We are doing some work on Global organization design …. so I thought I’d post the “intro” thoughts I am using …
Globalization is mainly a positive force and it is now almost irresistible. Still, there are 101 definitions of Globalization, and most of them are “economics based” around “open markets in a borderless world”. We believe these views are too narrow as other social threads should be included.
- Democratization of political process
- Rule of law, transparency & good governance
- Social development twinned with economic development
- Global information flows -not only possible but are demanded by all
We thus prefer to characterize Globalization as an intense engagement in both economic openness and social openness. In this regard, our research suggests that any successful business Globalization effort will have the following baseline characteristics.
Values in action: Enterprises need clear and well communicated guideposts. They must be seen to have the same values in action all over the world.
Common Ground: We all have more in common than we have differences. We must respect diversity, and see that home is where we are not where we came from.
Technology: Enterprises must use highest common denominator technology – to give the best delivery of benefits. Customers all over the world are continually increasing their expectations of what products and services do – and in the fastest growing markets (such as China and India) consumers are “leapfrogging” over traditional technologies. For example, China now has the world’s biggest mobile phone user base.
Innovation: Global businesses innovate through “loose – tight” decentralization – with clear common goals, whilst also accepting ideas from everywhere.
Success Models: It is necessary to build and expand data based success models – but then these must constantly improve and retrofit the learning. The subtlety is in defining what is “globally common” and what is “locally different”. But in that regard …
80:20 Rule: This rule is alive and well -20% of the effort gets 80% of the results – but the 20% could be critical! And 80% of what customers want is the same all over the world.
Communities: This is a trend with ever more far reaching consequences – communities of interest springing up on every issue. These communities are appearing in every industry, business, culture & ethnic group – all facilitated by today’s network capabilities. We see the increasing desire to create deep communities as a positive – mixing Local & Global culture and interests.
Global – Local Paradox: Yet, these two threads also mean that we face a “Global – Local paradox”. Just as things are getting more Global – and people are generally benefiting from the effects of Globalization – so the desire for local communities gets stronger. So Enterprises need to be able to reflect and act on this paradox.
Relationships: In the West, we tend to view the value of a business as the sum of its transactions. Stakeholders are respected but also are measured in shareholder value. In Asia the value of a business is the sum of its relationships. Effort is applied to building strong relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, investors and even competitors. Globalization means we must know how to take the positives from both, without falling into either set of negatives.