The fast pace at which globalization and technology innovations move today is not only disrupting traditional business models, but the traditional role of global business leaders as well. With seismic shifts occurring at light speed, how do we encourage empowerment in new emerging markets? How can we effectively manage communications when time is measured on a global clock?
With the explosion of the smartphone and broadband in the developing world, today’s estimated 3 billion users are expected to double by 2025. With the world at their fingertips, consumers are dramatically altering global spending patterns and buying power.
To stay competitive, leading-edge companies are repositioning senior leadership to growth markets. R&D teams are scattered across the globe, collaborating with local startups to develop products on a shorter timeline and with multiple markets in mind. Google does this well, with key technology development centers in London, Tel Aviv, Hyderabad and San Francisco, to name a few. To stay connected to global growth areas, my own company’s senior leadership is spread across four continents: Asia, Americas, Europe and Africa. While crucial for success, this de-centralized approach creates shifts in decision-making powers and hence, new challenges for C-levels. We choose to work in collaborative teams and networks spread across our key regions.
In my experience, developing effective global strategies while successfully implementing flexible local market solutions requires three key actions:
1. The world is your HQ: Plan globally but act locally. Hire the best talent in the world, wherever they are. Create and maintain a common culture by hiring talent that matches your company’s value system. Encourage global interdependency and teamwork by fostering cultural intelligence as well as international competencies. Distribute leadership across key regions to ensure effective and timely delivery of solutions to customers.
2. Stay close to your markets: Empowering your teams enables them to better understand their local customers, focus on decision-making, and prepare strategically for future opportunities and threats. Encourage interaction between your team managers. More than ever, effective global leadership requires exceptional coaching and motivational expertise as well as inherent trust in your teams.
3. Be globally-sensitive: In our new global economy the traditional workday no longer exists. Somewhere around the world, team members are always working. This doesn’t mean that global leaders are now expected to be on-call 24/7 and should never sleep or have a personal life; but it does mean that communications management is crucial. Hone your technology skills so that you’re able to juggle this global clock with agility.
More specifically, today’s technology offers so many interesting ways to communicate and collaborate remotely (tools such as corporate UCC and Slack). To offer effective support when it’s needed, you must be up to speed on what challenges your teams are facing. On the flip side, you also need to be aware of each team’s successes as they occur, in order to be able to extend praise and encouragement.
With the pace at which technology is moving, we must disrupt how we approach our internal structures and leadership. We must break old notions of centralized management and move to a global, networked collaboration that can move quickly and around the clock.
Is the new global economy transforming the way you lead your company?
By Rangu Salgame
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