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Carlos Ghosn – From Automobile Industry Celebrity To International Fugitive

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Carlos Ghosn is a celebrity in the automobile industry because of his company turnaround stories which almost seem like fairy tales.  Carlos Ghosn is currently in the news for fleeing Japan, where he is facing four criminal charges. While he is currently a wanted fugitive, the story of how he made Nissan and Renault forces to be reckoned with is worthwhile.

The Renault and Nissan alliance

When Renault was suffering from chronic underperforming sales and Nissan was nearly bankrupt, Carlos Ghosn proposed an alliance between the two automaker giants, where Renault purchased a 36.8 % stake in Nissan.  Carlos Ghosn was later appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of both Nissan and Renault. He laid out a three year revival plan for Nissan, which was in a consolidated debt of $ 20 billion. The Nissan revival plan, announced in 1999, promised a return to profitability in the year 2000 and a profit margin over 4.5% in the year 2002 along with a reduction in 50 % of the debt by 2002.

Carlos Ghosn also promised to resign from his position if his goals were not met.  Once the plan was announced, Ghosn announced major changes at Nissan, which included downsizing, letting go of 21,000 employees, which accounted for 14 % of the total workforce, shutting down multiple manufacturing plants in Japan and auctioning the aerospace unit.  Other industry experts laughed at the plan and Carlos Ghosn’s decision earned him the nickname ‘Le Cost Killer.’

Japan has a hierarchy of age and seniority based promotion.  At the time, Nissan had a lifetime employment policy, leading to a complacency which came with the job.  Carlos Ghosn changed the employment policy from being a guarantee to a goal which needed to be achieved. Carlos Ghosn also proposed the abolishment of the Keiretsu system which was undermining Nissan’s performance.  Keiretsu is an old Japanese concept of cooperation and alliances.  Companies form interlocking interests and take up shareholdings. It is an unofficial and an informal form of business alliance which had long held dominance over the Japanese economy.  Ghosn’s proposal to abolish this system did not sit well with the Japanese public, caused outrage and earned him the name ‘Keiretsu Killer.’

Upon achieving his targets, Ghosn became an overnight hero in Japan, where outsiders, often referred to as ‘Gaijin,’ find it hard to gain recognition.  He was even depicted as a superhero in a Japanese comic book.

After bringing Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy to the second best automobile maker in Japan behind Toyota, Ghosn announced his plan to unveil the Nissan Leaf in 2010.  The Nissan Leaf was dubbed as the world’s first affordable zero emission car.

The Renault-Nissan alliance is the leader of the electric vehicle segment in the world, beating Elon Musk’s Tesla.  As of 2017, the alliance sold double the number of cars as Tesla.

Arrest and downfall

By 2018, many in Japan and outside were of the opinion Ghosn’s income from both Renault and Nissan was too high.  A whistleblower, who was a close aide of Carlos Ghosn, said they had information Carlos Ghosn was instructing his close aide and board member Greg Kelly to create two salary accounts for Ghosn.  One account held money which would be paid every fiscal year to Ghosn and the other account would hold a pot which was designated to be paid out to Carlos Ghosn after his exit from Nissan. Nissan went to the authorities with this information and it was found Carlos Ghosn was under reporting his income filings.  Following this, Carlos Ghosn was arrested at the Tokyo Airport.

Following the arrest, Ghosn was sent to a detention center and had no contact with anyone except his Japanese lawyer, the Lebanese embassy and the French embassy.  He alleged he was mistreated as he is a foreigner.

Carlos Ghosn recently made headlines when he fled from Japan and went to Lebanon via Turkey.  Lebanon currently has no extradition treaty with Japan in place, meaning Japan currently has no way to prosecute him.  Carlos Ghosn made a statement that he would disclose everything to the media in the coming months. 

Read about the rise of Carlos Ghosn here: Carlos Ghosn – The Rise Of A Titan Of Automobile Industry

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Entrepreneur Stories

7 Inspiring Quotes By Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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7 Inspiring Quotes By Microsoft CEO,Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella,Startup Stories,Entrepreneur Stories 2020,Most Inspiring Quotes 2020,Microsoft CEO Interesting Quotes,7 Satya Nadella Quotes,Microsoft CEO Success Quotes,Satya Nadella Latest News 2020,Microsoft CEO Motivational Quotes

Satya Nadella came into the limelight when he was announced as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft in 2014.  Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer and is the third CEO of Microsoft, the software and cloud giant. He managed to increase the stock value of Microsoft during his tenure at a growth rate of 27 % and made some key acquisitions like LinkedIn, Mojang and GitHub, to name a few.

Satya Nadella made it to the top of one of the world’s biggest corporations and in the course of his inspiring journey, he has shared many words of wisdom.

Let us have a look at some of the inspiring quotes by Satya Nadella.

1. “Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.”

Learning is a constant process and there is always something new to learn, be it a new skill, a new language or a new subject.  Being in a state of learning will lead to a fulfilling life. Once the learning stops, there is no growth in an individual, which leads to a state of stagnation.

2. “You renew yourself every day. Sometimes you’re successful, sometimes you’re not, but it’s the average that counts.”

Each day is an opportunity to do something new.  Whether or not you are successful is unimportant, but every new trial contributes to the average output.  This offers the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and make the average better.

3. “I think playing cricket taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career.”

Cricket originated in England and spread to its colonies, where it is a popular sport.  Cricket is a team based sport and involves reliance on teammates, offering plenty of leadership opportunities.  Almost every team based sport offers a wealth of learning in terms of leadership and collaboration. In his book Hit Refresh, Satya Nadella mentions how he was taken out of the bowling attack because he was having a bad spell and was later recalled by the captain again to bowl.  That incident resonated deeply with Satya Nadella and he says, Why did he do that?  He could have just broken all my confidence and thrown me off the team, but for some reason, he decided to give me the ball back. That ability, that sensibility of what leaders can do to bring teams along to do their best work—that’s what we can learn from team sport.”

4. “If you do not jump on the new, you do not survive.”

The world is constantly in a state of change in this age of digital communication, where technology is growing at a very rapid pace.  In order to stay ahead of the competition, it is important to constantly adapt to new things.  In a bid to compete with cloud product service giants Amazon and Salesforce, Microsoft released Enterprise Mobility security, which allows corporations and organizations to track and protect their mobile devices.  This product increased Microsoft’s gross revenue up by 67 % and drew praise even from the critics who predicted its failure, thereby proving the Company’s ability to innovate and survive against all odds.

5. “Success can make people unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.”

While success is a cause for celebration, it is important not to let it get to your head.  Success should pave the way for setting a new goal and aiming to achieve it.

6. “Our industry does not respect tradition. What it respects is innovation.”

The software and cloud industry is constantly evolving at a rapid pace, with innovations happening at a very quick rate, making the competition cutthroat.  The entire industry thrives on innovation and Satya Nadella aims to do the same during his tenure as the CEO of Microsoft. Some innovations under his tenure include the Xbox adaptive controller designed to give additional assistance to differently abled people, the HoloLens augmented reality headset and the surface laptop.

7. “We all know the mortality of companies is less than human beings.”

Companies are made by the customers who use their products.  Many big corporations shut down due to lack of demand from their customers, like Blockbuster, Thomas Cook, Compaq and Toys R Us.  It is important to be humble and constantly innovate to improve the quality of life of the customer. Microsoft released its operating system (OS) Windows 8 as a measure to push people towards using tablets over desktops and pushed needless updates.  This did not sit well with the people and they avoided using the OS altogether. Microsoft took the feedback into account and then rolled out Windows 10, which was more stable and compatible with desktops.

Which of these quotes by Satya Nadella inspired you the most?

Read more about motivational quotes by Sundar Pichai here: 7 Motivational Quotes By Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

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5 Tips to Build A Strong Work Ethic

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Work ethic is often a term thrown everywhere by businesses and startups.  When organisations are looking to hire a new recruit, they often mention ‘work ethic’ in the job description.  While the term is used a lot, it is important to understand what it means and how you can build a strong work ethic at a workplace.

Work ethic is defined as a belief that hard work and diligence have a moral benefit and an inherent ability, virtue or value to strengthen character and individual abilities.  A strong work ethic is an important trait to have in order to pursue a successful career or business.

 

Let us have a look at some small things which can be done to build a strong work ethic.

1. Teamwork and collaboration

An important part of having a strong work ethic is realising the importance of being able to work in a team.  More often than not, an individual will be put in a team to accomplish a task. It is important to realize there is always a bigger picture at hand and that understanding will be able to foster teamwork and collaboration.  Being a team player helps in getting the job done by being more efficient at managing strengths and delegating work.

2. Being punctual and professional

It is always important to be able to plan to reach appointments, work or interviews on time.  Being punctual often conveys a lot about the ethics of an individual. Being professional displays the honesty and moral compass and can be achieved by doing simple things like being well dressed, being cordial with teammates and being empathetic and compassionate.

3. Organizational skills

Sometimes work can get overwhelming due to a number of issues like deadlines, extra work and lack of resources.  Individuals with strong work ethics have mechanisms to cope up with these. Work or resources need to be organized and divided into blocks or sets and putting a routine in place.  Doing this also helps in developing time management skills, giving an individual ample time to dedicate resources and energy elsewhere. Poor organizational qualities lead to sloppy work and mistakes.

4. Having a healthy mind and body

Being healthy is an important indicator of a strong work ethic.  Being healthy does not just mean physical health, it encompasses mental health as well.  A happy frame of mind will contribute to the positive well being of the team as well as reflect on the work.  Taking a break to recharge your batteries freshens your mind and body as well as provides insights into work, which may otherwise have been overlooked.

5. Reliability and dedication

Being able to take ownership of work and display commitment towards getting a job done is another trait which displays a strong work ethic.  A dedicated individual does not hesitate to ask for help if they hit a roadblock and also provides inputs and advice when needed by another team member.  They put effort into ensuring deadlines are met comfortably by managing their time and resources as well. A reliable individual asks for more responsibility in order to display their dedication to the organisational goals.

Research studies show it takes more than sixty days for a behaviour to translate into a habit.  By implementing these simple behavioural qualities, it is possible to build a strong work ethic.  While the qualities may be simple on paper, it is the implementation which sets an individual apart from their peers.

Read about how to increase business opportunities here: Five Steps Entrepreneurs Can Follow To Identify New Business Opportunities

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Ferrari – The Story Of The Luxury Automobile Brand

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The name Ferrari evokes a sense of respect amongst motor car enthusiasts.  All over the world, Ferrari is known for its luxury car offerings with high end engine specifications as well as swanky designs to go with them.  It is always at the forefront of innovation, constantly finding ways to upgrade its line of products. However, it is also renowned for its rich history of motor car racing.  Ferrari is one of the biggest and oldest teams to compete in Formula One racing.

Beginnings

Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari.  However, Ferrari was not initially a luxury car manufacturer.  Enzo Ferrari wanted to work with FIAT, but his application was rejected.  He then worked as a race car driver for Alfa Romeo, post which he founded Scuderia Ferrari, which translates to Ferrari Stable and was a sporting society which allowed its members to race.  

Scuderia Ferrari was formed in 1929 with its headquarters in Modena, Italy.  Scuderia Ferrari fielded Alfa Romeo cars for racing. Scuderia Ferrari went on to become the racing division and team of Alfa Romeo after the Company disbanded its in house racing team.  Alfa Romeo later acquired Scuderia Ferrari and formed the Alfa Corse and subsequently disbanded Scuderia Ferrari. Alfa Romeo also appointed Ferrari as Sporting Director. 

Founding of Ferrari

In 1939, Enzo Ferrari left Alfa Romeo on the grounds he would not use the Ferrari name in association with racing cars for at least four years.  So, Enzo founded Auto Avio Costruzioni, the ancestor of Ferrari which manufactured machine tools and aircraft accessories. Due to the World War II, Ferrari saw little sales and their factory in Milan was bombed by the allies.

The factory was eventually rebuilt and the first Ferrari car, powered by a V12 engine and bearing the black prancing horse logo which is symbolic of Ferrari, made its debut.

Racing history

Enzo Ferrari was an avid race car driver and his passion lied there.  Although Enzo was making cars for the public, he saw it as a way to obtain funds to fuel his passion for racing via Scuderia Ferrari.  Scuderia Ferrari is now the racing division of the luxury sports car manufacturer.

Ferrari is one of the oldest race car competitors and the only one to compete in all the editions of Formula One since the championship’s inception in 1950.  Scuderia Ferrari has produced some of the greatest drivers like Niki Lauda, Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso.

Today, it is easy to recognize a car of the Ferrari make by looking at the black prancing horse logo.  Over the years, owning a Ferrari has come to symbolize status, wealth and the love for speed. In 2002, Ferrari released a car, the Enzo Ferrari, named in honour of the brand’s founder Enzo Ferrari.  Only 400 of these cars were made and the 400th one was donated to The Vatican for charity.

Enzo Ferrari and his brand are an inspiration to many across the world and racing purists will always swear by the quality and design Ferrari provides.  The Ferrari brand was painstakingly built over the years and the popularity has not waned, mostly due to the dedication of Enzo Ferrari and his vision. People looking for inspiration can take lessons from his life and his passion for automobiles.

Read about Henry Ford’s unknown facts here: Henry Ford Unknown Facts

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