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Creating A Global Perspective

We take a look at the importance of global leadership

11Feb

Organisations increasingly operate in a more global space. Threats comes from all angles and from a variety of different entities.

A recent article in Forbes magazine identified that 70% of large companies are looking to expand their overseas operations, with new territories offering up new customer bases and the opportunity for increased sales.

It's common knowledge that the process of expanding operations abroad is full of challenges. Different cultures, language barriers and foreign laws, to name only a few, are examples of barriers that have previously hindered the progress of foreign expansion efforts.

To maximise the chance of success, global leadership should be treated as a priority. Defined as 'individuals who work in more than one geographical area', global leaders make it their business to take on assignments which remove them from their comfort zone by adapting to new cultures and even learning new languages.

Transferring both tacit and explicit knowledge from a company's country of origin to its new bases is imperative when driving a consistent brand image that's understood by everyone. This is best achieved by relocating current staff who already have a clear idea of what the brand wants to convey.

Of the 70% of companies that want to expand globally, less than a third have procedures in place to train their current leaders to work abroad. As a result, many companies aren't in the position to send internal candidates to take on projects overseas.

Joseph Folkman, president and co-founder of Zenger Folkman, research demonstrates that developing global leaders is a process which must begin early on in a manager's development. His findings suggest that only a quarter of 'leaders' receive any formal training before they're 35, meaning that mistakes become entrenched and difficult to get rid of. This makes them less agile and often unable to adapt to different scenarios which are placed in front of them, like taking a project on abroad.

Having global leaders within your organisational structure gives companies a better chance to spread their ethos, a vital component when building a global brand. Training should be treated as a priority, allowing managers to fit into new situations with relative ease, without being overwrought with challenges that are seemingly impossible to solve.  

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