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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Born Global | 1 The Little Company Which was Seen as Illegal in Every Country | 1 Chapter 2: The 70s | 5 Chapter 3: The Start-up Years | 9 Chapter 4: The Start-up Years: Business Innovation | 13 Door to Door, Desk to Desk | 13 Just Like Taking It There Yourself | 14 Still Expensive, However, for a Start-Up ... | 15 ... and Increasingly Complex | 16 So, Try and Keep It Simple | 17 So Simple, Almost Too Good to Be True | 18 Proof was Needed, and So Proof was Provided | 19 With the Airlines as Friends (Albeit Fair-Weather) | 20 Chapter 5: Innovation and Its Broader Impact on Business Dynamics | 23 The Infectious Nature of Speed | 23 Size Doesn't Matter, Content Does | 24 Keeping It Dense | 25 But Keeping It Simple | 25 And Everyone Sells | 25 Service Is Not Servitude | 26 Creating a Time-Based Value Proposition | 27 Challenging Traditional Work Habits | 27 And in the Spirit of Partnership | 28 Chapter 6: Cultural Dynamics: What was Going on Here? | 29 Against All Odds | 29 Ahead of its Time | 29 It was also the People | 29 An Emerging Company Culture | 33 The Nature of the Business Helped | 33 But it Wasn't Just the Business | 34 Chapter 7: Barely Legal-Early Regulatory Battles | 35 First, What Kind Of Business Is This? | 36 Ah, You Mean You Carry Mail? | 37 And What About This "Smuggling" Theory? | 41 Airline Schizophrenia | 43 Okay, Understand The Challenges With Post Offices, Customs And Airlines, But Surely You Were Doing Everything Else By The Book? | 45 Chapter 8: 1970s Vignettes and Bloopers | 47 Strange Bedfellows | 47 Caught Napping | 47 Plenty of Space, and Not So Much | 48 Strange Passengers | 48 Delivery Heroics | 48 It's Tough Being Ahead of Your Time | 49 Chapter 9: Transition | 53 Taken Off, but Not Yet Landed | 53 A Biological Phenomenon | 54 With Intuitive, Instinctive Leadership | 56 Which Attracted and Inspired | 57 Cowboys with Wing | 58 And an Ounce of Luck | 58 Underpinned by Trust | 59 A Common Language | 59 And the Rule of Common Law | 60 But it was Precarious | 60 Chapter 10: The 80s | 63 Economic and Political Turbulence... | 63 Presaging Fundamental Geopolitical Change | 63 Policed by America | 64 With Asia Awakening | 64 Business Models Must Change | 65 A New Age of Consumerism | 65 And Speed to Market | 66 The End of History? | 67 Perhaps a Hybrid Would be the Answer | 68 Chapter 11: The Walden Years-Structure and process | 69 Nascently Global | 69 But Not Sustainable | 71 Structure to Support a Growth Strategy | 72 With A New Confidence | 73 Coming Out | 74 And Cash is the King | 75 Chapter 12: Business Innovation | 77 Getting it There in No Time at All | 77 Tentative Steps to Expand the Offering | 78 If you can get to the internationally remote places, why not just down the road? | 80 Europe Overnight | 80 And What About a Second Brand? | 82 Early Computerization | 82 What Aided and Abetted Also Threatened | 83 But Also Provided Opportunity | 84 Building a Brand | 85 Ongoing Geographical Expansion | 86 Less than Door-to-door | 87 Early Steps in Logistics | 88 Answer the Phone, Dammit! | 88 Chapter 13: Business Context-What Was Going on Here? | 91 A New Era of Globalization Begins | 91 What was DHL Carrying? | 93 This was an Outbound Phenomena | 93 The Information Age Beckoned, but Expensively | 95 Airports Grew Up | 95 Strategic Disconnect | 97 Chapter 14: Business Context-Competition Explodes | 99 Competition? (What, Really?) | 99 Finally, Strength Through Numbers | 99 But in Context | 100 Those Pesky Airlines Again | 101 The "Empires" Try to Strike Back | 102 But FedEx Strikes First | 102 And Starts to Force the Pace | 103 The Enemy of My Enemy can be my Friend | 103 Chapter 15: Regulatory Battles | 105 Postal Battles Heat Up | 105 Progress with Customs | 110 Tax, Cashflows and Blocked Funds | 112 The Dutch Sandwich | 113 Chapter 16: Cultural Dynamics | 117 Heroism | 117 It Wasn't Just the Cowboys | 117 Growing Up | 118 Some Contextual Frameworks | 122 And Perhaps a Modern Example of Another, More Natural Law, is in Play Here | 124 Change Agents | 124 Pirates of the Caribbean (Never Waste a Good Crisis) | 126 Expat Versus Local | 127 Persistence at Heathrow, with Help from the US | 128 Chapter 17: Anecdotes, Accidents, and Altruism | 131 Excellence Discovered | 131 Going the Extra Mile | 131 Going Many Extra Miles | 132 Making Calls was a Shoe-In | 132 The Green Bags must go Through | 132 Shenanigans in Bahrain | 133 The Future Sometimes Takes Longer | 133 DHL Never Sleeps | 133 Never Fear, DHL is Here | 133 Be Bold, Be Fearless, Be an Upstart | 134 The Worm Turns | 135 Unblocking the Funds | 135 Thank Goodness for Unintended Consequences | 136 Unintended Consequences Version Two | 136 Bill Walden's Office | 137 Crazy Texans | 138 Negotiations in China | 138 Pat Lupo's Story: The Most Employee-Motivational Thing We Did | 138 Chapter 18: Adolescence to Adulthood | 141 Mission Almost Accomplished | 141 A New Man in Charge | 141 Bring in the Suits | 143 A Deal Made in Heaven, But | 144 Finally, A Head Office | 145 Organizational Innovation | 146 An Ongoing Emphasis on Data Networks | 146 And a New Sense of Mission | 148 WORLDWIDE MISSION STATEMENT | 149 FedEx Loses a Battle | 150 With the Best Good Will in the World, it Didn't Work Out | 151 The Ultimate Compliment | 151 Chapter 19: Powers | 153 Chapter 20: From Start-up to Upstart to the Most International Company in the World | 169 Chapter 21: Epilogue: The 2008-16 Reincarnation | 173 Market Growth | 173 A Much and Long Desired Prize Becomes the Bogeyman | 174 Somebody Press the Reset Button, Quickly | 175 Focus, Connect, Grow: Pressing the button | 176 We Have a Strategic Plan: It's Called Doing Things | 178 Ubiquity | 180 Motivated People: The CIS story | 180 Discipline, Process and the Power of Routine | 182 Great Leadership | 184 Ubiquity again | 184 Results are the only True Sign of Excellence | 185 Going Global, Staying the Course: The Powers Revisited | 185 Focus, discipline and routine | 188 Synthesis | 188 Renewal | 189 Index | 191

About the Author

Po Chung, DHL International co-founder; Roger Bowie, former DHL Worldwide Services Director


This is an excellent book which tells an interesting story about DHL, including the challenges faced by the company and the related transformations. It highlights how the company culture, such as trust and strategic thinking at all levels, have contributed to the positive growth of the company. From the book, the readers will appreciate the "powers" contributing to success in the service sector, including a service mind-set, positive psychology (positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievements) and the 3Cs (character, competence and care). It is a book that cannot be missed by those who are passionate about leadership and entrepreneurship.

--Daniel T.L. Shek, PhD, BBS, SBS, JP, Chair Professor of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Editor in Chief, Applied Research in Quality of Life

This is an extraordinary narrative of transformation on a global scale. In a world of exponential change, the principles of courage, collaboration, trust and foresight will continue to serve business leaders of today and the future. As we head toward a world shaped by technology in ways we don't understand, we are well served to remember the basic methods whereby global businesses are built to thrive and last.

--Dr. Leonard Lane, Managing Director Fung Academy and Senior Lecturer Strategy, Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine

Today we take for granted that we can send DHL documents and parcels easily to any place in the world. Po Chung and Roger Bowie tell an insider story of how we have come to be in this happy position. Their story is about innovation and courage, where the heroes are the pioneers who built DHL International. They wanted to change the way global business was being done--and then proceeded to accomplish it in spite of overwhelming challenges. In addition to the lessons of the case study itself, there is much to learn from the insights on the power of ideas, teamwork and a customer-focused culture that is built on values.

--Victor K. Fung, Group Chairman, Fung Group

DHL is an extraordinary growth story. Po Chung and Roger Bowie do a great job explaining how the DHL team rapidly grew the international express document and parcel business despite local political and regulatory obstacles, over a few decades becoming a large company in a huge industry. What is most impressive about the DHL story is the flexibility shown by the nascent management team to follow their customers' documents into countries around the world, building team and infrastructure as needed. DHL was one of the first organizations to operate efficiently and effectively at the country level, regionally and globally.

--Jim Hildebrandt, Managing Director, Bain Capital

This story about the rise of DHL in effect charts the path of one of the world's first "disruptors". It is a template for contemporary companies because it contains all the necessary elements of success--visionary leadership, persistence against adversity, an entrepreneurial culture, and the will to succeed. It charts how DHL, from its early formative years until the present day, changed the world of business, and pioneered the essential ingredient that underpins today's eCommerce phenomenon: contemporary supply chains with fast fulfillment. DHL has led the way in demonstrating that as the world speeds up, and volatility increases, the way to counter this is to do everything at speed, across the entire enterprise.

--Dr John Gattorna, Supply Chain Thought Leader and Author

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