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October 20, 2014

The Challenges of Global Management

Posted 2 years 341 days ago by Gretchen Hirsch

It’s no surprise that today’s business is global. With the rise of technology, even small businesses can have an international presence, and large companies have the opportunity to supersize their influence globally. Scores of articles and books tout the importance of being culturally competent. The concept of competence encompasses such factors as:

  • Overseas experience, preferably before the age of 30
  • Fluency in more than one language
  • Sensitivity to diversity in cultures and customs
  • Ability to think strategically beyond national boundaries

Although all of these considerations are important for success in a multicultural world, they aren’t all that’s necessary. As an article on EY.com states, “Just because a company has built up global operations, it does not automatically follow that it has a global outlook.”

 

A Workforce article featuring globalization consultant Ram Charan cautions that North American businesses may not be ready to lead in the global marketplace. “The differentiating trait of a leader of the future is dealing with and anticipating uncertainty,” Charan says, and that in many cases, “[North American companies] are not prepared; they are not involved.”

 

Ashton212 Associate Marie Zolezzi, founder and CEO of ZM Ventures, Inc., puts it another way. “U.S. industries cannot simply assume they have all the answers for a particular geography. Conditions are volatile throughout the world; things can turn on a dime. Successful companies are those that are equipped to deal with that volatility and make necessary adjustments quickly.”

 

“There’s no one formula,” Zolezzi continues, “and leaders must demonstrate sensitivity not only to the economy, but also to the diversity, culture, and customs of each market in which they want to do business.”

 

Most commentators agree that living and working in emerging markets is essential to building global management expertise. They also agree that it’s equally important for managers to discover and cultivate in-country talent. When expat and local managers work together closely, their diverse perspectives can result in creative collaborations and inventive strategies that have application anywhere in the world. As Charan says, “Competition is global. [Businesses] need to build a leadership pipeline from a global pool, from the lower levels to the higher levels.”

 

To succeed globally, North American business leaders must poke their heads over the fences of their comfort zones and experience the way others are now doing business. In the Workforce article, Marc Effron, president of The Talent Strategy Group says, “The largest concern I have is not whether North American leaders are capable of winning the battle, but whether they’ll show up for it. I’m not sure many Americans understand the hunger for success...their Indian and Chinese counterparts bring to the table. …North American leaders can compete with leaders anywhere in the world, but that requires that they actually go to the same places others are willing to go. It would be sad if our very Western concern for work-life balance is what ultimately destroys our ability to compete.”

 

“At Ashton212, we’re proud that many of our consultants and teams have wide, deep experience in working globally,” says Mary Ann Mancuso, Director Talent Strategy & Client Relations. “We’re aware of the challenges that come with globalization and are pleased to bring the best consultants and teams together with clients who need a worldwide perspective.”

 

Tags: competition Global globilization leadership management Marc Effron Marie Zolezzi Mary Ann Mancuso Ram Charan The Talent Strategy Group ZM Ventures

Categories: categoryManagement categoryDiversity & Inclusion

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