New competencies are needed when structuring your business for global development.
Globalization, it seems, has entered every aspect of our daily lives: in business, the food we consume, even the cars we drive. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, technological changes have worked to create a world that’s more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. As one of the primary drivers of globalization, telecommunication systems have dramatically transformed economic life, while consumers, investors and businesses alike now have valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities.
This tremendous growth has created a critical need to understand how cultural differences affect business leadership. With increased risks and potential pitfalls, today’s leaders must acquire a challenging set of competencies if they intend to be effective in our increasingly global society. In addition, companies of all sizes need to set their sights on the big picture of operating in a global market.
Five of these “must-conquer” competencies for today’s global business leaders include:
- Knowledge of business, political and cultural environments worldwide.
- Curiosity and open-mindedness about other people and cultures, with the ability to relate to people from other cultures from a position of equality, rather than cultural superiority.
- An appreciation for the perspectives, tastes, economic trends and technologies of other cultures.
- Ability to work simultaneously with people from many cultures.
- Adaptability to communicating in other cultures.
While the breadth of these competencies may appear to be large, they are necessary for global business success—and vastly easier to accomplish if the business is structured for global development.
When beginning to structure the business for global development, focus your efforts on building a diverse group of individuals who understand the consumer and have a global mindset. In the past two decades, a range of large companies have embodied a diverse structure in their senior leadership culture—and experienced great success. Focus on building a business culture that demands a high level of emotional intelligence and self-awareness; this will unite individuals with the company mission and core values. Avoid an ethnocentric culture and environment within the company, and think big! Consider how your corporate culture aligns with the organizational strategy (which is, hopefully, global). Encourage your leaders to articulate your corporate vision with a global scale in mind.
After all, businesses in today’s market, both small and large, have found themselves in the globalization race, no longer constrained by the geographic limitations of the past. For long-term success on this racetrack, it’s critical for businesses to create a structure that supports the diversified growth of not only the business itself, but of the culture and leaders within the organization. So go on! Get outside of the local bubble… and think global. iBi