do the right thing – which has the effect of making those bold choices more effective and lasting.  Making bold choices and doing the right thing: that is the wonderful legacy of leaders like Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher.

Author: Roger L. Martin

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Businesses Are Preparing for Brexit — and Bracing for the Worst

Benjamin Harte/Getty Images

What was purported to be the United Kingdom’s most momentous parliamentary vote in a generation — the overwhelming rejection on January 15 of the ‘Brexit’ withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May had negotiated with the European Union — has left business none the wiser about Britain’s future trading arrangements with the EU than they were before the vote.

Even assuming the exit terms are settled in the barely 70 days left before the UK’s scheduled March 29 departure from the EU, so much will remain uncertain and many of the battles fought since the referendum in June 2016 over UK-EU trading and economic arrangements will have to be refought throughout the transition period (and probably beyond given how long it takes to negotiate trade agreements).

Amid such persisting uncertainty, most UK and international companies operating in the UK are taking the only sensible course — preparing for worst-case scenarios. Given all this uncertainty, it’s worth revisiting the possible versions of Brexit and how businesses of different types could be affected by them.

Like the rest of Britain, if to a lesser degree, UK businesses are divided in their views on continued EU membership. Large exporting manufacturers, financial and professional services firms, and those needing to compete for scarce skilled or cheap labor would, by and large, have preferred to remain. So, too, UK subsidiaries of multinationals for which Britain provided an accommodating base for their EU operations.

However, small, domestically-focused UK businesses more often found EU red tape burdensome without being able to benefit from the free movement of goods, services, people, and capital across EU member-states’ borders, and thus put themselves in the “Leave” camp on the initial Brexit vote.

From the first, many UK firms’ business lobbies sought — but have still not received — an early and clear indication of the post-Brexit arrangements the UK government was negotiating with Brussels, particularly the trading arrangements, and assurances they would have a transition period after March 29 to adjust.

It is important to remember that there were two parts to the Brexit negotiations: the binding agreement covering the narrow departure terms (citizens’ rights, the budget settlement, and the domestically deal-breaking Irish border issue); and a broader non-binding document that set out the aspirations for the future trading arrangements still to be negotiated.

May’s deal would have given business a close-to-two-year transition period and a promise that EU law would be initially written into UK law wholesale so there would be legal and regulatory continuity from day one. However, her politically driven “red lines” – notably, no free movement of people and no UK jurisdiction for the European Court of Justice — ruled out post-Brexit UK membership in the EU’s single market and customs union, which the majority of UK businesses want.

This created a kaleidoscope of possible Brexits that sought to align the UK economically with the EU to the maximum extent imaginable, short of political membership. However, the major options fell along a spectrum with a “hard” Brexit at one end and a “soft” Brexit at the other.

The main points between are the so-called “Canada Brexit” towards the “hard” end, modeled on the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) on goods and agricultural products but not services, and, towards the soft end,  known as “Norway-plus,” modeled on Norway’s participation in the single market with free movement of people, goods and services and a contribution to the EU budget, but no formal membership or voting rights.

May’s deal fell somewhere between Canada and Norway.

There is no majority in the UK parliament or among the voting public for any one of these models. The only outcome that commands majority support (albeit only narrowly and shrinking) is avoiding a no-deal Brexit. That is also what business sees as most disruptive as it would mean falling back to trading on WTO rules, unknown custom and tariff arrangements, and maximum legal uncertainty.

Business’s lobbying power over the May administration, which was never great, has been blunted by the increased political salience of the red lines that emerged after May lost her parliamentary majority in 2017. Her misjudgment in calling a snap general election left her dependent on the nine Northern Irish unionist MPs for a parliamentary majority, magnifying the irresolvability of the contentious Irish border issue, and weakening her ability to face down the hardest-line Brexiteers in her party.

May does not personally have strong links to the strand of conservatism that is internationally business-minded nor is she well-connected to the metropolitan elite financial services industry, which plays a disproportionately large role in the UK economy. She comes more out of her party’s tradition of moral conservatism and its shires-based support. She would be sympathetic to a populist view that Britain should not deliver a “Bankers’ Brexit.”

The degree of inter-linkage between London’s financial services firms and the economies of the EU is substantial and intricate in its regulatory and legislative interfaces. The gulf between what the industry wanted and what it looks as if it will end up with is vast. In particular, it will lose what’s known as “passporting,” the ability of financial firms to operate throughout the EU or the basis of being regulated in any one EU member state. The proposed substitute regimes for regulatory equivalence are still up in the air.

While most London-based financial institutions are not expected to abandon the city post-Brexit, many financial institutions have set up new European operations and transferred both staff and functions elsewhere to ensure they can continue to service EU clients. This includes international banks such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. Where the banks go, the professional services firms that support them will follow.

The beneficiaries have been not just European financial centers such as Frankfurt, Paris, and, in the insurance industry, Dublin, but also New York and Singapore. The long-term risk to London’s position as a financial center is that firms will develop their new businesses in their new homes. This may even apply to London’s burgeoning fintech sector.

A similar story of slow attrition and new investment going elsewhere is playing out in the manufacturing industry. Japanese multinationals including Nissan, who have built manufacturing plants in the UK as the basis of their operations in the EU, have said continued new investment can no longer be guaranteed post-Brexit.

Like many manufacturing companies in industries from electronics to pharmaceuticals, they are all at risk of Brexit-related disruption to their complex European supply chains and, longer-term, the uncertainties over the tariff and customs regimes to which they will be subject. Surveys by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply find that a sizeable minority of UK and EU firms are reconfiguring their supply chains because of Brexit.

Aviation is another sector vulnerable to disruption, with some of Europe’s largest airlines  — Vueling, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and British Airways (United Kingdom) –  at risk of having to ground their European flights because they are owned by UK-based International Airlines Group (IAG).

After Brexit, IAG could fall short of the threshold of 51% EU-member ownership, which is required to continue intra-EU flights. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission has said airlines could operate direct flights between EU and UK cities, but inter-EU country flights and domestic flights within EU countries would be prohibited.

IAG could change its structures to become owned within the EU, but that would cause other difficulties for British Airways. In the event, the EU would likely grant IAG a post-March 29 deadline to meet its rules and avoid grounded flights in a no-deal scenario.

Also, again in the event of a no-deal Brexit, there could be uncertainty over the legal validity of insurance contracts and aircraft leasing contracts, which, in turn, could ground flights until terms can be rewritten.

Those are typical of the thousands of examples of detailed contingency work UK companies are undertaking from rewriting contracts and assessing the validity of intellectual property protections to renting extra warehousing to stockpile components and supplies and installing software to deal with additional customs declarations, estimated by the UK tax authorities to quintuple to 255 million post-Brexit.

Even here in Oxford, where BMW builds Minis at its Cowley plant, and debated hard whether to shift production of its next-generation electric-powered Minis to its Dutch plants instead, the German carmaker is bringing forward Cowley’s summer production-line close down for annual maintenance to the end of March just in case a no-deal Brexit interrupts its supply of parts.

Author: Paul Maidment

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What Sales Leaders Need to Excel Over Time

Executive Summary

Few companies impose term limits on sales leaders because people typically leave these positions too quickly, rather than staying too long. However, there are real risks of long-tenured sales execs growing stale, and companies need to take steps to make sure they remain actively learning and engaged, not just in P&L performance but with broader measures that show they are ready to meet emerging challenges.

Art Wolfe/Getty Images

Many countries have term limits for their leaders. The premise is that term-limited politicians will spend less time campaigning, amassing political power, and catering to special interests. Instead, they will focus on making policy, working for their constituents, and bringing fresh energy and ideas to government.

Although less common, term limits are also used in business. Consulting firms ZS (the firm we founded) and McKinsey have term limits for their CEOs. At ZS, CEOs can serve a maximum of three three-year terms. A periodic change in leadership at the top brings a diverse and updated perspective that keeps up with environmental change and benefits employees and clients.

We are not aware of any companies that have term limits for sales leaders, such as the vice president of sales. But should they? Term limits could help ensure that once-effective sales leaders are replaced before situations such as the following arise.

  1. The sales leader gets out of touch. As the leader spends more time at headquarters, they can get disconnected from customers and from younger generation sales team members. Meanwhile, evolving customer and employee needs, new distribution channels, technological innovation, and other sales environment changes put the leader at risk of becoming obsolete. For example, today many sales leaders are slow to adapt to the changes that digital and social channels are bringing to sales.
  2. The sales leader develops blind spots. Even the most effective leaders have flaws. Unfortunately, self-awareness of these flaws is often limited. Over time, a leader’s blind spots can weaken the sales team. For example, one sales leader’s strong managerial skills helped him address critical operational weaknesses to get the “sales machine” back on track. But once the immediate problems were solved, the leader’s continued focus on short-term tactics ahead of long-term strategies caused the sales force to drift.
  3. Subordinates cower as the sales leader’s personal power grows. A leader’s power comes not only from their knowledge and expertise, but also from the position itself. The leader controls the career progression and compensation of sales team members. Subordinates may start to curry favor, shower the leader with praise, or fear speaking up with ideas counter to the leader’s views. The situation gets worse if the leader abuses power by intimidating subordinates.
  4. The sales leader locks in on favorite team members. As the leader’s bonds with sales team members get stronger, personal relationships that were once a source of strength may cloud the leader’s perceptions and impede good choices. This creates complications when it’s time to make difficult personnel decisions about performance evaluations, promotions, or job assignments.

One reason the notion of term limits for sales executives isn’t commonly discussed is that generally speaking, sales leaders don’t stay in the job long enough for these situations to arise. Instead, many companies face the opposite problem: managing the high cost of frequent sales leader turnover. When sales executives depart too quickly, their initiatives don’t have enough time to make a significant impact. In addition, the learning curve gets disrupted and the company fails to benefit from the leadership wisdom gained through experience.

Instead of thinking about whether sales leaders stay in the job too short or too long, however, companies should actively think about making the time they spend in the role better. Rather than term limits, companies need strategies for helping sales leaders excel over time. Solutions require improving sales leader selection, development, and performance management, while creating a company culture that encourages sales leadership success. Effective strategies include the following:

Selecting a sales leader who is a lifelong learner. The best sales leader candidates are self-motivated to continually search for new knowledge and to adapt to environmental change. Companies can support leader development by providing new experiences for leaders, such as the opportunity to participate on a product marketing strategy task force. Companies can also provide leaders with opportunities to participate in executive education programs or attend industry conferences where they can share best practices with peers. Company culture also plays a role in encouraging leaders to seek constant improvement and adapt to change.

Using performance management to make sales leaders aware of their blind spots. Although financial results (such as sales and profits) are a key metric for evaluating sales leader performance, leaders also need feedback about how they contribute to results. Do they have the necessary capabilities? Are they engaging in the right activities? Coaching by superiors and mentors is critical for helping leaders avoid blind spots and strengthen their leadership skills. It’s also important to choose leaders who possess characteristics such as self-awareness and open-mindedness.

Creating a company culture that discourages intimidation and favoritism. Company culture has a big influence on sales leader behavior. A culture that promotes long-term customer success over short-term sales goal achievement discourages sales leaders from pressuring subordinates inappropriately to make this quarter’s numbers. A culture that encourages decision making based on data and frameworks, rather than on opinion and instinct, brings objectivity to sales leaders’ personnel decisions. Selecting a leader with the right personality characteristics helps reinforce the desired sales culture.

In the end, all sales leaders know that the limit of their term is tied to their own success at driving results. Perhaps that is enough.

Author: Andris A. Zoltners

Posted on

Tesla Announces Plan to Cut 7 Percent of Its Workforce, Leading to Stock Plummet

Elon Musk, in a characteristically blunt email to employees, warned that the current quarter would not be as strong as the previous one and that “the road ahead is very difficult.”

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The prospects of a trade deal with China are trumping signs of trouble from two of the highest profile companies in the market.

Netflix and Tesla both gave somewhat sober views of their outlook and saw their stock prices suffer. The broader stock market, however, shrugged off those warnings after China reportedly offered to address the more than $300 billion annual trade surplus with the U.S. by simply importing more U.S. goods — a lot more. Stock indexes were up nearly two percent in the morning and mostly held their gains in the afternoon.

The Dow and S&P 500 indexes closed the day up 1.38 percent and 1.32 percent respectively, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.03 percent. The Entrepreneur Index™ was up 0.21 percent today.

Tesla was slammed today after the company announced it would cut seven percent of its workforce to reduce costs. CEO Elon Musk, in a characteristically blunt email to employees, warned that the current quarter would not be as strong as the previous one and that “the road ahead is very difficult.” Investors took him at his word, driving the stock down 12.97 percent — the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. It is down nine percent so far this year.

Netflix too disappointed some very high expectations. The leader in the video streaming business beat earnings estimates by 25 percent and added more subscribers than expected but missed on revenue targets. It also gave slightly weaker than expected guidance for the first quarter. With the stock up more than 50 percent since Christmas Eve, investors took some profits. The stock was down 3.99 percent.

The rest of the market rode the optimism around the trade talks, with strength across all sectors. All thirteen tech stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ were up other than Netflix. Chipmakers NVIDIA Corp. (3.43 percent) and Analog Devices, (2.87 percent), had the biggest gains in the sector.

Economy-sensitive stocks Fedex Corp. and Ford Motor Co. were up 2.1 percent and 2.63 percent respectively. Clothing makers Ralph Lauren Corp. (3.42 percent) and Under Armour Inc. (2.3 percent), also had strong gains. Tyson Foods rose 2.64 percent, truck-maker PACCAR Inc. was up 2.67 percent and medical device maker Boston Scientific Corp. gained 2.39 percent. Investment bank Jefferires Financial Group was also up 2.41 percent.

Only three other stocks on the Entrepreneur Index™ declined today. Homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. was down 1.14 percent, while Chipotle Mexican Grill fell 0.85 percent and shopping center REIT Kimco Realty Corp. lost 0.06 percent.

The stock market logged its fourth consecutive week of gains and has now clawed back more than half of the 20 percent plus it lost through Christmas Eve. The rumors surrounding the U.S.-China trade talks will likely continue to move stock prices next week — one way or the other.

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on

Source: Entrepreneur
Author: Andrew Osterland