There is nothing you want to do today that has not been done by someone. So instead of trying to outdo others, learn from them. Many nations are breaking new ground because they are ready to humble themselves and learn. Big corporations are always ready to adapt some of the strategies they learned from others.

One of the secrets of the unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy, and infrastructural advancement is their ability to learn from other nations. For example, in June 2000, the Chinese prime minister visited Germany and travelled on a test magnetic suspension track in Lathen, Emsland. He was so impressed with the technology and decided to have the 18.6 mile Transrapid built in Shanghai.

In January 2001, the city of Shanghai and Transrapid International signed a contract committing them to use German magnetic suspension technology and the mostly German-made components for the Transrapid. But during a test run, there was minor damage due to overheat magnetic motors.

The Chinese took this opportunity to pressure Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, the German contractors, to transfer German technology to China so that the Chinese partner could develop and adapt. The Chinese blamed the German technology for failing to solve the issue caused by temperature fluctuation, movement of concrete, and the muddy ground in Shanghai.

Faced with the fait-accompli contract and commitment, the German contractors reluctantly had to transfer essential patents. The Germans became component suppliers of their own high-speed technology, while most of it was produced in China. As a result, China is now proudly showing the world its improved magnetic suspension technology!

I’m sure when the German contractors were going to China, they never envisaged that the Chinese could replicate their ideas in the future. Today, the rest is history. Every big corporation you know today learned something from other companies, and modified it. So as a business owner, you must have an open mind to learn from those who have gone ahead of you. Don’t ever feel too big to learn.

After the Second World War, Japan’s economy was in ruins. It was not taken seriously or perceived as an economic threat to the United States of America. Indeed, the United States actually contributed to restoring Japan’s economy under the Marshal Plan.

To establish a foothold, Japan sold its products under Western brand names. By under studying the foreign companies, Japan learned the best practices in management, leadership, marketing, distribution channels, and technology from the best global firms and has gained access to world markets.

In fifty years, the Japanese have built global brands including Toyota, Honda, Sony, Mitsubishi, Itochu, and many others. Meanwhile Korea has emulated the Japanese model. This has led Koreans to establish global brands including Samsung, LG Electronics, Hyundai, and Kia in less than thirty years!

Then came the Chinese. By understudying the Japanese corporations, they began to build their own multinational companies. Lenovo, a Chinese multinational electronics corporations founded in Beijing in 1984, has shortened the learning curve even more. The company borrowed many ideas from other corporations which led it from its ill-timed and inauspicious beginning to becoming the world’s third largest computer manufacturer in just few years of existence! I will share the full story of Lenovo at the CEO Success Summit on the 3rd of February, 2018, at Oriental Hotel, Lagos. Don’t miss it!

This is How to Learn from Others:
1. Network With High-Level Associations.
If you attend the upcoming CEO Success Summit, you will definitely meet well established business owners and professional that can put you through the challenges you have been struggling to deal with. You cannot take your business or idea to the global stage unless you associate with those who are already there.
In Nigeria, almost all the billionaires are friends. Few days ago, Femi Otedola visited Tony Elumelu. I’m sure they shared ideas and solved each other’s problems. Don’t sit in a corner and struggle, get out and network with those whom you can learn from. The Chinese are now building magnetic suspension trains because they chose to associate with German contractors.

2. Join Influential Groups and Use Their Influence To Enhance Your Positioning.
There are people I will see you with, my view about you will change. I have always advised people to be adventurous. Don’t sit in your corner and think that the world is against you, get out and get connected.

While speaking somewhere few days ago, I said to my audience, “If you want to get the best from wealthy people never ask them for money because they hate parasites.” Ask for mentorship. Find out the steps they took that pushed them to the top. Follow them around and monitor how they manage time, pass instructions to their staff, and how they do virtually everything. Don’t forget to snap pictures with him. But you must take permission from them before uploading to social media.

Join influential groups as long as they are not doing anything bad or illegal. There are many influential groups you can join. One of them is tennis clubs. You may not know it, but most influential people either play golf or tennis. Join the club. Leverage on it to enhance your positioning in the business world. To be continued at the CEO Success Summit!

The Chinese have a proverb that says; “A man who ask is a fool for five minutes. A man who never ask is a fool for life.” That’s astounding. Don’t be too shy to ask relevant questions. Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” So get involved in a group of brilliant minds to learn how to grow your ideas.

Eartha Kitt opined, “I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.” Learning is a lifetime assignment. That is why you must not miss the CEO Success Summit taking place on the 3rd February, 2018. Time is 10AM and the venue remains Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Check the handbill below for more information or call Godwin on 07032681154. See you at the top!

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