Korean Business Expert Don Southerton Releases Ground Breaking Book

Korea Perspective offers a road map to avoid common pitfalls while overcoming challenges, addressing issues that frequently surface with Korea.



Golden, Colorado (PRWEB) February 02, 2015  Korean global business consultant Don Southerton has released his latest publication, titled Korea Perspective. Southerton notes, ” As a result of my interacting with Korea facing business on an almost daily basis, Western overseas teams, as well Korean leadership and teams, have openly shared their challenges and pressing concerns. In turn, I have worked to provide them with a framework, strategy, and solutions. This book is based on these daily interactions.”

The intended audiences, the author points out, are Westerners employed by Korean-based companies outside South Korea, firms providing services or products to a South Korean overseas subsidiary or operations and global companies that have significant business with a Korean company.

Southerton adds, “All in all, this book offers a road map to avoid the pitfalls, navigate around the roadblocks, and thrive.”

Korea Perspective is available through Amazon Kindle, Nook and most popular booksellers.

About the author Don Southerton has a life-long interest in Korea and the rich culture of the country. He has authored numerous publications with topics centering on culture, new urbanism, entrepreneurialism, and early U.S.-Korean business ventures. Southerton also lectures extensively and writes and comments on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations.

He is a frequent contributor to the media (WSJ, Forbes, CNN Fortune, Bloomberg, Automotive News, Korea Times, Korea Herald, Yonhap, Korea Magazine, and FSR) on Korea facing business and culture. He heads Bridging Culture Worldwide, a Golden, Colorado based company that provides strategy, consulting and training to Korea-based global business. An avid martial artist, Southerton has pursued the study and practice of Korean traditional arts for more than forty years.


The author is available for media interviews.


68 Story Songdo NEATT Opens

Pleased to see Songdo’s NEATT ( The North East Asia Trade Tower) open. I recall over the years peeking out from floor after floor as construction moved ever upward.  Last time i was in the Tower it was a chilly February morning hosting BBC Click.


NEATT ( on right)



Songdo in the News–Incheon and Songdo: Sub-National Economic Integration Efforts

As a longtime supporter of the Songdo project, we always have seen the Songdo International District ( the core of the greater Songdo FEZ which NY-based Gale International has developed) as a Hub for East Asia business…neat idea the area could be hub for eventually N-S commerce.

Songdo Peterson Institute

North Korea Blog

Incheon and Songdo: Sub-National Economic Integration Efforts
by Marcus Noland | May 13th, 2014

A few years back I was invited to participate in some activities sponsored by Gangwon province in northeastern South Korea, the traditional boundaries of which were split by the division of the peninsula. Officials were hoping that a reconnection of the east coast rail line would give the province an economic shot in the arm.

On the west side of the peninsula, officials have also been eyeing inter-Korean integration and the economic benefits that it could bring. According to a newspaper story passed along by Tom Murcott of Gale International, the developer of the Songdo “smart city,” back in 2008  local officials pushed for a traffic network expansion plan that would connect Incheon International Airport to Gangwha and Gaeseong Industrial Park as part of the Gangwha development plan. That integration would seem to make sense, especially if the October 2007 North-South summit vision of redeveloping Haeju ever came to pass.

With President Park’s renewed emphasis on unification, Incheon officials are dusting off the old plans. According to the report in the Incheon-based Kiho Ilbo, Incheon City has announced it will push ahead with the construction of an expressway from Yeongjong to Haeju of North Korea, the so-called “West Sea Unification Expressway.” Incheon City estimates KRW2.7 trillion of project costs will have to be spent on the 112km-long expressway.

Presumably the city doesn’t have that kind of cash laying around, and one would think that the national government might have something to say about opening up direct transportation links with the North, so don’t hold your breath.  Nevertheless, it’s a reminder that local officials have their own eyes fixed on North-South possibilities, and if North-South relations calm, Incheon and Songdo would be ideally placed to become the hub of North-South exchange.


Korea Herald: Author Southerton calls for new growth approach from Hyundai Motor


Southerton Korea Herald


2014-04-30 20:51

“Speed” is the key to explaining Hyundai Motor Group’s stunning growth over the past decade. The rapid decision-making under the charismatic leadership of chairman Chung Mong-koo has been crucial for its global expansion.

But Don Southerton, author of the recent book “Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed,” says a more cross-cultural approach is now needed for the Korean auto giant to keep going at its current speed.

He recalled a 2005 training session he held at Hyundai Motor’s newest plant in Montgomery, Alabama, where tensions were mounting between the American and Korean teams ahead of the production of their first vehicles at the facility.

“The problem was ‘cultural’ ― Koreans not understanding and Americans vice versa,” Southerton, who is also leading a Denver-based consulting firm, Bridging Cultural Worldwide, wrote in an email interview with The Korea Herald.

According to him, many of the new American managers had been searching in earnest for the “Hyundai Way” ― documented policies and procedures that would guide them in decision-making and day-to-day work.

But not finding a set “Hyundai Way” resulted in some Americans feeling that there might be a communication and language issue. “More concerning, a few hinted strongly at trust issues and that Koreans were deliberately withholding vital information,” he said.

He wouldn’t say this cultural issue was limited to Hyundai. Other multinational companies like Coca-Cola and IBM that have a long history of dispatching expatriates worldwide have always experienced such difficulties.

“But unlike American companies like Ford, GM and Chrysler that have highly standardized and documented policies and procedures, at Hyundai these were acquired on the job and over time, shared informally through mentoring,” he said.

He pointed out even some Korean employees experience this issue.

“In the past … an employee joined the group as their first job and moved up through the ranks. Today, greater numbers of Korean team members are joining the group after years of employment with other firms. Like Westerners, it takes time for them,” he said.

“As more and more Hyundai operations and sales have shifted globally, the need to localize to each market has been crucial. I feel Hyundai is constantly evaluating what works best for each market. In some markets leadership is Korean, in others leadership is local.”

He suggested that what works best is when both the Korean and local leadership are strong collaborators. As for the hiring of non-Koreans for local leadership roles, like in any international operation, or in the case of Peter Schreyer, the group’s design chief, the decision would be based on the individual’s experience and reputation.

“I also feel one management change occurring is a shift from the top-down management to one of collaboration,” he said of the ongoing leadership transition from the current chairman to his son Eui-sun, the vice chairman.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)


Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed, New Book Looks at Korean Corporate Culture

Global business expert Don Southerton has authored a new eBook, Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed, which shares insights into the one of the world’s top automakers.


Korea global business expert Don Southerton has released his latest publication, titled Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed. Southerton notes, “In the wake of the recent accomplishments of the Hyundai Motor Group and specifically the Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors brands a question is often raised, ‘What makes Hyundai so successful?’ I tackle this question from a cultural perspective.”

The author points out his objective for Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed is to share insights into the Hyundai Motor Group—a unique inside view of a unique corporate culture.

In addition to the growing number of Hyundai and Kia Motors enthusiasts wishing to learn more about the carmaker, Southerton sees several target audiences for the book. First for the global teams working for the Hyundai Motor Group and its affiliates, Hyundai Way: Hyundai Speed will build upon their current experiences, while providing new understandings.

A second audience is firms and vendors providing services or products to the Hyundai Motor Group. This book will be beneficial in strengthening and maintaining the relationship.

A third readership is companies with significant Korea-based business. Although the book offers specific insights into Hyundai Motor, the broader content can apply to many Korean firms in sectors outside automotive.

The eBook is available through iBook, Kindle, Nook, and Amazon.

About the author

With over 35 years’ experience, Don Southerton is the definitive authority on Korean-facing global business, strategy, branding and market entry–from automotive, golf, retail, and QSR/ food sectors to New Urbanism and Green technology.

Building on a life-long interest in Korea and the rich culture of the country, Southerton writes extensively and provides commentary to the media on modern Korean business culture and its impact on global organizations. This is his thirteenth publication. 

LINK  PRWEB Press Release 


New For 2014: Strategic Services

A Note from Don Southerton

While my services have been well received and highly valued over the past decade, in 2013, I began shifting focus from training programs and coaching leadership to a deeper role with a few select clients.

In other words, rather than standing outside the organization and giving advice, counsel and perspective, I actively facilitated and supervised projects that addressed the companies’ pressing needs. This approach, built upon my understanding the nuances of Korean-based business and their companies, has proven to be extremely successful for my clients.

This new role was driven from ten years’ of listening to teams and leadership share (and, at times, vent) challenges. Frankly, after listening to this dialogue, I felt that this expanded value-added approach—one clearly within my skill sets —would serve my clients well.

As we begin 2014, I look forward to supporting you and would like to discuss how this new service can help you meet your firm’s strategic challenges.

Don Southerton Korea consulting











The Korea Society: Visionary Songdo IBD and Cisco

The Korea Society looks at Songdo and their collaboration with Cisco in the informative and insightful presentation. I am a long time supporter of Songdo IBD and Gale International, the master developer.


Golf, Songdo, Mad For Garlic, Cars and New Media

By Don Southerton, Editor
From my previous post, I’m back from attending the PGA’s President Cup in Ohio. In 2015, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea will host the event. Look for updates as they unfold.

Over the years, I have worked closely with the developers of Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, NY-based Gale International on their Songdo, city of the future. My cover story on Songdo was recently highlighted in Korea magazine. I see Songdo as ever evolving and becoming a knowledge-based forward thinking hub of East Asia.

Songdo Don Southerton

Over the past two years I have also advised top North America golf retailer Golfsmith International on entering the Korean market, plus I am working closely with Korea’s Mad for Garlic on opening in the US and the ME.

Don Southerton Mad For Garlic

Tasty !

What stands out is…US brands and concepts do well in Korea, and Korean brands do well here in North America.

Hyundai Motor Don Southeton

BTW I still work extensively across the Hyundai Motor Group supporting Hyundai, Kia Motors, Hyundai Capital, Hyundai Glovis—to name but a few. In addition, I support a number of key digital and media partners, which over the years has become one of my areas of expertise. Take Note: I see digital and new media work culture as edgy and very cool.

That said, regardless if its golf, forward leaning Songdo, garlic inspired cuisine, cars or new media–Culture– plays an incredible role. Sharing and communicating the nuances in workplace culture allow projects to move forward smoothly with no delays. In the worst cases, and without a strategy, coaching and support, expectations are not met, projects stall, deadline come and go, and often employee turnover is high with costs escalating.

When needed, my role is to provide support, strategy, coaching and training.

Pretty much here 24-5


Songdo IBD and PGA’s President’s Cup

President’s Cup

I attended this year’s President Cup in Dublin, Ohio with my friends at Gale International. They are developers of the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which will be hosting the 2015 Cup. We have high expectations for the event in two years.

Don Southerton at 2013 President’s Cup Songdo Booth

The Details

The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, located in the Songdo International Business District (IBD), Incheon, Korea, has been selected as the host the 2015 President’s Cup.

The Incheon City skyline is visible from Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, site of the 2015 Presidents Cup.

July 31, 2013

AKRON, OHIO – At Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, where Jack Nicklaus is tonight receiving the Ambassador of Golf Award, Nicklaus joined PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem to announce that Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, located in the Songdo International Business District (IBD), Incheon, Korea, has been selected as the host course and Incheon City as the host city for The Presidents Cup 2015 when the event makes its first trip to Asia. 

Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, which is located 40 miles west of Seoul in the country’s largest economic development zone, celebrated its opening in September 2010 with the Champions Tour’s first official money/official victory event held in Asia. The course hosted the Songdo Championship in 2010 and 2011, and the 2012 Korea Women’s Open on the KLPGA Tour. 

Mayor Song Young-Gil of Incheon City expressed his excitement and was delighted with his city being selected as the host city of The Presidents Cup 2015. “We are extremely pleased and honored to be the first city in Asia to be selected as host of The Presidents Cup,” said Mayor Song. “Along with the upcoming 2014 Asian Games, Incheon City has certainly put itself on the global stage as a choice destination for major international events, and we look forward to welcoming participants, sponsors and dignitaries from around the world to our great city and country.

“Incheon City will work closely with the PGA TOUR, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea and others to make The Presidents Cup 2015 a resounding success.”

Finchem said, “Just over three years ago, we announced The Presidents Cup would be played at Muirfield Village Golf Club in 2013.  Today, we further strengthen Jack Nicklaus’ commitment and connection to The Presidents Cup with the announcement that the course he designed at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea will in 2015 host the event for its first foray into Asia. Like Muirfield Village, Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea is Jack’s vision and an impressive venue in its own right. We are thrilled to take The Presidents Cup there, which is not only a milestone in the event’s history, but also a significant step in further elevating the game of golf in Korea.”

Nicklaus said, “We’re very honored and proud that Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea has been selected for The Presidents Cup 2015. We have always felt strongly about JNGC Korea as a host venue because of its location in the Songdo International Business District, its proximity to the Incheon International Airport, the quality hotels nearby, and the club’s proximity to a large population area. The facility itself also makes for an ideal location to host The Presidents Cup. We’re very pleased that the PGA TOUR felt the same after evaluating its options throughout Korea.

“Everyone has worked extremely hard to get us to today. I want to extend my congratulations to Mayor Song Young-Gil and the host City of Incheon; the membership and staff at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, as well as the development team from Gale International, especially Stan Gale. I would also like to recognize Chairman Roy Ryu, who has been instrumental in bringing The Presidents Cup to Korea. His vision and leadership were critical throughout the entire selection process. In the end, we’re delighted that the PGA TOUR selected the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. We think they will present a great event. This will be a tremendous opportunity to showcase on a world stage the beauty of Korea and the country’s passion for the game of golf. Having been fortunate to be involved in several Presidents Cup matches in the past, I know how uniquely special this event is and how it represents to a global audience all that is great about the game of golf.”

Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea features a par-72, 7,413-yard Signature Golf Course designed by the Golden Bear, and offers world-class amenities, including an award-winning, 60,000-square-foot clubhouse. For The Presidents Cup 2015, the course has undergone some minor renovations and the holes rerouted to accommodate hospitality and the match-play format. Songdo IBD is a joint undertaking by Gale International, POSCO E&C, and Incheon City and a model of international collaboration. Songdo IBD is globally recognized as the world’s foremost smart, sustainable city-scale development. In 2012, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) selected a site in Songdo as the home for the GCF Secretariat.  It is believed that many of the sustainable infrastructure and technological innovations being pioneered in Songdo will be applied to GCF-funded projects in developing nations.  

“To build a truly global city, we engaged the world’s leading design, architecture, engineering and technology firms,” said Stan Gale, chairman of Gale International and Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. “Working closely with our partner POSCO E&C, we selected Nicklaus Design to create a sporting venue worthy of hosting professional golf’s most prestigious international events. As a direct result of Jack’s consistent leadership and hands-on oversight, the JNGC Korea was selected as The Presidents Cup 2015 host location. The PGA TOUR’s decision is emblematic of Incheon City’s global appeal and a reinforcement of the importance of the great game of golf in the Republic of Korea and Greater Asia.”

Previous international venues for The Presidents Cup include: The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (1998, 2011); The Links at Fancourt, George, South Africa (2003); and The Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (2007).  Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va., hosted The Presidents Cup in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2005, and TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., was the host site in 2009.  Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, will host The Presidents Cup the first week in October. 

In 2011, K.J. Choi, K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang competed in The Presidents Cup, marking the first time more than one South Korean qualified for the International Team in event history.




Korea Magazine Shares Songdo’s Vision

The cover story for the August edition of Korea magazine  looks at Songdo and it’s vision for the future.


Thanks go the Robert Koehler and his team… As the story’s writer, I appreciate the opportunity to share my views on Songdo.




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