By 2020, 95 percent of all the consumers in the world are outside of the US. These are our customers, the consumers, our partners; we are going to have to work with them and sell to them. It is how we marshal the assets to take advantage of this and not look back, since we cannot go back anymore.
The future corporate leadership has to be more global in its outlook and has to understand different cultures. Not everybody thinks the same way, shops the same way or even has the same needs; there are different ways of doing business. Having the right product and technology are just the beginning. The factor that will make or break a deal lies in the caliber of a company’s leadership. This factor alone will make the real difference.
The United States has always been the global benchmark to business success, and now we have more competition. As a nation, we are less in tune with the multi-cultural aspects of doing business and deficient in the global outlook, therefore, making longer-term strategic plans need the understanding, familiarity and experience of people that have “been there, done that”. In the past when no one disputed our global leadership, “the American Corporate way” contributed to our competitiveness. Now it is becoming a handicap. The main challenge is to overcome these barriers, take global competition seriously, and learn to collaborate.
In the era of globalizing business, the concept of “headquarters” is changing and people no longer think in terms of “home” countries or “foreign” markets. A whole new mindset is being created that embraces profit and competition as well as sustainability and collaboration.
Therefore, leaders who will succeed have to be of a global mindset and:
- Change thinking patterns and strategies from a domestic focus to a global mindset;
- Manage uncertainty and fear while constantly adapting to change and accepting it as part of a process;
- Combine the various cultures and values of the corporate workforce into a unique global organization culture;
- Develop the interest to learn from a culturally diverse workforce to appreciate and embrace the differences;
- Develop the ability to work with people of other cultures as equals and accept the differences;
- Learn how to cooperate with partners worldwide by successfully managing global teams and alliances virtually and in-person.
The challenge is to get middle market C-Level to address these issues, hire the right talent, and realize that success in the United States is not necessarily a prescription for global success. And if you want to transform your company to thrive and be a global player, you need to focus on different areas of competency and be open to change.
How do you sell/tap into to a diverse customer base? Global experience and sensitivity is crucial to the success of a company, as well as understanding the customers in various markets around the world, which may require a corporation to adapt their product/service to the local needs.
How do you successfully work in different countries? A company needs to understand issues of financial compliance and legal processes, as well as the operational issues posed by the local talent pool and labor laws.