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Welcome to Business Network Korea

Where Koreans meet Non-Koreans for business.

Our goal is to create opportunity for Koreans and Non-Koreans to network in a comfortable environment where they can make business contacts.

Come and join us at our next event.

Guest Speaker: Mark Patton’s – Leaders, Tread Cautiously Through the Danger Zone

Here is an article that was written and discussed by our guest speaker Mr. Mark Patton during our Business Network Korea Event held last 31st of July, 2015.


Organizations of any type go through a growth stage where they are notoriously difficult to manage. Whether the brainchild of a solo entrepreneur, the first foray of an established organization into a new market, a spinoff created to focus on a new technology, or the result of downsizing due to external pressures, an organization of between about a dozen and fifty employees is in an “organizational danger zone” that poses greater challenges to the leader than does an organization of a smaller or larger size.

Employees of a very small organization can be “managed” by treating them as a family. While a company of twelve or fewer employees may have challenges in market penetration, in making its numbers on a consistent basis, and in achieving economies of scale, the closeness that comes naturally inside a small group often means that organizational issues are dealt with immediately as they come up. The very smallness of the organization means that strict specialization is nearly impossible: everyone involved is, to some extent, a jack-of-all-trades.

In a very small organization, it is literally possible for everyone to have a “seat at the table” when issues are discussed and decisions are made. Employees are much less likely to resist ambiguities of role or responsibility. There is a sense of togetherness that motivates everyone to “pitch in” to solve problems, even when it lies outside one’s own area of expertise or experience. There is also an acute awareness of the financial picture of the organization. Almost everyone is either directly involved in or very closely connected to revenue generation.

Leaders of organizations with more than 50 employees are better able to rely on internal forces and resources enabling them to more effectively deal with organizational issues. Once an organization gets to this size, the Law of Inertia takes over: things in motion tend to stay in motion[1]. Processes once put in place continue to operate and tasks that have become routine, have a tendency to be attended to, unless (as Newton’s law states) “acted on by an unbalanced force.[2]”  Economies of scale allow an organization to bring the organizational development role in-house. Until the organization can afford to dedicate a full-time position to organizational development, diffused expertise allows other managers to take on and handle some of the organizational management and talent development tasks as a ‘side function’ of their main role.

Efficiencies in revenue generation are also achieved at this size. The sudden loss of a salesperson does not usually result in a loss of revenue, as others are available to temporarily pick up the slack or to quickly move into the role. Internal succession planning becomes possible at this size as well.

141223 Danger ZoneThe organization of between 12 and 50 employees, however, is in theorganizational danger zone. Here, organizational issues have quick and serious negative consequences on the overall health of the organization. You as the leader must be able to deal with these issues, or be willing to reach out for help before they become unmanageable. Some of the challenges you face include:

  • Resistance to role ambiguity. At minimum, roles are split into two or three distinct areas: “producer” roles responsible for revenue (sales/marketing/customer service), “supporter” roles which help the producer roles do their jobs (bookkeeping, logistics) and “maker” roles (if manufacturing is being done internally). Increasing differentiation and specialization fosters resistance to ambiguities in roles and responsibility: this is when the leader first starts to hear, “It’s not my job!”
  • Exposure to loss of income. When an organization begins to create roles that do not contribute directly to income, it finds there is very little padding in its cash flow. The temporary loss of even one salesperson through undesired turnover or even a short-term illness can push the company into the red.
  • Frustration due to slower and indirect feedback. When everyone can sit down and work through issues at the same table, feedback is instant and direct. Once a layer of middle managers is put in place, feedback from the frontlines starts to slow down. The quality of feedback suffers as it is passed on through the perceptual lens of the middle manager.
  • Some leaders overcompensate for the slower feedback by micromanaging. Frequently reaching “down” by overstepping middle managers shows a lack of trust and an inability or unwillingness to move further up the leadership pipeline to take on more strategic responsibilities. Additional justification for this comes from the middle managers’ focus on their functional role and a lack of time or expertise to also deal with organizational issues.
  • Role resentment may start to foment if the “producers” and “makers” in the organization do not see the value provided, or the costs saved by the “supporters”.

Here are my tips for treading cautiously – and successfully – through the Organizational Danger Zone:

  • Get a buddy. Cultivate a network of experts who can step in and help guide you – don’t try to go it alone.
  • Know and develop thyself. Get help identifying and learning the new skills and work patterns/behavioral demands on you as the leader of a growing organization.
  • Maximize what you have. Identify, evaluate, and develop internal resources.
  • Dump excess baggage. Your growth plan should include planned role refinement and obsolescence.
  • Establish strong, clear communication channels. Ensure that indirect feedback (up and down) remains clear and quick, while respecting your middle managers’ expertise and roles.

A final note: while this article is targeted at leaders of small companies, the lesson applies equally to managers at any level within a larger organization. If your team/department/division needs to reserve more than two tables at your next celebratory dinner, but is not big enough to rent out the entire restaurant, watch your step!

[1] Note: This can work against an organization just as much as it can work for an organization – but that is a topic for a future article.

[2] An example of an unbalanced force in an organization is unplanned/unexpected turnover. When an organization is big enough, however, there is enough role redundancy that only a very few positions cannot be covered, if at least for a short period of time, by remaining employees.


If you enjoyed reading this column, please share it! Comments are also welcome:What challenges have you faced as a leader or manager of an organization in the “danger zone”? How have you successfully overcome them?

Click here to schedule an appointment to discuss your challenges and find out how he can help your organization or team successfully navigate the danger zone.

Please click “follow” button to keep receiving my column. Don’t forget to  send Mr. Patton  an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. You can also connect with him through Facebook, Twitter, or sign up to receive weekly tips through theGCT Partners blog.


Article source:

Author: Mark E. Patton

Business Network Korea (13th of July, 2015)

At Business Network Korea (BNK) events we follow the simple philosophy of Koreans meeting Non-Koreans for business.

Our events have a special activity called “speed networking” which is where you meet every person for 2-3 minutes as well as traditional open networking.

Exchange business cards and build your networks.

Our goal is to create opportunity for Koreans and Non-Koreans to network in a comfortable environment where they can make business  contacts.

Quesadillas, Chicken Wings and all you can drink beer will be provided.  Non-alcoholic beverages are  also available.

Reserve your seat NOW!


Avail of our promotional rate – 30,000 KRW per person pre-pay if paid by 6th of July  (see below for bank details or pay through Meet Up with PayPal as you RSVP).

45,000 KRW at the door CASH ONLY

No refund but ticket is transferable 

Basic Schedule:

(please see flyer below) 

20150617_ BNK flyer


1) Bring at least 50 business cards for the speed networking and open networking sessions.

2) Bank Prepay info:

Bank Name: IBK

Account Name: Michael Alan Mertz

Account Number: 272-028667-01-015

Reference for bank deposits: (YOUR NAME or MEET UP ID NAME)

*Kindly write your name and send a screenshot of the deposit slip and send it to:


On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina: 2F, 211, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul – Line 6 

A quick guide on how to find the location: 



1) Bring at least 50 business cards for the speed networking and open networking sessions.

2) Bank Prepay info:

Bank Name: IBK

Account Name: Michael Alan Mertz

Account Number: 272-028667-01-015

Reference for bank deposits: (YOUR NAME or MEET UP ID NAME)

*Kindly write your name and send a screenshot of the deposit slip and send it to:


On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina: 2F, 211, Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul – Line 6 

A quick guide on how to find the location: 

90 Day Korean – New Sponsors for Business Network Korea


Blake Miner and Joseph Gerocs have been long time attendees to the Business Network Korea events offering support from the early days.

We are happy to announce that their support for Business Network Korea has gone to the next stage and they are now official sponsors through their company “90 Day Korean”.

New sponsor making us look smart for business

kslogoIf you are a regular attendee to Business Network Korea you might recall our guest speaker Todd Sample back in June of this year. He gave us a great insight into doing business here in Korea.

Todd is the President of ‘Well Dressed’ which is a tailor shop for both men and women in Seocho-dong. Although ‘Well Dressed’ is a relatively young business it is already thriving and had plenty of media coverage.

Here is some information about ‘Well Dressed’ as worded on their main site;

Our first Expert Panel

Expert-Panel-Business-Network-KoreaAt our most recent Business Network Korea event we had our first Expert Panel with Simon Walsh from Tiwi Trade and Steve Miller also known as the QiRanger and the voice of the popular podcast Asia News Weekly.

After being introduced the Expert Panel got into full swing with Simon and Steve answering some questions including;

Steve Miller the Qiranger is on our Expert Panel

Steve Miller the Qiranger is on our Expert Panel at the next Business Network Korea event on 9th August 2014 at Coex.

Steve began blogging back in 1994 when it probably wasn’t even called blogging. His following has grown a lot since back then and he is now involved in many areas.

Got a question about business in Korea?

If you have an idea for business or running a business and have a question you can have the chance to ask our ‘Expert Panel’ at the next Business Network Korea event on Saturday 09th August 2014.

Hoon’s Pie: A new sponsor for Business Network Korea

20140710_184817Business Network Korea is excited to announce our newest sponsor ‘Hoon’s Pie’  who offer a selection of pies to both the Korean and expat community.

The reputation of the business which had humble beginnings is going from strength to strength especially among the expat community who are becoming an increasing customer base.

Hoon’s Pie will be at our next Business Network Korea event at Coex on Saturday 09th August 2014 offering all attendees the opportunity to sample their pie selection. We strongly suggest that you come along if only for these great pies. :)

Todd Sample guest speaker for 14 June BNK Event

Todd_resizedAs you probably already know our next Business Network Korea event is on Saturday 14 June 2014 at Coex in Seoul.

We are excited to announce our guest speaker for that event: Todd Sample.

Here is a short bio introducing Todd:

“Todd Sample was born and raised in Pennsylvania and came to Korea when he was 22 after graduating from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in art history in 1995. After spending 8 years teaching English at Konkuk University in Seoul, he was hired as the first non-Korean executive consultant at KOTRA, Korea’s national trade and investment promotion agency, where his work focused on devising foreign direct investment promotion related public relations strategies for KOTRA, as well as for other FDI promotion agencies and organizations in Korea.

Yeouido Global Business Center

The Yeouido Global Business Center is based in IFC One Building in Yeouido, Seoul.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has established the Yeouido Global Business Center in the Global Business Zone  in the Yeouido district of Seoul, an area with a high concentration of foreign investing companies and intense activity of foreign businesses.